In the world of business, bylaws usually refer to corporate bylaws, the written rules established to govern a corporation.
Corporate bylaws are not to be confused with a corporation’s Articles of Incorporation, which is the document filed with the state to officially establish a corporation. The Articles of Incorporation cover more basic information while the corporate bylaws detail the specifics of how a corporation is to be run.
When a corporation is formed, those creating the corporation, usually the incorporators or the initial board of directors, write and adopt corporate bylaws to spell out how the corporation will be organized and operated.
Once elected, a corporation’s board of directors will oversee and adhere to the bylaws. The bylaws will usually include rules for making any changes to the bylaws.
Most states require corporations to adopt bylaws, though they usually aren’t required to be filed with any state agency. Once completed, the bylaws should be kept in a safe location along with other important documents for the corporation.
The specific requirements for corporate bylaws can vary from state to state, but they’re usually required to be made available to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or any other government agency that may want to audit the corporation.
Even if adopting corporate bylaws isn’t required in a state, the bylaws still provide important benefits:
The specific items to include in your corporate bylaws will vary depending on your circumstances and your state requirements, but most corporate bylaws cover the following:
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
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