We investigated the best online incorporation services available to create a list of our top five. The best online incorporation service for most people is ZenBusiness. The service has quick turnaround times, lifetime customer support, and it can incorporate several types of business entities. Forming an LLC or corporation starts at $49 plus state fees.
The Best Online Incorporation Service for Most
ZenBusiness is the best online incorporation service for most because of its range of entity types, expert service, and quick turnaround time. The service can incorporate limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, sole proprietorships, and doing business as (DBAs). Once you register, its service team will help you throughout the life of your business, and it has a filing turnaround time as low as a few days.
The Best Online Incorporation Service Options to Consider
- ZenBusiness – Best for Most
- Incfile – Best Range of Incorporation Services
- LegalZoom – Best for Legal Advice
- BizFilings – Best for C Corporations
- Inc Authority – Best for Bypassing Fees
When It Makes Sense to Invest In an Online Incorporation Service
Business owners should invest in an online incorporation service when they’re ready for improved credibility, the opportunity for limited liability, and a better chance for funding and securing licenses.
Businesses that are incorporated have better credibility with clients, prospects, and other businesses. People are more likely to do business with a company that has an “LLC” or “Inc.” following its name.
If you want to partner with another business, it can help tremendously to be a fully registered business. This shows others that you run a professional business, not a side hustle or hobby. If you want to be taken more seriously, incorporate your business.
When business owners register their company as an LLC or corporation, they put liability onto their business instead of themselves. If the company goes into debt or experiences a lawsuit, owners are only responsible for the amount they invested in the business.
If someone fails to register their business and experiences a costly lawsuit, they are at risk of losing personal assets like their car or house. If you’re registering as a sole proprietorship, you will still assume personal liability for your business.
Finally, banks and other lenders are more likely to let companies borrow money if they’re incorporated. It can also be required for certain permits and licenses. If you want a better chance of receiving external financing or need a license or permit to run your business, it’s time to invest in an incorporation service.
#1 – ZenBusiness — The Best for Most
ZenBusiness is the top online incorporation service for most companies. Its expert service team helps members for the life of their business. It uses technology to get your company formed as quickly as possible. It also charges a low cost for filing and returning business documents. The service has been trusted by companies like The New York Times and Yahoo Finance.
The service has a five-step process for getting started. First, users will select a filing package and can add on business services like worry-free compliance, registered agent, employee identification number (EIN), and expedited filing speed. Next, ZenBusiness will file paperwork with the appropriate state.
Next, the state will confirm a business after a few days or weeks based on the speed on their end and the package users selected. After confirmation, business documents are sent to the user’s personalized dashboard.
The dashboard lets users do things like manage domain names, receive state compliance notifications, and store formation documents. Finally, ZenBusiness makes sure to provide ongoing service to ensure no problems arise.
ZenBusiness can help people with LLCs, corporations, sole proprietorships, DBAs, or registered agents.
ZenBusiness offers three standard pricing plans. The Starter plan costs $49 per year plus state filing fees. At the end of the first year, it will renew with annual report services for $119 per year. This plan includes annual report services, prepare and file LLC, standard filing speed, an operating agreement template, and a 100% accuracy guarantee.
ZenBusiness Pro costs $199 per year plus state filing fees. It includes expedited filing speed, worry-free compliance, employer ID number (EIN), and a banking resolution template.
ZenBusiness Premium costs $299 per year plus state filing fees. This plan comes with rush filing speed, domain name privacy, a business email address, and a business domain name and website.
The service also has unique add-ons for additional annual payments. Users can add a business formation service, registered agent service, and faster filing speeds if they aren’t included in their existing plan.
#2 – Incfile — The Best for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
Best Range of Incorporation Services
Incfile can register 10 different LLC types. It’s trusted by over 500,000 businesses, and it can also register C corps, S corps, and nonprofits. The service automatically files annual reports and includes continuing services like bookkeeping and banking.
