California Articles of Incorporation

Order Registered Agent Service

California articles of incorporation are filed to create a corporation.

Preparing and filing your articles of incorporation is the first step in starting your business corporation. Approval of this document secures your corporate name and creates the legal entity of the corporation. Only after this approval can the corporation apply for tax IDs, obtain business licenses, sign contracts, and otherwise conduct business.


Incorporating provides many important benefits:

  • Limits the liability of directors, officers, and shareholders
  • Fulfills statutory requirements to register your business name
  • Provides governance and adds credibility

Fast Facts

Agency:California Secretary of State - Business Programs Division

Articles of Incorporation - General Stock (Form ARTS-GS)


Corporate Filing Tips

Filing Method:

Mail or in-person

Agency Fee:

$100 by mail or $115 in-person + optional $250-$500 preclearance service + optional $350-$500 expedited filing service


Current state processing times or pay for preclearance and expedite services


California Corporations Code - §200-213

Fact Checked:6/16/17

Other Helpful California Facts

As you are preparing to incorporate, keep in mind the following requirements specific to California.

California Directors

  • Number: As set forth in the bylaws, but a minimum of three required once shares are issued. Only one is required if only one shareholder, only two required if two shareholders.
  • Qualifications: none.
  • Quorum: Majority of directors, unless bylaws state otherwise, but no less than one third.

California Officers

  • President, Secretary, Chief Financial Officer required. Can all be the same person.

California Bylaws

  • Required: No.

California Annual Shareholder Meeting

  • Required: Yes.
  • Action by written consent: Allowed if enough shareholders consent to equal the number required to take action by vote.

California Shareholders

  • Qualifications: N/A
  • Stock Certificate: Required, unless standards met for electronic records.
  • Voting Trusts Allowed: Yes.
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