Starting a Corporation in Minnesota 2024: Expert Guide

How to Start a Corporation in Minnesota

One crucial aspect of starting a business is selecting the appropriate legal structure for your venture. Starting a corporation in Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota Corporation

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

Step 1: Choose a Corporate Name

Choosing a business name for your Minnesota corporation is critical in forming one. It must be unique and distinguishable from other existing Minnesota corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships. To check the availability of your desired name for your Minnesota corporation, search the Minnesota Secretary of State Business Filings Online database. If the name is available, you can reserve it for up to 1 year 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 Minnesota.

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Step 2: File Articles of Incorporation

To officially form a corporation in Minnesota, you must draft and file Articles of Incorporation with the Minnesota 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 Articles of Incorporation is crucial for successfully forming your Minnesota corporation.

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

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Step 3: Appoint Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is crucial in maintaining your Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

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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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Articles of Incorporation, and the board of directors determines the value of each share.

When issuing stock for your Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation. Obtaining an EIN in Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation’s EIN, Articles 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 Minnesota corporation.

Opening a separate bank account for your corporation is essential to balance personal and business finances. You will need your EIN, Articles 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 December 31 the year following formation, you must file a Statement of Information with the Minnesota 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 Minnesota Secretary of State has accurate information about your corporation.

Filing an annual report in Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation, you must register your corporation with the Minnesota Department of Tax and Fee Administration to pay state taxes. These may include employment taxes, use tax, and sales tax permits in Minnesota, 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation and maintain its legal compliance.

Hold Annual Shareholders’ Meetings

One of the ongoing requirements for Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation is adhering to its legal obligations and protecting its limited liability.

Comply with Federal Tax Requirements

In addition to state tax obligations, your Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation law. These professionals can provide invaluable guidance and assistance with forming and managing Minnesota corporation, including maintaining proper documentation, meeting regulatory requirements, and addressing legal issues.

Fees for Starting Minnesota Corporation

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

  • Name Reservation Request Form fee: $35 (online) and $55 (mail)
  • Articles of Incorporation filing fee: $155
  • Annual report (Statement of Information) filing fee: $0 (information report req.)

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

Importance of Incorporating a Corporation in Minnesota

Minnesota, also known as The North Star 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation, you create a separate legal entity distinct from its owners, which can protect your personal assets from business liabilities. Additionally, Minnesota 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 Minnesota Corporation

Forming Minnesota 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 Minnesota requires registration with the Minnesota Secretary of State and payment of initial and ongoing fees, such as filing fees for the Articles of Incorporation and annual report fees.

