Business Formation Checklist and Considerations Posted on Dec 01, 2015

 Are you just starting your cleantech business? If so, create a "to-do list" numbered by priority. Some things to put on this business "to-do list" are, as follows: 

1. Determine name availability for chosen company name through an internet search, USPTO database review, and state agency business listings.
2. Determine domain availability for chosen name and purchase domain through a domain provider.
3. Determine whether to organize in California or in another jurisdiction (consider tax, legal, regulatory and other factors).
4. Determine what entity structure to form – limited liability company, C corp, S corp, LLP, PC, etc; and, ensure your chosen company name complies with state law.
5. If desired to reserve company name pending formation, complete and file a name reservation request with state.
6. Draft and sign entity formation documents depending on entity type – articles of incorporation or organization, bylaws or LLC operating agreement, etc.
7. File articles of incorporation or organization with the state.
8. Attend to entity organizational matters, such as first organizational meeting adopting resolutions, minutes, etc.
9. Obtain Employer Identification Number (EIN) via IRS website.
10. Set up business bank accounts (requires corporate formation documents and EIN).
11. Purchase commercial/professional liability insurance.
12. Apply for any necessary licenses and permits (in CA, check CalGold's online database for information regarding specific business license/permit requirements applicable to the specific location and type of business):
    – Registrations for doing business out of state
    – Seller's permit and use tax account 
    – Business licenses
13. If planning to conduct business under a different name, complete and file a Fictitious Business Name Application with registrar/recorder's office of the county in which the entity has its principal place of business.
14. File for trademark or service mark protection, if desired.
15. Attend to tax registrations, including any federal entity classification election and federal and state taxation issues.
16. If in CA, register with California Employment Development Department.
17. Develop business contracts to ensure your business has the relevant contractual protections such as Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) for business discussions for anyone you talk to for partnerships and other formation ideas, Independent Contractor Service Agreements for any independent contractors you hire, Sales Commission Policies or to other Sales Commission Agreements for sales personnel, Subcontractor Agreements, and any other agreements appropriate to your business type.
18. Create a corporate filing/record system.
19. Find and meet with a good C.P.A. for planning purposes well in advance of tax time.
20. On-going compliance issues:
    – Statement of Information
    – Federal and state income tax returns