If you’re going to start a business in the United States, you may think about incorporating it. Incorporating simply means that:

  1. You filed an application, which gives a state notice that you want to create a company, and
  2. The state reviewed that application and, if you met all the requirements, it officially registered your business in its database.

Once approved by the state, you’ll have a brand new business entity that stands separate and apart from you as an individual.

Incorporation isn’t required, but there are some benefits to doing so.

Businesses are typically incorporated with the Secretary of State’s office (or an equivalent) where you have an address and plan to do business. The Secretary of State’s office is responsible for all kinds of things, including elections, keeping official state records, and, most importantly for you, incorporating companies and managing the state’s trademark registration process.

You don’t have to incorporate in the state where you live, but it can make sense for many people. This is because you’ll have to identify a “registered agent” with an address in the state to receive legal notices about your business (this may come from the Secretary of State, court system, or other state agencies or offices). Many people starting out use their own selves and home address for this purpose. Another common registered agent choice is a lawyer/law firm.

In choosing the state where you incorporate your business, considerations include:

  1. Secretary of State application fees
  2. Annual filings and fees
  3. State taxes (including state income taxes and franchise taxes)
  4. How friendly the state’s laws and courts are to businesses (this is why you hear about Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada as “business friendly” states, and why many companies are incorporated there)
  5. Investor strategies (some investors may even require that a company is incorporated in one of the three states mentioned above)

Each state has its own requirements, fees and taxes, and there’s a Secretary of State or something like it in nearly every state (47 out of 50 + Puerto Rico and other territories).

Peep the list below for all of the Secretary of State offices and their contact information so that you can find them to incorporate your business.

If you’ve gone through the incorporation process, drop a comment and let us know about your experience!

State OfficePhoneEmail
Alabama Secretary of State334-242-7200John.Merrill@sos.alabama.gov
Alaska Secretary of State907-465-2530corporations@alaska.gov
Arizona Secretary of State602-542-3230email via online form
Arkansas Secretary of State501-682-1010corporations@sos.arkansas.gov
California Secretary of State916-653-3795email via online form
Colorado Secretary of State303-894-2251business@sos.state.co.us
Connecticut Secretary of State203-566-3216crd@ct.gov
Delaware Secretary of State302-739-4111corp@delaware.gov
District of Columbia Secretary of State202-727-7278dcra@dc.gov
Florida Secretary of State904-488-9000corphelp@dos.myflorida.com
Georgia Secretary of State404-656-2817email via online form
Guam Government671-472-7679unknown
Hawaii Secretary of State808-586-2727breg@dcca.hawaii.gov
Idaho Secretary of State208-334-2300ucc@sos.idaho.gov
Illinois Secretary of State217-782-7880email via online form
Indiana Secretary of State317-232-6576email via online form
Iowa Secretary of State515-281-5204sos@sos.iowa.gov
Kansas Secretary of State913-296-2236sos@ks.gov
Kentucky Secretary of State502-564-2848email via online form
Louisiana Secretary of State 504-925-4704email via online form
Maine Secretary of State207-287-3676sos.office@maine.gov
Maryland Secretary of State410-225-1330support@sos.state.md.us
Massachusetts Secretary of State617-727-9640corpinfo@sec.state.ma.us
Michigan Secretary of State 517-334-6206email via online form
Minnesota Secretary of State612-296-2803business.services@state.mn.us
Mississippi Secretary of State601-359-1333email via online form
Missouri Secretary of State314-751-1310email via online form
Montana Secretary of State406-444-3665sosbusiness@mt.gov
Nebraska Secretary of State402-471-4079sos.corp@nebraska.gov
Nevada Secretary of State702-687-5203sosmail@sos.nv.gov
New Hampshire Secretary of State603-271-3242corporate@sos.nh.gov
New Jersey Secretary of State609-530-6400Feedback@sos.nj.gov
New Mexico Secretary of State505-827-4508Business.Services@state.nm.us
New York Secretary of State518-474-4752email via online form
North Carolina Secretary of State919-733-4201corpinfo@sosnc.gov
North Dakota Secretary of State701-328-4284sosbir@nd.gov
Ohio Secretary of State614-466-3910email via online form
Oklahoma Secretary of State405-521-3911webmaster@sos.ok.gov
Oregon Secretary of State503-986-2200email via online form
Pennsylvania Secretary of State717-787-1057RA-CORPS@pa.gov
Puerto Rico Secretary of State787-722-2121unknown
Rhode Island Secretary of State, 401-277-2357corporations@sos.ri.gov
South Carolina Secretary of State803-734-2158email via online form
South Dakota Secretary of State605-773-4845corpinfo@state.sd.us
Tennessee Secretary of State615-741-2286TNSOS.CORPINFO@tn.gov
 Texas Secretary of State 512-463-5555Corpinfo@sos.texas.gov
Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code 801-530-4849corpucc@utah.gov
Vermont Secretary of State 802-828-2386unknown
Virgin Islands Lt. Governor340-776-8515email via online form
Virginia State Corporation Commission804-371-9141sccinfo@scc.virginia.gov
Washington Secretary of State, 360-725-0377corps@sos.wa.gov
West Virginia Secretary of State 304-558-8000Business@wvsos.gov
Wisconsin Corporation Section of the Division of Corporate & Consumer Service608-266-3590DFICorporations@wisconsin.gov
Wyoming Secretary of State307-777-7311Business@wyo.gov

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