Understanding the benefits and responsibilities of forming Minnesota corporation is crucial for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a strong legal foundation for their businesses. By incorporating your business in Minnesota 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 is a corporation in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, a corporation is a business entity that is legally separate from its owners, also known as shareholders.
How do I name my Minnesota corporation?
Minnesota corporations need to have unique names that are distinguishable from other businesses registered in the state.
Do I need a registered agent for my Minnesota corporation?
Yes, a registered agent in Minnesota is required for all corporations. This person receives legal documents and notices on behalf of the corporation.
Can a non-resident be a shareholder in a Minnesota corporation?
Yes, non-residents can be shareholders in a Minnesota corporation.
What is the minimum number of directors required for a Minnesota corporation?
In Minnesota, a corporation must have at least one director.
Where do I file my Minnesota corporate documents?
You can file your Minnesota corporate documents with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
What is the filing fee for incorporating a Minnesota corporation?
The filing fee for a Minnesota corporation is $135.
When is the annual report due for a Minnesota corporation?
The annual report is due by December 31st every year for Minnesota corporations.
Can a Minnesota corporation be taxed as an S corporation?
Yes, a Minnesota corporation can elect to be taxed as an S corporation with the IRS.
Is there a foreign corporation fee in Minnesota?
Yes, foreign corporations doing business in Minnesota are required to pay a $310 filing fee.
Can I reserve a business name in Minnesota before incorporating my corporation?
Yes, you can reserve a business name in Minnesota for 12 months for a fee of $55.
Do I need a business license for my Minnesota corporation?
Minnesota does not have a general statewide business license, but some cities and counties may require a license or permit.
Can I use my home address as the registered office address for my Minnesota corporation?
Yes, you can use your home address as the registered office address for your Minnesota corporation.
What is a Certificate of Good Standing and do I need one for my Minnesota corporation?
A Certificate of Good Standing is a document that shows your corporation is compliant with state regulations. You may need one to obtain loans, renew licenses, or enter into contracts.
Are Minnesota corporations required to have bylaws?
Yes, Minnesota corporations are required to have bylaws that govern their internal affairs.
Can I file my Minnesota corporation documents online?
Yes, you can file your Minnesota corporation documents online.
What is a Minnesota benefit corporation?
A benefit corporation is a type of corporation that has a legal obligation to consider the interests of stakeholders beyond just the shareholders.
How long does it take to incorporate a Minnesota corporation?
It normally takes 3-5 business days to process Minnesota corporation documents.
Can I change my Minnesota corporation name after it has been incorporated?
Yes, you can change your Minnesota corporation name by filing Articles of Amendment with the Secretary of State.
What is the Minnesota tax rate for corporations?
The Minnesota corporate tax rate is a flat rate of 9.8%.
Can I electronically submit my Minnesota corporation’s annual report?
Yes, you can submit the annual report electronically through the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
What is the difference between a C corporation and an S corporation in Minnesota?
The main difference between a C corporation and an S corporation in Minnesota is that C corporations are taxed separately from their shareholders, while S corporations are not.
Can I be the sole shareholder and director of my Minnesota corporation?
Yes, you can be the sole shareholder and director of your Minnesota corporation.
Do I need a business plan before starting a Minnesota corporation?
You do not need a business plan to incorporate a Minnesota corporation, but it can be helpful to have one for your own planning purposes.
Can email be used to communicate with my Minnesota corporation’s shareholders?
Yes, email can be used to communicate with your Minnesota corporation’s shareholders.
How long does my Minnesota corporation’s annual report need to be kept on record?
The annual report for your Minnesota corporation should be kept on file for at least 7 years.
Can I be an officer and a director of my Minnesota corporation?
Yes, it is possible to hold positions as an officer and a director in a Minnesota corporation.
What is a Minnesota professional corporation?
A Minnesota professional corporation is a type of corporation that is formed for professional service providers, like doctors and lawyers.
Does my Minnesota corporation need a state tax identification number?
Yes, your Minnesota corporation will likely need a state tax identification number for tax purposes.
How do I dissolve a Minnesota corporation?
You can dissolve a Minnesota corporation by filing Articles of Dissolution with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

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How to Save Money While Forming Your Minnesota Corporation

First and foremost, it’s important to do your research before getting started. Understanding the requirements and costs associated with forming a corporation can help you budget more effectively and avoid any surprises down the line. By familiarizing yourself with the process, you can ensure that you’re not spending money on services or items that you don’t actually need.

One cost-saving measure to consider is whether you really need to hire a lawyer to help with the formation process. While legal assistance can be helpful in navigating complex laws and regulations, it’s not always necessary. There are plenty of resources available online that can walk you through the process step-by-step, saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Another way to save money is by filing the necessary paperwork yourself. While it may seem daunting at first, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website provides detailed instructions and forms that make the process relatively straightforward. By taking the time to fill out the paperwork yourself, you can avoid paying a third party to do it for you.

It’s also worth considering the type of corporation you’re forming. In Minnesota, there are different types of corporations, each with its own set of requirements and costs. By understanding the differences between them, you can choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. For example, forming a limited liability company (LLC) may be more cost-effective than a traditional C corporation, as it generally requires less paperwork and fees.

When it comes to registering your corporation with the state, timing is everything. In Minnesota, the filing fee for a new corporation is $155, but this fee can be reduced to $135 if you file online. By taking advantage of this discount, you can save $20 right off the bat. Additionally, the state offers expedited processing for an additional fee, but unless you’re in a hurry, it’s best to opt for the standard processing time to save money.

Finally, consider the ongoing costs associated with maintaining your corporation. In Minnesota, all corporations are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State and pay a fee of $35. By keeping track of important deadlines and renewing your registration on time, you can avoid any late fees or penalties that could eat into your bottom line.

In conclusion, forming a corporation in Minnesota doesn’t have to break the bank. By doing your research, minimizing unnecessary expenses, and taking advantage of discounts when possible, you can save money throughout the entire process. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can successfully form your corporation without draining your finances.


Forming a corporation in Minnesota 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 Minnesota corporation, enjoying the benefits of limited liability protection, increased credibility, and potential tax advantages. Visit LLCBase to know more about starting a corporation in Minnesota.

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