Incfile has helped over half a million people register their businesses. In addition to LLCs, the service also helps businesses register as C corporations, S corporations, and nonprofits. It also has continuing services like bookkeeping and banking for use after registration.
According to Incfile, an LLC is the right business structure for more than 80% of small businesses. If you’re not sure whether an LLC is right for you, Incfile has a helpful guide on its website to help you decide. By registering an LLC with Incfile, users benefit from limited liability protection, versatile tax statuses, minimal compliance requirements, and more.
In many states, LLCs are required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State. With Incfile, users can determine if this is required of their business, and they can have Incfile submit annual reports automatically.
Incfile can register the following LLC types:
- Domestic LLCs
- Foreign LLCs
- Member-managed LLCs
- Manager-managed LLCs
- Single-member LLCs
- Multiple-member LLCs
- Series LLCs
- Restricted LLCs
- Anonymous LLCs
Incfile offers three plans and pricing varies depending on the entity type and the state of formation. Unlike ZenBusiness, Incfile plans only require a one-time payment.
The Silver plan is the most affordable, and it includes unlimited name searches, Articles of Organization preparation and filing, and free registered agent service for one year. The package itself is free, but users must pay whatever their state filing fees amount to.
Incfile Gold costs $149 plus the states fee for registering the entity type. It includes a business tax consultation, a business banking account, unlimited email and phone support, lifetime company alerts, online access dashboard, banking resolution, corporation bylaws, an IRS Form 2553, and an EIN business tax number.
Incfile Platinum costs $299 plus state fees for registering your entity type. It includes everything in the Silver and Gold plans plus business contract templates, expedited filing, a business email, and a domain name.
#3 – LegalZoom — The Best for Legal Advice
Best for Legal Advice
LegalZoom has a network of attorneys for legal advice under $40 per month. Receive a refund if you aren’t satisfied within the first 60 days. The service helps with trademark registration, annual report filing, business licenses, state and federal tax IDs, and more.
If you need an online incorporation service that can help with legal advice, go with LegalZoom. LegalZoom can help you form an LLC, corporation, DBA, nonprofit, or sole proprietorship. It has provided over 650,000 consultations and helped more than two million people register their businesses.
What makes LegalZoom different is its network of tax experts and attorneys. For less than $40 per month, users can sign up for a membership that includes legal support.
When registering a new business, a LegalZoom attorney help with the following:
- Answer tax filing questions
- Give advice on privacy policies and terms and conditions
- Help set up a business website
- Determine necessary permits and licenses
- Review formation documents
- Decide on the right formation type
LegalZoom covers all 50 states, charges flat-rate fees, and guarantees a fee refund within the first 60 days if requested.
When a user is getting set up, this service can help with entity name reservations, federal tax IDs (EIN), state tax IDs, seller’s permits, business licenses, and 501(c)(3) applications.
It includes annual reports, a compliance calendar, a minutes manager, and registered agent services to help users stay compliant.
Once you’re ready to grow your business, LegalZoom can assist with a business advisory plan, trademark search, trademark registration, and legal agreements.
To start an LLC, LegalZoom charges a rate starting at $79 plus state filing fees. For corporation registration, plans start at $149 plus state filing fees. Nonprofit and DBA registration plans start at $99 plus state filing fees.
#4 – BizFilings — The Best for C Corporations
Best for C Corporations
BizFilings users can incorporate their business online or over the phone in three easy steps. Use its Incorporation Wizard and Business Type Comparison Chart to determine which entity is right for you. There are no hidden fees, and packages can be customized with add-ons.
Like Incfile, BizFilings is trusted by over 500,000 businesses. It’s the best option if you need to form a C corporation, and it also can be used for S corps, LLCs, DBAs, nonprofits, and registered agents. BizFilings provides a business type comparison chart and incorporation wizard to help you decide which entity is right for you.
Users can incorporate their C corp business with three easy steps. First, the user needs to pick and customize a BizFilings C corp package. Next, users will complete an online order process. Finally, users will receive their C corp incorporation documents.
