2018 - Years ago, if you wanted to incorporate a new business, you had one option - find a lawyer and have him do all the paperwork, wait a few weeks, and pay thousands of dollars. Not any more. The cost of starting a business has come down substantially.
Now, one can use the services of companies such as Legal Zoom to form the following types of companies:
- sole proprietorship
- LLC - Limited Liability Corp.
- corporation (S-corp. C-corp.)
- non-profit organization
- DBA - doing business as
To form a regular corporation, as one example, the price starts at $149 plus state filing fees. If you also want an incorporation kit, it's $239 plus state fees. So, figure perhaps $300-400 in most cases. Legal Zoom files the necessary documents with the state, and obtains a Federal tax EIN for you (employer identification number). You answer some basic questions online at their website (company name, location, officers, business you are in, etc.). Then you will receive your package by mail. However, the company is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney, and it does not provide advice.
Legal Zoom is great, and you can ask questions by phone. However, there is an even less expensive option -- incorporating at your local bank. Banks want your business too, your business checking account and the ongoing fees it will generate for them. So, they offer an incorporation service just like Legal Zoom. Many times you can incorporate a business, get the proper forms filed with your state online, and get your EIN number, the same day, for about $125 -- yes, even less than Legal Zoom. A bank representative will sit down with you and get the basics, and file the paperwork online while you wait, or within a day. Just ask your local bank. They will usually have a small business specialist there to help.
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