Individuals interested in running a business for profit or a charitable organization can create a Tennessee corporation. The Tennessee Department of State Division of Business Services provides preexisting forms for incorporation at the state level. Filers can obtain the necessary corporation forms online. They then fill out the forms and send them in with a filing fee to start a Tennessee corporation.
Create a business name for the corporate entity. When starting a corporate business or nonprofit in Tennessee, you must use one of the following corporate identifiers in your business name: Corporation, Co., Corp., Inc., Company or Incorporated.
Open the “Corporation Forms” page on the Tennessee Department of State website at State.tn.us/sos/bus_svc/forms.htm. The Division of Business Services provides preexisting filing forms for both business and nonprofit corporations on this page. Tennessee calls its corporate filing form a “charter.” Click on “Charter” for either for-profit or nonprofit corporations to get to the filing form for your Tennessee business.
Fill out the charter. Keep in mind that these forms are very simple. They provide the bare minimum necessary to create a Tennessee corporation. For example, a corporate entity can have many kinds of rules that affect its structure and day-to-day operations. A Tennessee business attorney can assist you in structuring your business if you have specific needs.
In addition to business structure, nonprofits also can have major problems if failing to create certain provisions in its charter. For example, Publication 557 explains is the federal IRS document that explains how to qualify for tax-exempt status with the IRS. This affects how you must file in Tennessee even though the charter is a state form. Consult with a lawyer or at least look up Publication 557 on the IRS.gov website if you are filing a Tennessee nonprofit.
Prepare the filing fee for your new Tennessee corporation. As of 2010, the Division of Business Services charges $100 for both types of corporate entities.
Send the charter and filing fee to the mailing address below. Call the phone number if you have additional questions:
Tennessee Department of State
312 Eighth Ave. N.
William R. Snodgrass Tower
Nashville, TN 37243
Tennessee Corporate Forms