Starting a Corporation in Delaware 2023: Expert Guide

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How to Start a Corporation in Delaware

One crucial aspect of starting a business is selecting the appropriate legal structure for your venture. Starting a corporation in Delaware is a popular choice for many entrepreneurs due to the state’s favorable business environment and legal framework. Incorporating your business can provide several benefits, including personal liability protection, tax advantages, and increased credibility with customers and investors.

However, like Delaware LLC, running a corporation also comes with significant responsibilities, including complying with state and federal laws, maintaining accurate records, and holding regular shareholder meetings. This guide will explore the benefits and responsibilities of starting Delaware corporation. At LLCBase, we understand that forming a corporation can be an overwhelming experience, so we are here to help you every step of the way and set your business up for success.

What is a Corporation

A corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners, created to conduct business. It is established under the laws of the country or state where it operates and is registered with the government. The corporation can enter into contracts, sue and be sued, own property, hire employees, and issue stock to the public. It is governed by a board of directors responsible for managing the corporation’s affairs and making decisions on its behalf.

One of the primary advantages of a corporation is limited liability, which means that the shareholders or owners are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the corporation. This protects their personal assets from being used to pay off business debts. Other benefits include easier access to capital through the issuance of stock and the ability to transfer ownership more easily.

However, corporations often face more regulations and legal requirements than other business structures, such as sole proprietorships or partnerships. They are also subject to double taxation, as the corporation is taxed on its profits, and shareholders are taxed on the dividends received.

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Guide to Start Your Delaware Corporation

The following is a detailed guide outlining the steps to establish a corporation in Delaware:

Step 1: Choose a Corporate Name

Choosing a business name for your Delaware corporation is critical in forming one. It must be unique and distinguishable from other existing Delaware corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships. To check the availability of your desired name for your Delaware corporation, search the Delaware Division of Corporations Entity Search database. If the name is available, you can reserve it for up to 120 days by filing a Name Reservation Request Form and paying the required fee. This ensures that your chosen name is secured while you work on other steps to form a corporation in Delaware.

Embarking on a business endeavor in Delaware? Reach out to the best LLC formation services in Delaware for professional advice and assistance. With their expertise, you’ll be able to establish your LLC smoothly and concentrate on the success of your venture!

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Step 2: File Certificate of Incorporation

To officially form a corporation in Delaware, you must draft and file Certificate of Incorporation with the Delaware Secretary of State. This document includes essential information, such as the corporation’s name, purpose, Registered Agent, and the number of authorized shares. Providing accurate and complete information in your Certificate of Incorporation is crucial for successfully forming your Delaware corporation.

Once completed, submit the articles and the filing fee to the Delaware Secretary of State‘s office. You can file online, by mail, or in person, whichever method is most convenient for you. Filing the Certificate of Incorporation with the Delaware Secretary of State is vital in forming your Delaware corporation and establishing its legal existence.

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Step 3: Appoint Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is crucial in maintaining your Delaware corporation’s compliance with state requirements. The Registered Agent acts as the corporation’s official point of contact with the state, receiving legal documents and correspondence on behalf of the corporation. Every Delaware corporation must have a Registered Agent with a physical address to ensure seamless communication with the state government.

You can appoint an individual or a Registered Agent service in Delaware for your corporation. When choosing a Registered Agent, ensure they are reliable and consistently available during business hours to receive and forward important documents to your corporation. Appointing a trustworthy Registered Agent is essential to successfully form and maintain a corporation in Delaware.

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Step 4: Create Corporate Bylaws

Creating corporate bylaws is vital in establishing a well-organized and legally compliant business structure when forming Delaware corporation. Corporate bylaws serve as a set of internal rules and procedures that govern the corporation’s management and operation, ensuring consistency and clarity in business operations.

Bylaws typically include information about the Delaware corporation’s management structure, the rights and responsibilities of shareholders, directors, and officers, and provisions for annual meetings and decision-making processes. By outlining these essential components, corporate bylaws provide a clear and organized framework for running a successful Delaware corporation.

Drafting and adopting bylaws should be a collaborative process involving the corporation’s initial board of directors. By holding an initial board meeting, directors can discuss, refine, and adopt bylaws that best suit the corporation’s needs and objectives.

Step 5: Issue Stock

Issuing stock is a fundamental aspect of starting Delaware corporation, as it allows initial shareholders to invest in the company in exchange for capital contributions. The number of authorized shares is specified in the Certificate of Incorporation, and the board of directors determines the value of each share.

