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Incorporating or Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in California

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We've compiled for you here material commonly associated with incorporating or forming an LLC in California. While we strive to maintain correct and current information, we cannot guarantee its accuracy and strongly recommend you verify all considerations and consult with a qualified professional before incorporating or forming an LLC.

One of our biggest states, California is considered a wonderful place to live and a multitude of people have chosen to call it home. The large population means many businesses, often wanting the limited liability protection offered by California corporations and LLC’s. So in spite of the fact that California does not rank well when it comes to having a favorable tax climate for business, it is the home of a large number of corporations and LLC’s.   

While large businesses, operating in several states, might select a “friendlier” state as home state, it may still be best for those doing business primarily in California to form their business there.  California is interested in attracting business and does have a number of business and tax incentives that could be applicable. As usual, consulting with an attorney and/or accountant who is familiar with the specifics of the business being formed is advisable.

Business Structure

  • A California corporation can be formed by one or more incorporators.
  • California has no eligibility requirements for incorporators.
  • Directors can form or change a California corporation’s by-laws.
  • California corporations can limit, or eliminate, a director’s liability.
  • California corporations may have one or more directors provided that if there are 3 or less shareholders, there must be at least as many directors as shareholders.
  • A California corporation is to have a chairman of the board and/or a president, a secretary, a chief financial officer and any other officers as may be designated by the board of directors.
  • One person can hold all of the offices of a California corporation.

Costs & Taxes


  • California does not require that incorporator(s) be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Foreign Qualification

If you are considering forming your corporation or LLC in California but you will not operate there, your company must foreign qualify in each of the other states in which you will be doing business, and your company must have a registered agent in your state of formation as well as each of the states in which you foreign qualify.

IMPORTANT: MaxFilings always advises you to consult with a professional who is familiar with all current laws and regulations that are applicable in your jurisdiction. And always seek the advice of a qualified “accountant”, “tax advisor” or “financial planner” when addressing tax issues. They are not only very complex but they are also subject to interpretation.

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