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 Business Entity Formation

The mechanics involved with forming a corporation in Arizona go beyond the ministerial tasks of filling out a form.

Incorporating in Arizona

Arizona incorporation starts with registering Articles with the Arizona Corporation Commission followed by publication in an approved newspaper, but incorporating goes beyond these simple steps.

Filing documents is only the beginning when you incorporate in Arizona. This page explains what to know about incorporation procedure as well as ongoing formalities applicable to preserving the company’s structure. It is important to understand that corporate structure is dependent on following certain rules.

Choosing a Business Name

The first step to incorporate is choosing a name for your company and checking it for availability. The name cannot already be in use. A search for business name availability should be conducted before preparing your documents. This can be checked with the ACC Entity Search tool. There is also information on how to search accurately.

Filing Articles of Incorporation

A minimum of one person can form a corporation by filing Articles and a Certificate of Disclosure at the Corporation Commission. A cover sheet and fee must accompany the registration.

Arizona Articles provide very basic information including:

The incorporator signs the Articles, and the statutory agent signs an acceptance of the appointment. A sample, albeit rudimentary Articles of Incorporation form in PDF format and related instructions can be downloaded ACC’s website.

A mandatory Cover Sheet is submitted with all Corporation Commission filings.

A Certificate of Disclosure must also be filed with the Articles and Cover Sheet. The certificate is a one-page document containing answers to questions concerning felony convictions and bankruptcy activity of officers, director and incorporators. All new Arizona Corporations must provide this information.

Approval by Commission

The Commission will review the documents, and issue an approval or rejection notice. The approval is usually issued in three to seven business days (if the application filing is expedited). If rejected, written notice is given stating the reasons. Usually, this would be due to a clerical error or choosing a name that’s too similar to an existing company’s.

Publication of Notice

After receiving the approval, notice will need to be published in an accepted newspaper. Publication must occur within 60 days of incorporating, and an Affidavit of Publication is to be submitted to the ACC within 90 days of incorporation. Fees to publicize will obviously vary by newspaper, county, and the length of the document ($65 to $125 is the norm for corporations in Maricopa and Pima counties). Here is a list of newspapers where notice can appear.

Maintenance of the Corporation

Registering the corporation and obtaining approval of the articles creates the corporation. But even though it’s legally formed, corporations need maintenance. There is a difference between simply filing documents with the Corporation Commission and forming an Arizona corporation.

Setting up a corporation so it complies with legal criteria includes adopting bylaws, appointing directors and officers, issuing stock, and adopting resolutions.

Preparing and Adopting Bylaws

Arizona bylaws normally include provisions patterned after the statutes, and set rules regarding voting rights, notice rights, and other operational issues. This document designates how many Directors will sit on the Board. In general, bylaws “may contain any provision for managing the business and regulating the affairs of a corporation that is not inconsistent with law or the articles of incorporation” (See ARS 10-206).

The bylaws should be prepared at this juncture in order that the directors can formally adopt them at their first meeting. We prepare this document for you so it can be approved at that time by the board.

Organizational Meeting of Directors

A Meeting of the Board of Directors is held to elect officers, authorize issuance of stock, adopt bylaws and other matters such as opening business bank accounts. Records of the organizational meeting should be prepared and kept in the records file.

The purpose of this is to “to complete the organization of the corporation by appointing officers, adopting bylaws and carrying on any other business brought before the meeting.” (See ARS 10-205.)

Arizona allows for “Consent Actions” to be used in lieu of holding an organizational meeting (not all jurisdictions do). Provided the entire board is in agreement to an action, it can be approved by each director signing a Consent Action or Resolution.

Consent actions are expressly authorized under Arizona law, but Articles can override this, and require meetings to be held.

Following Rules and Formalities

After incorporating, it is necessary in Arizona to follow certain formalities to “keep the entity legal”. Disregarding these rules can result in exposure of owners’ assets to claims aka “piercing the corporate veil”. Knowing how to comply with these formalities is crucial to preserving corporate structure.

Keeping Corporate Records

A Corporate Minute Book needs to be maintained on an ongoing basis. Certain records must be kept, which include:

Filing Annual Reports

Annual reports are submitted to the ACC to maintain good standing (See ARS 10-701). Annual reports disclose the names and addresses and any changes to the officers, directors and shareholders. Filing these reports on a timely basis is important to avoid administrative dissolution by the ACC (i.e., revocation of charter).

A Federal Tax Identification Number for the company (also called an EIN) is obtained from the IRS for taxation purposes by filing Form SS-4. Since Corporations are non-disregarded entities for tax purposes, they must file tax returns.


This concludes the overview of incorporating in Arizona. It covers the main steps to form a corporation. I strongly recommend you review the entire site if you want to learn about protecting assets from business liabilities.

You can learn about our services and the costs to incorporate here, or research the Arizona Corporations Code. To incorporate now, please go to our Arizona Incorporation Questionnaire Form where you get discounts for ordering online.

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