How to Start a Corporation in Arizona
The process to start your Arizona corporation is extremely straightforward and only involves a few simple steps.
First, you will need to start by filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
You will then need to hold an organizational meeting in order to create the corporation’s corporate bylaws, as well as choose your initial director(s).
We’ll show you how to start a corporation in Arizona yourself.
Or simply use a professional service:
Northwest ($29 + state fee)
It's Easy to Incorporate in Arizona
Step 1: Create a Name For Your Arizona Corporation
Step 2: Choose an Arizona Statutory Agent
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4: File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5: Get an EIN
For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.
Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.
Step 1: Name Your Arizona Corporation
Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation.
1. Arizona naming guidelines:
- Corporate names must include any of the following terms, either in full or in their abbreviated versions: “company”, “corporation”, “bank”, “limited”, or “incorporated”.
- You are not allowed to use words or phrases that suggest the corporation offers banking services without written approval from the Arizona Department of Financial Institution.
- Corporate names are not allowed to include the phrase “limited liability company” or any of its alternatives either in full or abbreviated.
- The name you select has to be sufficiently distinguishable from the names of already existing businesses that have been incorporated in Arizona.
- Corporate names have to be adequately distinct from names reserved under section 10-402 and fictitious names used by foreign corporations.
For a detailed list of all naming guidelines, visit the Arizona state legislator's website.
2. Is my corporation name available in Arizona?
Your Arizona corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Arizona. Use the Arizona Corporation Commission's Business Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.
3. Is the URL available?
Before registering your Arizona corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.
Find a Domain Now
Step 2: Choose an Arizona Registered Agent
You must appoint an Arizona statutory agent, also known as a registered agent, when registering your corporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.
Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Arizona statutory agent as long as the person:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
- is available (in person) during normal business hours
Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:
- Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
- Create and approve bylaws
- Select your initial director(s)
- Determine your share structure
- Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.
Appoint Initial Directors
You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Arizona corporation until the first shareholder meeting.
A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.
After the formation of the corporation, the initial director(s) named on the formation documents should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, they will elect the officers.
Choose a Share Structure and Strategy
A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation.
Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.
Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.
In Arizona, the Articles of Incorporation form allows you to indicate if the corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series.
Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book.
This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.
Step 4: File the Arizona Articles of Incorporation
You will need to file the Arizona Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Arizona. You can file online with the Arizona Corporation Commission’s eCorp website, file by mail, or file by fax.
The filing cost is $60. You will need to create an account for your corporation before you can log in to the online services portal. Once you create an account and log in, select “Start a New Business” from the “Online Services” menu.
This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:
- Corporate name and address
- Corporate statutory agent name and street address
- Number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
- Corporate officer and director names and street addresses
- Incorporator(s) name(s) and street address(es)
Option 1: File Online With Arizona eCorp
- OR -
Option 2: File by Mail or by Fax
Filing Cost: $60
Arizona Corporation Commission
Corporate Filings Section
1300 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Fax: (602) 542-4100
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Arizona Corporation
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:
- To open a bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Running Your Corporation
It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.
Taxes, Annual Reports, & Licensing
Arizona State Corporation Tax Requirements
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
Arizona Sales Tax
If you’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the State of Arizona’s AZTaxes website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.
Arizona Employer Taxes
If you hire employees, you will need to register for Arizona employer taxes through the Arizona AZTaxes website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.
Arizona Corporation Licenses and Permits
To operate your corporation in Arizona, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
Learn more in our Arizona Business License guide.
File an Arizona Corporate Annual Report
You must file an Annual Report with the Arizona Corporation Commission. This is done online on the state’s eCorp website. You will need to create an account to access the online services. Once logged in, click “Submit Corporation Annual Filing” after clicking on “Online Services” at the top of the page.
Corporate Dissolution & Arizona Good Standing
How to Get an Arizona Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your Arizona corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.
You can order a Certificate of Good Standing in Arizona online using the state’s eCorp website. You will need to create an account to log in to the website. Once you create an account and log in, click “Online Service” on the top of the page and then click “Service Requests.” From there, click “Certificate of Good Standing” and then enter the required information on the form. The fee is $10.
Option 1: Request a Certificate Online
- OR -
Option 2: Request a Certificate by Mail
Arizona Corporation Commission
1300 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
How to Dissolve a Corporation in Arizona
If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.
There are five main steps to close your Arizona corporation:
- Stop doing business
- Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
- File the Articles of Dissolution with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Arizona provides detailed instructions for filling out this form.
- Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue. If your corporation commenced business or issued shares, you must file a Tax Clearance Application with the Arizona Department of Revenue.
- If a Tax Clearance Application was required to dissolve your corporation, you must publish the Articles of Dissolution. The Arizona Corporation Commission will provide information about how to do this after it approves the Articles of Dissolution.
- Close your business bank accounts
File Dissolution Documents
You must dissolve or close your corporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission by filing the Articles of Dissolution. Arizona provides detailed instructions for filling out this form. The filing fee is $25.
If your corporation commenced business or issued shares, you also must submit a Tax Clearance Application to the Arizona Department of Revenue when dissolving your corporation. You have six months from the date on which you delivered the Articles of Dissolution to the Arizona Corporation Commission to submit the Tax Clearance Application.
Is a Corporation Right For You?
An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.
Steps After Forming a Corporation
After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.
Taking these steps will set your business up for success:
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Open a Business Credit Card
- Establish and Build Business Credit
- Get Insurance
- Protect Your Corporate Veil
Arizona Corporation FAQ
How much does it cost to start a corporation in Arizona?
In Michigan, it will cost you $60 to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
This fee is the same irrespective of whether you file the document through the Commission’s eCorp website, by fax, or by mail.
Your registered agent service fee will also contribute to the startup cost of your corporation. For more information about this, see our What is a Registered Agent Service article.
What is the difference between an LLC and corporation in Arizona?
The key distinction between these two business entities is the attractiveness of corporations for investors.
This is because corporations have stock and can distribute dividends, and so are better tailored towards silent partners.
Generally speaking, however, we recommended starting your business as an LLC as it is more affordable, less time-consuming, and offers a higher degree of autonomy.
See our Why Investors and Venture Capitalists Like C Corporations article for more.
How long does it take to set up a corporation in Arizona?
The regular processing time of your Arizona corporation filing is 14-16 days. However, the Arizona Corporation Commission offers several different filing speeds.
Expedited (additional $35), next day (additional $100), same day (additional $200), and 2 hour filing (additional $400) are all options you are able to choose from.
If you have any doubts regarding your new corporation, make sure to check out our How to Run a Corporation article.
Is it difficult to start a corporation in Arizona?
No, you can set up your corporation in Arizona very simply. In fact, the process only involves four steps: picking a valid name, choosing a registered agent, holding an organizational meeting, and filing your Articles of Organization.
Once your corporation is up and running, you will need to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
We recommend having a look at our What is an EIN article for more information.
Is it easier to start an LLC than a corporation in Arizona?
While it is debatable whether it is far easier to start an LLC than a corporation, it is certainly true that managing an LLC is far more straightforward and less paperwork heavy.
The primary reason for this is because there are fewer restrictions on how an LLC can be run on a daily basis.
For a more detailed comparison of these two structures, see our LLC vs Corporation article.
Arizona Corporation Quick Links
- Arizona Corporation Commission eCorp Online Filing System
- Arizona Corporation Commission 10 Steps to Starting a Business
- Arizona Corporate Name Reservations
- Arizona Corporate Commission Business FAQs
- Arizona Department of Revenue
- Arizona Corporation Statutes
- SBA Arizona Small Business Resource Guide