Get Organized in 2016: Your Startup’s Business Documents Checklist

Running a company is a ton of fun, especially when your sales are good and you have lots of happy customers. Unfortunately, you can run into a snag if you do not handle what some refer to as “admin stuff” and others call necessary evils.

If you practice good organization early by placing all your documents in the cloud in an organized fashion, you will save yourself a ton of stress down the road.

The Secretary of State in your state is a good source of information to determine what documents you must file after your incorporation or LLC formation.

Here are some considerations:

Articles of Organization (if You’re an LLC) or Articles of Incorporation (if You’re a Corporation)

You can verify that your entity is in existence and filed by checking your state database. Here’s how to check for your state. Confused about the differences between an LLC and a corporation? Check out this blog.

EIN/Tax ID Number

Note: Do not pay for this! Any service or lawyer that charges you should be ashamed as it is super easy to do yourself. Click this link to apply after you form your business. Not sure why you need a tax ID number? Read this.

Bylaws or Operating Agreements

Some states may ask you to file these documents, and many banks require them as well. If you are unsure of the requirements you can call a lawyer or contact the Secretary of State in the state where you formed your business.

Meeting Minutes

Most states recommend that you have at least one board meeting per year. Keeping meeting minutes is also a good idea. In addition, consider having these documents ready to go as well:

  • Notice of Organizational Meeting
  • Shareholders’ Agreement
  • Notice of Special Meeting of Directors
  • Waiver of Notice of Meeting

Annual Reports

Most states want you to file an annual report. Check this link for details on the state where you formed your business

Delaware Corporations

If you formed your entity in Delaware, you will most likely have to file as a foreign entity in the state(s) in which you plan to operate (and, more specifically, in which you plan to open a bank account). For example, if you file an LLC in Delaware but live in Florida you will have to file as a foreign entity in Florida in order to do business there.

Registered Agent Information

Some services really push that you use them as a registered agent. Keep in mind you only have to pay extra to have a registered agent if you are forming a business entity and you do not have an address in that state that is capable of receiving mail. This is most common with entities registered in the state of Delaware. Although there are some reasons for having a registered agent in a state where you do not do business, it is not required.

Statement of Good Standing

Different states call this document by different names. In the internet age, most banks no longer require them. Keep in mind that most states allow you to verify on their website if your entity exists so this may not be needed. Check here before you fork over the extra money.


If you decide that double taxation is not for you and your startup is not backed by venture capital, you may want to turn your organization into an S-Corp. Follow these instructions and complete Form 2553. Or, of course, find a tax guru you trust to bang it out for you. Note: there are two different possible addresses and make sure you sign your name on page three where the boxes are

Publishing Documents

Some states such as New York require that you publish the fact that you formed your LLC in the newspaper. You may find the form simple enough to complete on your own without a lawyer.

Starting a business is hard! Finding a guru that you trust to help you is essential to allowing you to focus on what is most important.

PS — If you are interested in getting help with business forms contact us here.

PPS — Here is an awesome podcast I was featured on.

PPPS — Make sure you have a great day

Derek Distenfield is CEO and Co-founder of NextGenJustice which offers legal and tax solutions without lawyers in four main areas of law: family, business, estate, and tax preparation. More articles can be found at

Disclaimer: NextGenJustice is not a law firm and does not provide attorneys or legal services to its customers. Using NextGenJustice services is not a substitute for hiring a lawyer. NextGenJustice does not guarantee any results of any kind. NextGenJustice cannot and does not provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, available choices, or strategies. When using NextGenJustice, you are representing yourself. You are solely responsible for the accuracy, appropriateness and placement of your information. If you need legal advice or assistance in connection with your matter, you must talk to a lawyer. Communications with NextGenJustice are not protected by the attorney-client privilege nor as work product. NextGenJustice is powered by SmartLegalForms®. We never share your email address with outside vendors. Legal Docs By Me is doing business as NextGenJustice. Price quotes are for NextGenJustice services only and do not include court filing fees, process server, LLC publication, or other third party costs that may be required in connection with your legal matter. Please Read More Disclaimers Here

Originally published at on January 26, 2016.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.