When issuing stock for your Delaware corporation, it’s essential to provide stock certificates to shareholders as a record of their ownership. Additionally, maintaining accurate and up-to-date stock ownership records is crucial for legal compliance and ensuring transparency in the corporation’s financial structure.

Step 6: Obtain an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique tax identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to your Delaware corporation. Obtaining an EIN in Delaware is essential for tax reporting, banking, and hiring employees, as it serves as the corporation’s identifier in these contexts.

Applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website or by mail using Form SS-4. This important step in forming Delaware corporation ensures your business can operate legally and fulfill its tax obligations.

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Step 7: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Opening a separate bank account for your Delaware corporation is crucial to separating personal and business finances. This separation helps protect the corporation’s limited liability status and ensures accurate financial record-keeping for tax and legal purposes.

You will need your Delaware corporation’s EIN, Certificate of Incorporation, and corporate bylaws to open a corporate bank account. Some banks may also require a corporate resolution authorizing the opening of the account. By providing the necessary documentation and opening a dedicated bank account, you are taking an essential step in establishing and maintaining a successful Delaware corporation.

Opening a separate bank account for your corporation is essential to balance personal and business finances. You will need your EIN, Certificate of Incorporation, and corporate bylaws to open a corporate bank account. Some banks may also require a corporate resolution authorizing the opening of the account.

Step 8: File a Statement of Information

Within Not required for LLCs, you must file a Statement of Information with the Delaware Secretary of State. This document is a vital update for the state regarding the corporation’s officers, directors, Registered Agent, and business address, ensuring that the Delaware Secretary of State has accurate information about your corporation.

Filing an annual report in Delaware is crucial in maintaining your corporation’s good standing. The statement and the required filing fee can be filed online or by mail. Regularly updating this information with the Secretary of State is key to managing your Delaware corporation’s ongoing compliance requirements.

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After Forming a Corporation

Once you have successfully formed a corporation, there are several steps you must take next. Here’s a comprehensive list for your reference to ensure your newly formed corporation operates smoothly and within legal guidelines.

Obtain the Required Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your Delaware corporation’s business, you may need to obtain various local, state, and federal licenses and permits. These requirements can vary significantly depending on your industry and location, making it essential to research the licenses and permits necessary for your corporation to operate legally.

Once you have identified the necessary licenses and permits, begin the application process before commencing business operations. Ensuring your Delaware corporation has all the required licenses and permits is crucial for legal compliance and avoiding potential penalties.

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Register for State Taxes

To form Delaware corporation, you must register your corporation with the Delaware Department of Tax and Fee Administration to pay state taxes. These may include employment taxes, use tax, and sales tax permits in Delaware, depending on the nature of your business.

Consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with all state tax requirements and to understand the types of state taxes that apply to your Delaware corporation. Proper registration and payment of state taxes are essential for maintaining your corporation’s legal standing and avoiding potential penalties.

Maintain Corporate Records

Maintaining accurate corporate records is essential for legal compliance and to protect your Delaware corporation’s limited liability status. Diligent recordkeeping ensures transparency in your corporation’s operations and supports decision-making processes.

Key records to maintain include minutes of corporate meetings, stock issuances, financial statements, and other essential documents. Keeping these records safe and organized allows you to effectively manage your Delaware corporation and maintain its legal compliance.

Hold Annual Shareholders’ Meetings

One of the ongoing requirements for Delaware corporations is holding annual shareholders’ meetings. These meetings allow shareholders to elect directors, review financial statements, and address other corporate matters, ensuring the corporation’s stakeholders are informed and engaged in decision-making.

To maintain legal compliance, document the proceedings of annual shareholders’ meetings with detailed minutes and store them in your corporation’s records. Doing so demonstrates that your Delaware corporation is adhering to its legal obligations and protecting its limited liability.

Comply with Federal Tax Requirements

In addition to state tax obligations, your Delaware corporation must comply with federal tax requirements by filing a corporate income tax return (Form 1120) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Timely and accurate filing of tax returns is essential for avoiding potential penalties and ensuring your corporation’s ongoing compliance with tax laws.

Given the complexity of tax regulations, consulting with a tax professional when preparing and filing your Delaware corporation’s tax returns is highly advisable. A tax professional can help you navigate the intricacies of tax laws, identify potential deductions and credits, and ensure your corporation meets all applicable tax requirements.