BizFilings warranties its services against pricing defects, and it carefully reviews every order for errors. Users can start the process by phone or online and there are no hidden fees. Once your C corp is formed, BizFilings experts will support you through the life of your company. It also partners with Wolters Kluwer for legal service needs.
All C corp packages include incorporation specialist email and chat support, six months of free registered agent service, automatic C corporation document preparation and filing, and C corp business name verification. It also comes with BizComply, a document library and 24/7 business monitoring tool.
BizFilings offers three packages, and pricing varies depending on your entity type and state of formation. All plans have optional add-ons and can be customized depending on your needs.
The Basic plan includes BizFilings’ standard features, and it’s the most affordable option. BizFilings Standard costs more and includes a compliance kit and customizable corporate forms. BizFilings Complete is the most expensive plan, and it comes with a federal tax ID obtainment service, a certified copy of state-filed documents, and overnight shipping.
#5 – Inc Authority — The Best for Bypassing Fees
Best for C Corporations
Using Inc Authority’s service is 100% free. You only have to pay the required state fees. Users receive one year of registered agent services, automatic business document preparation and filing, and a tax planning consultation. The service can be used for LLCs and corporations.
If you want to skip the service fees and only pay what your state requires, Inc Authority is the best option for you. Inc Authority can incorporate LLCs and corporations and using its service is free. All you need to do is choose your state, enter your business name, and form your company by paying state registration fees.
Inc Authority users benefit from one year of registered agent services, automatic entity formation document preparation and submission, and phone and email support. This service provides a tax planning consultation to save business income. Users also have access to a business credit and funding expert for help with financing needs.
The service can check business names within a user’s state, prepare and file S-Election Form 2553s, and digitally store business documents in the user’s online client portal. Inc Authority partners with companies like PayPal, Bank of America, GoDaddy, ADP, and Intuit QuickBooks to serve its clients. Users can sign up for Inc Authority in only two to three minutes.
Methodology for Choosing the Best Online Incorporation Service
When choosing the best online incorporation service for you, make sure it includes your entity type, has a favorable fee structure, and that it comes with legal services if needed.
Before you choose an online incorporation service, you need to decide which type of business entity to form. Common types include LLCs, S and C corporations, sole proprietorships, nonprofits, and DBAs. There are pros and cons of each type, so make sure you take both into consideration when making your decision.
If you need help deciding, most services include a chart or guide on their website to help you out. For example, BizFilings comes with an Incorporation Wizard that asks you questions and helps you decide. If you use a service like LegalZoom, you can speak to a licensed attorney about which entity is the best fit.
Once you’ve picked an entity, make sure the online incorporation service can register it. While most can handle LLCs and corporations, not all of them can incorporate sole proprietorships, nonprofits, and DBAs. Also, make sure you pay attention to the pricing for each. One service may have a great deal for LLCs but an overpriced service for registering corporations.
Next, it’s time to determine the fee structure of the incorporation service you’re looking into. Some services charge different prices for different entity types, while some stay at the same price for each. It can save big costs to go with a service like Inc Authority, which only charges you the amount the state requires. Some services require an annual fee, while others only require a one-time payment. Make sure to read each service’s pricing page carefully.
If you have experience incorporating businesses or already have a business attorney, this criterion isn’t relevant for you. However, it can be important to opt for a service that provides legal advice if you have a ton of questions. An attorney can help you pick the right entity type, answer tax-related questions, review formation documents, and secure permits and licenses.
Most business owners looking for an online incorporation service should go with ZenBusiness. If you need to register an LLC specifically, Incfile is the best service. LegalZoom is for business owners who’d like an attorney to talk them through the process, and Bizfilings is the best for registering C corporations.
If you want to skip the service fees and only pay what your state requires, sign up for Inc Authority. Before you choose a service, make sure to consider the entity types served, the service’s fee structure, and legal service options if you need them.