How long will it take to complete my order?

We begin processing all orders upon payment. The total time needed for order completion varies by order type (incorporation or other filing) and state.

Orders are processed based on the priority service level selected. Typical routine processing times are 4-6 weeks, while expedited processing times are in most cases 1-2 weeks.  In many states you can select a 24 or 48 hour filing option. With 24 or 48 hour filings that is the timeframe the state takes to approve a filing after receipt of the incorporation documents. Most states do not return the state-approved documents in that timeframe, however. The incorporation will be official, but the states often take around 7 business days to return the state-approved documents. 

What information do you need to complete my incorporation?

This varies depending on the type of order you are placing.

For incorporation orders, we typically require the following:

  • Your business type
  • Your state of incorporation
  • A name choice for your company (we require one, but ideally would like you to provide two)
  • Name, address, phone, and email for the point of contact for your order
  • Shipping contact information (if different from the main contact)
  • The legal address of the company
  • The name and address for the registered agent for your company
  • Names and addresses of directors and officers (corporations) or members/managers (LLCs)
  • Number of authorized shares and par value (corporations)
  • Whether your company will be member- or manager-managed (LLCs)

What happens if the name I want is not available?

For formation and incorporation orders, we always request that you provide at least 2 name choices. If we check and the top name choice is not available, we will check the second name choice. If the second name choice is available, we will process the order with the second name option. If either name that you provided is not available, we will contact you for additional name choices.

For foreign qualifications and DBA orders, we will attempt to run with the top name choice only and only ask for one option. If that is not available, we will contact you for additional name choice options.

What happens if I change any of my information after my order is complete?

This depends on the type of information that is changing. Some information, such as the company’s name, business purpose, number of shares and/or par value (for corporations), must be changed with the state by filing an amendment. This state filing officially updates the information the state has for your company.

For questions on whether specific information in your state-filed documents would need to be updated by means of an amendment filing, contact our Incorporation Specialists.

What is a registered agent?

Virtually all states require C corporations, S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), limited partnerships (LPs) and nonprofit corporations to appoint a registered agent in the state where the company is incorporated. If a company has registered to transact business in another state (a process called foreign qualification), it typically must have a registered agent in the state(s) of qualification as well. The registered agent is responsible for receiving, on behalf of the company, important legal and tax documents including: Service of Process (Notice of Litigation), franchise tax forms and annual report forms. The registered agent may be an individual or it may be a company approved by the state to serve as a registered agent. It must be located at a street address (not a post office box) in the state where the company is incorporated or qualified to transact business. The registered agent's name and address are included on the incorporation documents, making them a matter of public record.

Are registered agent services included in my formation package?

Bizfilings includes 3 months of registered agent service free with all formation and foreign qualification orders. To ensure there is not any interruption in services, the account is enrolled in our auto-renew program. For $220 a year, your registered agent service will remain active on auto renewal. However, if you are looking to purchase more than a year at a time, we do offer that as well. You can opt in for 2 years for $320 (breaks down to $160 a year) or 3 years at $420 (breaks down to $140 a year). We do notify you approximately a month prior to the auto renewal that the payment is coming due.

If you prefer to not use our auto renewal service, you can also make payments via check, calling into customer service, or on your online account.

How do I cancel my Registered Agent Service?

We are not able to independently cancel registered agent service due to legal obligations to serve as a registered agent if we are listed as your registered agent on state record. Having a registered agent on file with the state is generally required for business that are registered to operate in any state and being without one can incur penalties for the business in violation, or even a revocation of authority of that business to operate in the state. However, if you would still like us to no longer serve as your registered agent, you will need to change your registered agent on file with the state.

Changing your registered agent for your business is as simple as filing a change of agent request, which we are happy to assist with for any state for $95 plus state fees. If you have already filed a change of agent for any state that we serve you, please call us at 1 (800) 981-7183 or email us at [email protected] so we can update that info and formally cancel your registered agent account. Alternatively, if your business has withdrawn from or dissolved in a state where we were your registered agent, please contact us using the above info. Once we have confirmation on the state record that we are not listed as your registered agent or that your business has been confirmed as no longer operating, we will cancel your account with us.

In which state should I incorporate?

It is not a legal requirement to incorporate in the state where your business is physically located (your home state). You can incorporate in any state. But you may be required to register to transact business in your home state and any other states where you operate.