Seek Professional Advice

Forming and maintaining Delaware corporation is an ongoing process that requires attention to various legal and regulatory requirements. As laws and regulations change, staying informed about updates affecting your corporation and its operations is essential.

One way to stay informed and ensure ongoing compliance is by seeking professional advice from attorneys, accountants, or other experts specializing in Delaware corporation law. These professionals can provide invaluable guidance and assistance with forming and managing Delaware corporation, including maintaining proper documentation, meeting regulatory requirements, and addressing legal issues.

Fees for Starting Delaware Corporation

Here are some of the common fees associated when starting a corporation in Delaware:

  • Name Reservation Request Form fee: Not available (online) and $75 (mail)
  • Certificate of Incorporation filing fee: $89
  • Annual report (Statement of Information) filing fee: $225

Please note that these fees are accurate as of 2022. Double-checking the Delaware Secretary of State‘s website for the most up-to-date fee information is always a good idea.

Importance of Incorporating a Corporation in Delaware

Delaware, also known as The First State, is one of the largest economies in the United States and offers a thriving business environment for entrepreneurs across various industries. Incorporating your business in Delaware provides a strong legal foundation that can help protect your personal assets, increase credibility with customers and partners, and offer potential tax advantages.

By forming Delaware corporation, you create a separate legal entity distinct from its owners, which can protect your personal assets from business liabilities. Additionally, Delaware corporations can benefit from the state’s extensive network of resources, including incubators, accelerators, and business-friendly initiatives that support growth and innovation.

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Benefits and Responsibilities of Delaware Corporation

Forming Delaware corporation comes with several benefits, such as:

  • Limited liability: As a separate legal entity, a corporation provides limited liability protection for its owners (shareholders), shielding their personal assets from business debts and liabilities.
  • Increased credibility: Incorporating a business can enhance its credibility with customers, suppliers, and investors, making it easier to establish business relationships and attract capital.
  • Tax advantages: Corporations may benefit from various tax advantages, such as lower tax rates on retained earnings, the ability to deduct employee benefits, and potential eligibility for tax credits and incentives.
  • Perpetual existence: Unlike sole proprietorships and partnerships, a corporation has a perpetual existence, meaning it can continue to operate even if its owners (shareholders) change.

However, with these benefits come certain responsibilities, including:

  • Compliance with state and federal regulations: Corporations must comply with various state and federal regulations, such as filing annual reports, maintaining corporate records, and holding annual shareholder meetings.
  • Tax obligations: Corporations have specific tax obligations, including filing corporate income tax returns and paying applicable taxes.
  • Maintaining corporate formalities: To preserve limited liability protection, corporations must maintain corporate formalities, such as adopting and following bylaws, issuing stock, and documenting corporate decisions.
  • Registration and ongoing fees: Incorporating a business in Delaware requires registration with the Delaware Secretary of State and payment of initial and ongoing fees, such as filing fees for the Certificate of Incorporation and annual report fees.

Understanding the benefits and responsibilities of forming Delaware corporation is crucial for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a strong legal foundation for their businesses. By incorporating your business in Delaware and adhering to the associated responsibilities, you can enjoy the advantages of limited liability, increased credibility, and potential tax benefits while operating in the state’s dynamic and innovative business environment.


