Articles of incorporation, also referred to as the certificate of incorporation or the corporate charter, are a document or charter that establishes the existence of a corporation in the United States and Canada. They generally are filed with the Secretary of State in the U.S. State where the company is incorporated, or other company registrar.
The articles of incorporation outline the governance of a corporation along with the corporate bylaws and the corporate statutes in the state where articles of incorporation are filed.
The articles of incorporation typically include the name of the corporation, the type of corporate structure (e.g. profit corporation, nonprofit corporation, benefit corporation, professional corporation), the registered agent, the number of authorized shares, the effective date, the duration (perpetual by default), and the names and signatures of the incorporators.
The state fee to file articles of incorporation to incorporate a profit corporation range from $50 - $300, and to incorporate a nonprofit corporation range from $0 -$125.
Articles of Incorporation are appended to a Certificate of Incorporation and become the legal document that governs the corporation. In Canada, the process of incorporation can be done either at the federal or provincial level. Companies which incorporate with the federal government will generally need to register extra-provincially in the province that they elect to do business. Similarly, a provincial corporation may need to register extra-provincially if they are to have offices outside of their home province. Incorporated Canadian companies can generally use either Corp., Corporation, Inc., Incorporated, Incorporée, Limited, Limitée, Ltd., Ltée, Société par actions de régime fédéral,S.A.R.F, in their name, but this may vary from province to province.