How to form a C-corporation for Automobiles


If you want to open a car dealership, you will need to form a C-corporation. This is the most common way of doing business in the United States. A C corporation gives you certain tax benefits but also has some drawbacks, so be sure that this type of structure makes sense for your business before forming one.

To begin, you will need to find the website for your state’s Secretary of State. This can be done by searching for “Secretary of State” on Google once on the site and looking for links that lead to information about business filings and other legal issues.

If you need help forming a C-corporation, you can follow the links that say “business” or “file a business,” scroll through the options and find information on how to form a C-corporation.

You can also call your local Secretary of State’s office for assistance

Depending on where you live, the information may be available in a book or CD at your local library.

If neither of these options works for you and hiring an accountant seems like too much work (or if you don’t want to spend any money), there are many online resources that will walk you through everything step by step.

Every state has different requirements and procedures

It’s important to note that every state has slightly different requirements for forming a C-corporation, so it’s important to check your Secretary of State website and find out what you will need, as well as any additional documents they may require. Some examples of the documents you may need to file include:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws or Operating Agreement (if applicable)
  • Certificate of Good Standing

Draft Articles of Incorporation

Once you have decided on how to form your corporation, the next step is to write its articles of incorporation. The articles will set out the purpose of your corporation, list its shareholders and directors, and state how many shares are available. Articles also provide information about any restrictions on ownership or transfer of shares.

The following are some important things to keep in mind when writing articles:

  • Use plain language so that everyone can understand what you are doing. Many states require that corporations use plain English when writing their bylaws or articles (though some allow more technical terms). In addition, your attorney may have specific requirements for drafting certain types of documents such as contracts or leases related to leasing premises where they operate their business activities.
  • Check your state’s forms website to see if you can get the necessary forms online, or if you have to print them and fill them out in person.
  • If you’re filing online, make sure that it’s secure before entering sensitive information like your Social Security number (SSN).
  • You may need more than one form depending on whether you are registering a corporation or amending one already registered. You may also need separate papers for stockholders or members of an LLC who own multiple corporations.

File for a Business license or permit

When you file for a business license, the Secretary of State’s office will require the following:

  • Your proof of identity and residency. This can include a passport, driver’s license or government-issued identification card. Bring two forms of ID if you’re filing as a corporation; one form if you’re filing as an LLC or sole proprietorship.
  • The name(s) and address (es) where your business will be conducting operations in Michigan.
  • A $60 fee (see above). If they don’t accept cash or money order, bring along a checkbook!

Look for your Revenue of Department

Check with your Department of Revenue for any other documents that you must submit to legally sell cars in your state. Make sure you are in compliance with all laws. This is a good time to check in with an accountant and see what additional fees, taxes, or paperwork may be involved.

Obtains an EIN from IRS

You can apply for an EIN by submitting Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) online or by faxing it in to the IRS National Customer Service Center. If you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll also need to get sales tax licenses from your state’s Department of Revenue or Tax Commission office.

Once you have your business plan in place and have filed for incorporation, it’s time to start running your dealership!

  • Start selling cars. You can hire sales staff at the dealership or advertise in local media.
  • Sell cars online. Don’t forget about the internet, either; you should be able to sell cars online as well!

You can legally run a car dealership in most states

To start the process of applying for an EIN and state tax number, contact your Department of Revenue directly by phone to see if they can accept your application over the phone or via mail. If they cannot take these applications over the phone or through the mail, go into their office in person and submit your information there.


To sum up, forming a C-corporation for your car dealership is a process that can take anywhere from one hour to several months. The most important things you need to do are create articles of incorporation and file them with the Secretary of State’s office in your state.

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