What are the benefits of starting a corporation in Delaware?
Delaware has a favorable business law system, with low tax rates and a pro-business environment.
How do I name my Delaware corporation?
You can use the Secretary of State’s website to search for existing business names in Delaware and then choose an available name that complies with state law.
Do I need a Delaware registered agent for my corporation?
Yes, it is required by Delaware law to have a registered agent located in the state.
What is a Delaware Certificate of Incorporation?
The Certificate of Incorporation is a legal document that makes your corporation official and includes essential information about your organization.
How much does it cost to incorporate a business in Delaware?
The filing fee for a Delaware corporation with standard processing is $89, plus an additional $50 for expedited processing.
Do all corporation owners need to be listed on the Certificate of Incorporation in Delaware?
No, only the initial directors need to be listed on the Certificate of Incorporation.
How soon can I start doing business after I incorporate in Delaware?
You can start doing business as soon as you receive your Certificate of Incorporation from the state.
What is the Personal Net Worth Tax in Delaware?
The Personal Net Worth Tax in Delaware applies only to corporations, not individuals.
Can my Delaware corporation have more than one class of stock?
Yes, Delaware law allows for corporations to have multiple classes of stock.
How often do Delaware corporations need to file a franchise tax report?
Delaware corporations must file a franchise tax report annually.
What is the annual franchise tax for a Delaware corporation?
The annual franchise tax for Delaware corporations varies depending on your business entity and the value of your business assets.
Can a corporation in Delaware have just one owner?
Yes, a single individual or entity can own and operate a Delaware corporation.
What documents do I need to include in my Delaware incorporation filing?
You need to file your Certificate of Incorporation and your personal information with the Delaware Secretary of State.
Are there any specific requirement for a Delaware corporate seal?
No, there are no rules for Delaware corporate seals.
Can I change the name of my Delaware corporation after incorporation?
Yes, you can file an amendment to the Certificate of Incorporation at any time to change the name of your corporation.
Do I need to get a business license to operate in Delaware?
Yes, almost all businesses operating in Delaware must obtain a business license.
Are there any residency requirements to be a director in a Delaware corporation?
No, there are no residency requirements for directors of a Delaware corporation.
What is the procedure for dissolving a Delaware corporation?
The corporation must file a Certificate of Dissolution with the Delaware Secretary of State.
Do I need to file an annual report for my Delaware corporation?
Yes, Delaware corporations must file an annual report each year.
What is the franchise tax for a Delaware corporation?
The franchise tax ranges from $225 to $200,000 in Delaware.
Does Delaware require a specific number of directors for a corporation?
No, Delaware does not have a minimum or maximum number of directors required for a corporation.
How long does it take to incorporate a business in Delaware?
It takes around two weeks for a Delaware corporation to become officially registered.
Can I get a certificate of good standing for my Delaware corporation?
Yes, a corporation can receive a certificate of good standing after it has been in existence and in good standing with the state of Delaware.
Can I merge or combine my Delaware corporation with another corporation?
Yes, Delaware corporations are able to merge or combine with other businesses.
Can a Delaware corporation be dissolved involuntarily?
Yes, if the company fails to file their annual report and/or pay franchise taxes for three years in a row they may be dissolved by the state.
Is there a penalty for not filing a franchise report in Delaware?
Yes, there are penalties for late or not filing a franchise report specified by the Secretary of State of Delaware.
Why should I start a corporation in Delaware?
Delaware has a favorable legal, tax, and business climate for corporations, making it a popular choice for businesses.
What are the filing requirements to start a corporation in Delaware?
You need to file articles of incorporation with the Delaware Division of Corporations.
Is there a specific form I need to use to file for incorporation in Delaware?
Yes, you can use either a standard form or create your own.
Is there a fee for filing articles of incorporation?
Yes, there is a fee that ranges from $89 to $239, depending on the type of corporation you are forming.
What is a Registered Agent in Delaware?
A Registered Agent is a person or company designated to receive legal notices on your behalf.
Is it mandatory to have a Registered Agent to start a corporation in Delaware?
Yes, the Delaware Corporation Law requires all corporations to have a Registered Agent.
Can I be my own Registered Agent for my corporation in Delaware?
Yes, you can be your Registered Agent in Delaware, but you need to have a physical address in the state.
What is a Delaware certificate of incorporation?
A Delaware Certificate of Incorporation is a legal document issued by the state that recognizes your corporation as a legal entity.
Do I need a Delaware Certificate of Incorporation to start a corporation?
Yes, it is mandatory to have a Delaware Certificate of Incorporation to form a corporation in the state.
How do I obtain a Delaware Certificate of Incorporation?
You will receive a Delaware Certificate of Incorporation upon the filing of your approved articles of incorporation with the Delaware Division of Corporations.
Can I file for incorporation in Delaware if I am not a resident of the state?
Yes, you can file for incorporation in Delaware regardless of your residency.
What are the minimum requirements to file for incorporation in Delaware?
There are no minimum requirements for filing incorporation in Delaware, but you need to appoint a Registered Agent in the state.
What is the corporate tax rate in Delaware?
The corporate tax rate in Delaware is 8.7%.
Are there any other taxes that corporations in Delaware need to pay?
Yes, corporations in Delaware are required to pay an annual franchise tax.
How do I calculate my corporation’s franchise tax in Delaware?
The franchise tax in Delaware is based on the type of corporation, number of outstanding shares, and assets.
Is it mandatory to file an annual report for my corporation in Delaware?
Yes, all corporations in Delaware are required to file an annual report with the state.
Can I file my corporation’s annual report online in Delaware?
Yes, you can file your corporation’s annual report online in Delaware.
What are the consequences of not filing my corporation’s annual report in Delaware?
A corporation that fails to file its annual report in Delaware may incur a penalty or even be dissolved.
Can I change my corporation’s name after formation in Delaware?
Yes, you can change your corporation’s name after formation in Delaware by filing appropriate paperwork with the state.
How do I cancel my corporation’s registration in Delaware?
You can file the articles of dissolution with the Delaware Division of Corporations.
Are business licenses required in Delaware?
Yes, depending on the industry and location, a business may require a permit or license in Delaware.
Do I need to participate in workers’ compensation insurance in Delaware?
Yes, all entities in Delaware that employ one or more individuals must participate in the workers’ compensation program.
Will my corporation have to file a yearly tax return in Delaware?
Yes, your corporation must file its tax return on time every year and pay any taxes due.
Can I apply for a tax exemption in Delaware?
Yes, Delaware offers tax exemptions in select industries such as manufacturing.
Can I elect S corporation status for Delaware?
Yes, Delaware law allows for S corporation status, with compliance with federal guidelines.
Can I convert my LLC to a corporation in Delaware?
Yes, Delaware law permits the conversion of an LLC to a corporation with filing the appropriate paperwork.
Can I convert my corporation to an LLC in Delaware?
Yes, Delaware law permits corporations to convert to an LLC, subject to state compliance requirements.
Can I find more information on starting a corporation in Delaware online?
Yes, the Delaware Division of Corporations provides online resources and information on how to start a corporation in the state.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Forming Your Delaware Corporation

