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South Dakota Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in South Dakota

To start a South Dakota corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and pay a $150 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your South Dakota corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in South Dakota are as follows:

  1. File South Dakota Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay the South Dakota Secretary of State $150
  3. Wait to receive your Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create South Dakota corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a South Dakota corporate bank account
  7. Register with the South Dakota Department of Revenue
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South Dakota Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File South Dakota Articles of Incorporation

To form a South Dakota corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide how many shares to authorize
Step 3 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 4 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 5 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 6 File online and pay $150 with a credit card (fastest) or mail to the Secretary of State Office at 500 E Capitol Ave, Pierre SD 57501 with a check for $165

How Long Does it Take to Start a South Dakota Corporation?


Fastest: 1 Day

If you file online, your Articles are processed immediately and you can print out your approval Certificate right away.


Almost Fastest (and some might say better): 1 Day

Rather not click through 12 screens of confusing business questions asking about incorporators, beneficial owners and recipient addresses? Hire Northwest. Just answer a few easy questions about your business, sit back, and let our Corporate Guides do the rest.


Last Resort: 3-5 Days

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.

What is the Cost of 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 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.

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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.

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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%.

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a South Dakota Corporation?

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.

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South Dakota Corporation Versus South Dakota LLC:

State taxes and fees are pretty much the same for South Dakota corporations and LLCs. Each entity operates a bit differently though. Corporations are often beneficial for large businesses or those that hope to scale quickly. Corporations have a familiar, formal structure, and their stocks have a lot of flexibility, making large businesses a bit easier to manage (and fund). LLCs are often preferred for small businesses that value simplicity. Considering an LLC? We can help. Here’s information on starting an LLC in South Dakota.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a South Dakota Corporation?

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.

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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.

Does a South Dakota Corporation 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.

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.

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.

South Dakota Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

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.

Authorized Shares

List the number of shares you’re creating. You must create at least one share.

Principal Office Address

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.

Principal Office Phone and Email

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.

Registered Agent

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.

Registered Office

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.

South Dakota Incorporator

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.

Online Optional Sections

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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®