To register to transact business in another state (foreign qualify), you must file the appropriate paperwork and pay filing fees. You will also be subject to ongoing filing requirements and fees in both your state of incorporation and state(s) of qualification.

To determine the best state of incorporation for your particular business, talk with an attorney or accountant. You can also read our article on How to Select a State for Incorporation.

What if there is an error on my state-filed documents?

BizFilings is confident in its ability to provide accurate filings, and we pride ourselves on our service. We review each order we receive to identify potential errors. In the unlikely event that an error is made, BizFilings responds promptly to remedy the error.

We warranty our filing services against defects caused by us for the life of your company. We will absorb any fees/costs necessary to correct the error and will correct the mistake as quickly as possible.

Additionally, on rare occasions, the state makes a mistake in entering your information. If you notice an error, contact us immediately and we will work directly with the state to correct it.

What is a DBA and why do I need one?

A DBA (also known as a trade name or fictitious business name) is a nickname for your business, which allows a sole proprietor or partnership to operate under a name other than your legal name.  It does not create a business structure for the company.

As a sole proprietor/partnership, registering the DBA name allows you to operate and market your business under a name other than your own name.  Banks will require the DBA to be registered for you to open an account under the company name.

The DBA is less formal and typically less expensive to register and to operate.   You won’t file annual reports to the State, and in many states the DBA will only need to be renewed every 5 – 10 years or not at all.  You can obtain a federal tax ID (EIN) for the DBA, which means you won’t have to provide your personal SSN to vendors or clients when they request a tax ID.

If you already own a corporation or LLC, the DBA will allow you to expand your business without forming a separate company- for example if you run a bakery as Suzi Q’s Bakery, LLC and want to expand into catering you could add a DBA to the LLC.  Making the LLC as the owner of the DBA links it to that entity and extends the LLC’s liability protection to the DBA.

Similarly, franchise owners typically form an LLC or corporation under a name like Smith Group LLC and register the DBA “McDonald’s” in the county where their restaurant is located.

What are the ongoing requirements needed to keep my company open?

Although there are many different requirements depending on the state and city where you are located, there are a few key items that you will need to handle to keep your company in active and good standing:

Registered Agent – All states require that you maintain a registered agent in order to keep your company active. The agent is responsible for receiving and forwarding served legal documents and important state mail. The agent would then be responsible for forwarding these documents to your company in a timely manner. In order to act as the registered agent, one must have a physical address within the state where someone is available during normal business hours. Here at BizFilings, we offer this service in all 50 states and Washington DC. As part of our formation packages, we include a 3 month term for free. At that point, you can renew on a one, two, or three year basis.

Annual Report – Most states have a report due either every year or every other year in order to maintain your company standing. Some also use these reports to update key pieces of information with them (including addresses). Each state varies in terms of the due date and fee involved. As part of our registered agent services, we would send notifications to remind you of any upcoming annual reports. We can also assist with the filings themselves to ensure your company stays active and in good standing.

Permits – Depending on where you are located and the industry under which you operate, your city, county, or state may require that you maintain certain business permits or licenses. These licenses are vital to keeping yourself protected from fees or fines from government departments or city offices. Although we at BizFilings cannot assist with obtaining or maintaining permits at this time, we can help by doing research into your locale to see what licenses you may need. You can find more detail about this service here.

Taxes – You may be required to pay a number of taxes depending on your industry. This can include Sales/Use Tax if you sell goods or services and Unemployment/Withholding Tax if you plan to have employees in a state. With that being said, we are able to assist with the initial registrations for the Sales/Use Tax and Unemployment/Withholding Taxes here at BizFilings. However, we cannot assist with ongoing tax filings; and we would suggest that you work with a CPA or other tax professional to handle any tax related questions you may have.

Where are my documents?

The documents can be found in the status center or the company documents sections of your online account. The status center allows you to view all documents that are associated with a specific order. This format provides easy access to documents from previous filings. The company documents section allows access to PDF documents for all orders that have been placed under your account. You can access here.

Where can I pay my invoice?

Payment for any pending invoice can be processed through the invoices and payments tab in your online account. Payment can also be processed over the phone at 800-981-7183. If you would like to pay the invoice by check the mailing address for check payments can be found in the bottom right-hand corner of your invoice. You can access by clicking on here as well.

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