Incorporating your business helps protect you and other shareholders from personal liability. If you want to form a corporation in Tennessee, a Corporate Charter is a piece of legal paperwork you will need to file to incorporate your business before you can begin operations.
Submitting an Application for a Tennessee Corporate Charter
Tennessee Corporate Charters are requested and applied for with the Tennessee Secretary of State – Division of Business Services. The specific form is Charter (ss-4417). If your organization offers licensed professional services, there are additional requirements listed on the form.
Statutory Regulations for Completing and Filing for a Tennessee Corporate Charter
As stated in TN Code § 48-15-101, all Tennessee corporations must have a Tennessee registered office and registered agent located within the state. The agent doesn’t necessarily have to be an employee of your company, but it must be a local person or entity whose address must be listed on the Corporate Charter. The information on the Corporate Charter becomes a matter of public record.
Incorporation in Tennessee also requires each registered business to have a unique legal name. You may also wish to file a Tennessee DBA, which may help if you operate under a name different from the one you registered under.
How to Complete the Tennessee Corporate Charter Form
Tennessee Corporate Charters may be filed in one of three ways:
- Online at Business Entity Registration – Business Services Online
- By mail
Online filing tends to be the easiest and most convenient way for most new business owners. You may also download the form to return it by mail. Foreign (out-of-state) Tennessee incorporation forms are slightly different, and the instructions are, too, so review the differences before proceeding.
Questions on the Tennessee Corporate Charter Form
- The legal name of the corporation. The state offers a name availability search tool that can help you determine if your name is unique. Note that in Tennessee, a corporation must include the designator “corporation,” “incorporated,” “company,” “corp.,” “inc.,” or “co.” in its official name. Our name reservation service can help you reserve your name when you find one that works for your business.
- Name consent, if you’re planning to use a name indistinguishable from that of an existing organization.
- Additional name designation, such as a bank or insurance company.
- Name and complete address of the registered agent, including its Tennessee office location. ZenBusiness offers a registered agent service, which can connect you with a professional to help you keep a handle on incoming legal requests and notices.
- Fiscal year close month, or the month that closes your fiscal year (this doesn’t have to be calendar-based).
- Length of time of the duration of the company. Some companies are formed to only last a set period of time, while others are intended to last for an unspecified time.
- The delayed effective date of the Corporate Charter, if you choose not to file right away.
- Indicate that the corporation is for-profit.
- The number of shares that your company is authorizing to be issued.
- The complete address of the principal office, which will be verified by the U.S. Postal Service.
- The complete mailing address of the corporation, if different from the principal address.
- Name and complete address of each incorporator. The person signing the Corporate Charter must be listed here. If you’re incorporating as a professional service, check this box and enter the licensed professional service that you plan to provide.
There’s a 13th field meant for any other information that you wish to include with this charter. This information is optional but can include, among other things, the initial board of directors or the purpose of the organization.
Supplemental Forms for a Tennessee Corporate Charter
If you’re incorporating a professional service, you may be required to submit any applicable professional licenses. For example, a lawyer may be required to include their license to practice law in Tennessee. Please check on the requirements if your business provides professional services.
Foreign corporations, since they’re already incorporated, only need to ask permission to do business in Tennessee by filing a Certificate of Authority. They must have a Certificate of Good Standing from their own state.
How to Submit a Corporate Charter in Tennessee
After you’ve reviewed and signed the Corporate Charter, it’s time to submit.
There’s a filing fee for this form, regardless of how you file. If you have a specific question, you may call (615) 741-2286. All mailed submissions are to be addressed to the Tennessee Secretary of State at the follo
The state allows filings in one of four ways:
- E-file. Complete the charter and pay online.
- Print and mail. Fill out the form online, then print the completed form and return it and the fee by mail.
- Paper submission of the blank form online. The form may also be obtained via email request or by calling (615) 741-2286. Complete the form, then send it and the filing fee by mail.
- Walk-in. Visit the address above and obtain a blank charter, which you may then fill out and submit with the filing fee in person.
Now that you’ve created your own business, it’s important to keep it in good standing with the state. Try our Worry-Free Compliance service to take some of the stress off.
Filing a Corporate Charter can be complicated, but it does offer your business many benefits. Take a look at our formation plans that can help organizations of any size complete and file their Corporate Charter in Tennessee today.
Tennessee Corporate Charter FAQs
What does it cost to incorporate in Tennessee?
Check the Tennessee Secretary of State website to see the most current information on fees and methods of payment available.
How long does the incorporation process take in Tennessee?
The process can take as little as a day or up to a week or more.
Who processes the Tennessee Corporate Charter?
The Business Services Division of the Tennessee Secretary of State processes Tennessee incorporations.
What Tennessee statute governs the Tennessee Corporate Charter?
The Charter For-Profit Corporation is covered under TN Code § 48-15-101.
Do I need an attorney to file a Tennessee Corporate Charter?
Business law can be complicated, and it’s always best to consult with a lawyer before filing legal business documents. However, it’s not a requirement to file the form.