Michigan Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Michigan, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The Articles of Incorporation cost a minimum of $60 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Michigan corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Michigan Corporation Guide:
Michigan Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Michigan corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Michigan corporation today. Includes Michigan incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Michigan corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Michigan Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Michigan corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with LARA. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
If you’re creating an educational corporation, you’re required to list a specific purpose. Otherwise, it’s sufficient to list a general purpose such as “the corporation may engage in any activity within the purposes for which corporations may be formed under the Act.” Tip: Most corporations list a general purpose.
List the number of shares you’re creating. You must have at least one share. If you have multiple classes or series of shares, list the number of each, as well as any rights or restrictions for the class or series.
You can list a business (but not your own) or an individual Michigan resident (such as yourself). Tip: We recommend Northwest.
This Michigan street address is where your resident agent accepts legal notifications on behalf of your company and will be a matter of public record. Tip: Our address will go here when you hire Northwest.
Incorporators sign and submit your Articles of Incorporation. Many people assume an incorporator must be a director, but it doesn’t have to be anyone in your corporation—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire us to form your Michigan corporation.
This provision is optional. In essence, it’s a statement about working out arrangements or plans of reorganization with creditors. Generally, this provision gives permission for a court to order a meeting in which ¾ of creditors and ¾ of shareholders can agree to a binding arrangement or plan.
This provision is also optional. Essentially, this provision gives permission for actions normally taken at corporate meetings to be done without notice or vote if consent is given in writing.
How much does it cost to start a Michigan corporation?
The state’s minimum filing fee for Michigan Articles of Incorporation is $60. If you have more than 60,000 shares, the fee increases along with the number of shares.
Hire Northwest to form your Michigan corporation, and your total, out-the-door cost is $285 ($335 for one-day filing), including a year of registered agent service and all the forms you need to open a corporate bank account.
How long does it take to start a Michigan corporation?
Standard processing takes 3 days for online filings and around 10 days for mailed filings. Need it faster? Expediting options are available. File online or in person and you could technically have your Articles processed in an hour or two—if you’re willing to shell out an extra $500-$1000. Much more reasonable, however, is same-day expediting for $50.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your expedited Michigan corporation formed within 24 hours. If you choose the extra $50 expediting service, your filing is guaranteed to be processed immediately.
Does a Michigan corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, you must include your Michigan registered agent (also called a “resident agent”) in your Articles of Incorporation. You could try to save a few dollars and be your own registered agent—although you’d have to include your name and the street address where you’d be available during business hours. And, this information would become part of the permanent public record of your Michigan corporation, available to any busybody or data seller interested in you or your business. Yet another downside of being your own registered agent is that you would need to be regularly available at the address you list. Not running errands or in meetings (or at the lake).
Instead, many corporations in Michigan hire Northwest to be their registered agent. Our clients can list our registered office throughout their Articles of Incorporation. This way, as their corporation grows and changes, they don’t have to worry about updating addresses or turning away unwanted visitors at their home or office. We also accept, scan and send any legal notifications the same day, so corporations can stay on top of their businesses from wherever they are (and even Mackinac Island has Internet these days).
Create Bylaws for Your Michigan Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, you’ll need bylaws—they’re essential for organizing your Michigan corporation. They’re not, however, a document you file with the state like Articles of Incorporation or Annual Reports. Michigan is more concerned with making sure you pay all your taxes and fees than how many board members your corporation requires to pass a resolution.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
While the state may not be so interested in these details, the policies and procedures in your bylaws are critical for your corporation. Essentially, your bylaws determine who has power over what in your corporation. In your bylaws, you decide who’s on the board of directors, how long they stay, and how they’re replaced. You decide who your officers are and what their duties will be. You also lay out what classes or series of shares you’ll have, including any voting rights or restrictions. And while bylaws are a private, internal document, you’ll occasionally need to present your bylaws to those outside your business. Your bank will need your bylaws when you open a corporate account, and potential investors and partners will want to check out your bylaws as well.
Do I have to write bylaws?
Your bylaws spell out how your business actually works—so in short, they’re critical. That’s why we give you free corporate bylaws when you hire Northwest to form your Michigan corporation. We’ll give you other key forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We’ve spent years refining and developing our forms to ensure our clients have everything they need and don’t waste their time agonizing over paperwork. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Michigan Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Absolutely—not only does the IRS require corporations to have an EIN for federal tax filings, but you may need your EIN for local tax registration, license applications or even just to open a corporate bank account. You can get your EIN directly from the IRS for no fee. Or, skip the extra application and hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for Northwest’s incorporation service.
Open a Bank Account for Your Michigan Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Michigan corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Michigan corporation’s bylaws
- The Michigan corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Michigan corporation need a business license?
There isn’t a general state-level business license in Michigan, but some cities and counties have their own licensing requirements. For example, all businesses in Sterling Heights must pay a $50 fee to register their business and receive their business certificate.
File Michigan Corporation Reports
What is a Michigan Annual Report?
Your Michigan Annual Report is a form you file with LARA’s Corporation Division to update your corporation’s ownership and contact information. The report and $25 fee are due May 15th each year. Forget to file? There’s a late penalty of $10 a month (topping out at $50). Your corporation will automatically be dissolved if you fail to submit reports for two years and 60 days.
As your registered agent, Northwest can help you avoid annoying late fees and penalties. We’ll send you reminder notices for your Annual Reports to help keep you in compliance. Or, for $100 plus filing fees, you can hire us to file your Annual Report on your behalf.
How much does a corporation in Michigan cost each year?
$25. This is the filing fee to submit your mandatory Michigan Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Michigan corporation?
The Michigan corporate net income tax rate is a flat 6%. Note that some Michigan cities have a city income tax as well, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw. The tax rate in Grand Rapids, for example, is 1.5%.
The state’s sales tax rate is also a flat 6%. Cities and counties can’t tack on additional local sales taxes, so you’ll pay the same 6% at the counter from Detroit to Houghton.