California Secretary of State Changes Articles of Incorporation Requirements

There are new requirements regarding what must be included in articles of incorporation filed with the California Secretary of State. Starting January 1, 2013, all articles of incorporation filed with the California Secretary of State must include the corporation's street address and mailing address in the articles. If an individual person is listed as the agent for service of process, you must include the agent’s California street address. All corporate agents filing a certificate must include the California street address where process may be served. You can not have a post office box address for an agent for service of process on any document.

Any formation or registration documents, including articles of incorporation, must comply with these new rules or the document will be rejected by the Secretary of State's office.

In addition, any requests by a corporation for a future file date must be included in the document submitted or as an attachment to that document. All foreign corporations filing registration documents must include the street address of their principal business office in California, if they have one.

There are also new fees and policies for receiving copies and certified copies of documents from the Secretary of State’s office. Under the new rules, anyone who pays a filing fee of $25 or more will receive one free uncertified copy of the document and, if the request is made at the time of filing, you can have the free copy certified by paying a $5 certification fee. Anyone who wants additional copies of their documents must pay $1 for the first page and $.50 for each additional page and a $5 certification fee for each certified copy.

For more information on these new requirements, see Changes to California Business Entity Filings on the California Secretary of State’s website under Business Programs, News & Notices. Check the California Secretary of State's website for new sample articles of incorporation forms after January 1, 2013.

For other updates on California Secretary of State articles of incorporation, see Nolo's book, How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in California.