One of the first steps to cutting costs is conducting thorough research. By taking the time to understand the process of forming a Delaware corporation, you can make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary expenses. Numerous resources, such as online guides and government websites, offer comprehensive information to guide you through the process. Additionally, seeking advice from professionals or joining entrepreneurship forums can provide insights that ultimately lead to saving money.

When it comes to legal matters, there is often a temptation to hire expensive attorneys to handle the entire process. While having a legal expert by your side can be invaluable, it’s not always essential for every single step. Exploring the DIY route for certain tasks, such as drafting initial corporate documents and navigating the intricate web of filings, can significantly reduce costs. Online services and software platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and guidance, making the process manageable for even those without a legal background.

Shopping around for the right registered agent is another way to reduce expenses. Registered agents, who act as liaisons between your corporation and the state, receive important legal documents on your behalf. Shopping for the most competitive prices can make a difference in the long run. While it’s crucial to choose a reputable registered agent that provides quality service, there’s no harm in comparing prices to find the most affordable option that suits your needs.

It’s no secret that traditional office spaces and utility bills can quickly drain a business budget. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs are now exploring alternative workplace solutions to cut costs. Coworking spaces, for instance, provide the amenities needed for a professional environment at a fraction of the price. This not only saves money but also allows for networking and collaboration opportunities with like-minded professionals.

Additionally, tapping into virtual services and digital tools can result in substantial savings. For example, going paperless by using electronic documents and cloud-based storage systems eliminates the need for unnecessary printing and physical storage space. Leveraging project management tools, virtual meeting platforms, and online billing services can also cut expenses associated with infrastructure and administration.

Finally, while it may not be directly linked to forming a corporation, proper financial planning cannot be emphasized enough. Budgeting and forecasting accurately can help you identify potential areas for excessive spending. Carefully managing expenses, exploring cost-effective marketing strategies, and seeking cost-sharing opportunities with other small businesses are just a few ways to stretch your capital further and maintain financial stability during the early stages of your corporation.

Aspiring entrepreneurs must recognize the importance of saving money while forming a Delaware corporation. By conducting thorough research, embracing DIY approaches where feasible, finding affordable service providers, exploring alternative workplace solutions, leveraging virtual services, and practicing prudent financial management, entrepreneurs can overcome the financial hurdles associated with forming their corporations, ultimately setting them up for success in Delaware’s bustling business environment.


Forming a corporation in Delaware involves steps and ongoing compliance with state and federal requirements. By following these key steps and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can successfully establish and maintain Delaware corporation, enjoying the benefits of limited liability protection, increased credibility, and potential tax advantages. Visit LLCBase to know more about starting a corporation in Delaware.

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