Setting up a corporation for yourself sounds fraught with complication, in the I-don't-even-want-to-deal-with-it-let's-just-forget-this-whole-thing kind of way. But once I started looking into it, it was really remarkably easy.
- Step One: I searched for, and found, a good URL.
One good way to find a URL is to use a resource a friend turned me onto: Bustaname.com. You can put in a big ol' list of words, and it will tell you which combos are available. I myself landed on SimpleMystery.com.
- Step Two: I reserved a name with the Georgia Secretary of State.
- Step Three: I filed the corporation.
I also had to declare the number of shares the company was authorized to issue. Mark said 10 million was a typical number, so that's what I put down. Georgia doesn't keep records of who the shares belong to; only the corporation does. So at some point I will need to just type up a letter issuing the shares to myself and stick it in the file.
- Step Four: I filed my annual registration.
- Step Five: I published my intent to incorporate.
- Step Six: I applied for an EIN from the IRS.
Like the others, this form took just about fifteen minutes to fill out. The only minor hiccup was that it would accept no special characters in the name of the business, which means that Georgia thinks I'm operating as "Simple Mystery, Inc." and the IRS thinks I'm operating as "Simple Mystery Inc". This doesn't seem like the sort of thing that could possibly cause any confusion, but as I said, we are dealing with the feds. So, I am moderately concerned.
- Step Seven: I elected to have my company taxed as an S Corp.
This form needed to be filed within two months and fifteen days of the day I incorporated. Oddly enough, the long deadline makes it the easiest step to forget; most of the Georgia stuff needed to happen in one fell swoop.
- Total Cost of Incorporation: $205
So there, in a nutshell, you have the beginnings of my journey into the wonderful world of incorporated business. It was fairly easy, and reasonably cheap. I've got no guarantee of making that money back through tax incentives, but it's possible. And either way, owning my own company is a thrilling feeling. It's like I'm a grown up or something.