South Dakota Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in South Dakota, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost $150 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your South Dakota corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a South Dakota Corporation Guide:
South Dakota Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a South Dakota 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 South Dakota corporation today. Includes South Dakota incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes South Dakota corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
South Dakota Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a South Dakota corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,””Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it simple with “Corp” or “Inc.”
Your business purpose is what your business will actually do. You can list a general purpose (such as “engage in any lawful business in the state of South Dakota”), a specific purpose (“real estate management”), or nothing at all—this section is optional. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
List the number of shares you’re creating. You must create at least one share.
Your principal office is your main office and the address where the state will send mail (besides legal notices—those go to your registered agent). Tip: Prefer to have all your mail go to the same place? When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our South Dakota address as your principal office address.
On the online form, you have the option to enter your phone number. Since everything you list in your Articles is a matter of public record, many people skip this section to better maintain privacy (and avoid a flood of telemarketers). Your email is optional on the paper form but required when filing online. Tip: Avoid an inbox full of spam when you hire Northwest as your registered agent—we allow our clients to list our email address here.
List a noncommercial agent (like a friend or family member), a commercial agent (like Northwest), or an office holder (like yourself). Tip: We recommend Northwest.
If you have a noncommercial agent or office holder as your registered agent, you’ll also need to list include their South Dakota street address (no PO Boxes). If you have a commercial agent like Northwest, you just need to list our name and ID number—our address is already on file with the state.
Your incorporator signs your Articles of Incorporation. You must have at least one incorporator, and all incorporators must include their names and addresses. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director or officer—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your South Dakota corporation.
The online form has a few extra sections that the paper form doesn’t. For instance, you have the option of including “beneficial owners” (those with controlling interest in the corporation) and a “recipient address” (anyone else you’d like your approval documents to be sent to). Tip: Most corporations skip these optional sections.
How much does it cost to start a South Dakota corporation?
$150 if you file online. The state’s trying to get everyone on the online filing train, so if you submit paper Articles of Incorporation, you’ll have to shell out an extra $15.
Hire Northwest to form your South Dakota corporation, and your total out-the-door cost is $375. This includes state fees, a full 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 South Dakota corporation?
If you file online, your Articles are processed immediately and you can print out your approval Certificate right away. If you absolutely have to, you can mail your filing. On the plus side, the paper form is a bit easier to fill out—but it costs $15 more AND takes longer to process.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your South Dakota corporation formed within 24 hours.
Does a South Dakota corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, you’re required to appoint a South Dakota registered agent. Your agent (either a SoDak resident or a business) must be willing to put their name and address on your public documents. Finding someone willing to give up their privacy can be a hard sell, especially as public filings are common targets for data-sellers. Your agent must also be regularly available at a designated South Dakota address to accept legal notifications. Being available is often the toughest requirement of all.
In a state with more space than people, you get used to depending on yourself and wearing a lot of different hats. If you need to pick up supplies or meet clients, odds are you don’t think twice about hopping on I-90 and going back and forth between East and West River. It certainly doesn’t pay to be tied to the desk.
That’s why many corporations choose to go with a commercial registered agent like Northwest. We scan your legal notices at our South Dakota office and send them to you ASAP. So, whether you’re at a vendor table at Sturgis or just taking a week off to go hunting or camping, you’ll know that things are being taken care of back home.
Create Bylaws for Your South Dakota Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Starting a new business takes a lot. Time. Money. Persistence. After all the work you put in to bring your vision to life, you’ll want to make sure you have every last “i” dotted and “t” crossed. Essentially, that’s what your bylaws do.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your bylaws put into writing all the policies and procedures of your corporation. Your bylaws state who is on the board of directors, how long they’ll stay, how they’ll be replaced, and how many members are needed to pass a resolution. Your bylaws note who your officers are and what they’re responsible for. Your bylaws list rights and restrictions for any classes or series of shares, including voting rights. Overall, your bylaws spell out how decisions in your corporation are made and who gets to make those decisions—helping make sure nothing important is left to chance.
Do I have to write bylaws?
At Northwest, we know bylaws are critical for organizing your new corporation. That’s why we give our clients free corporate bylaws when they hire us to form their South Dakota corporations. We also give our clients other free business forms and templates for everything from resolutions to meeting minutes. We’ve spent years refining and improving our docs to ensure our clients have exactly what they need. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your South Dakota Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Absolutely. Not only is your EIN required for federal tax filings, but you’ll also need one if you have to apply for a South Dakota Tax License.
To get an EIN, you can download the IRS’s free application from their website. Can’t bear to fill out yet another tedious form? Hire us to get your EIN for you. No extra paperwork necessary—just tick the box that says “EIN service” during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
Open a Bank Account for Your South Dakota Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the South Dakota corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The South Dakota corporation’s bylaws
- The South Dakota 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 South Dakota corporation need a business license?
The Mount Rushmore State doesn’t have a general business license requirement. However, nearly all businesses will need a South Dakota Tax License. The license covers sales, uses, manufacturing and specialty taxes like alcohol and tobacco—basically, if you make or sell anything, you’ll probably need a tax license.
Some cities and counties have additional licensing requirements, typically for specific business activities. For instance, auctioneers and roller rinks require a city business license in Sioux Falls.
File South Dakota Corporation Reports
What is a South Dakota Annual Report?
This report is a form you file each year to update the state on your corporation’s ownership and contact information. The report is $50 if you file online and $65 if you use a paper form. And if you forget to file? There’s a $50 late fee, and your corporation will be considered delinquent. If your business stays delinquent, it will eventually be dissolved.
Avoid these annoying fees and penalties when you hire Northwest. We’ll send you report reminders to help ensure you stay in compliance. You can even hand over this chore to us entirely. For $100 plus state fees, we’ll prepare and file your South Dakota Annual Report.
How much does a corporation in South Dakota cost each year?
At least $50—this is the online filing fee for the South Dakota Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a South Dakota corporation?
If you’re considering a South Dakota corporation, you probably already know South Dakota’s claim to fame as an incredibly tax-friendly state. There’s no corporate income tax. No personal income tax. And unless you’re a financial institution, there’s no corporate franchise taxes either.
Even sales tax is pretty low. The state rate is 4.5%. However, cities can add on their own local sales taxes. In most major cities (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Brookings, etc.), the total sales tax rate is 6.5%.