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Determine Your Business Structure

Determining the type of business you open is one of the first decisions you will make. Explore different options such as: home-based businesses, online businesses, or franchise businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides in-depth resources to conduct business-type research at

Is a business owned by one person plus spouse and is the simplest form of business structure. The owner is personally responsible for all debts, and profits are taxed as personal income.

Sole Proprietorship

General Partnership

Is a business owned by two or more people. The owners are personally responsible for all debts of the business.

Limited Partnership

Is a business owned by two or more people, with at least one general partner responsible for the operation and liability of the business. Limited partners are not active managers and are not liable for debts of the business.

Limited Liability Partnership

Is a business owned by two or more people and is a relatively new business structure in Arizona. Professional advice concerning this type of business should be obtained from an Arizona attorney or accountant.

Provides owners with the protection of a corporation and the single taxation benefits or a partnership.

Limited Liability Company

Is a business organized under the laws of another state or country and must be registered to conduct business in Arizona.

Foreign Corporation

C Corporation

Is the most complex form of business structure. It is formed by law as a separate entity, distinct from the owners of the business, and has its own rights and responsibilities.

S Corporation

Is not subject to federal corporate income tax. The owners of the business include their shares of the company’s profits and losses as part of their personal income.

Register Your Business Name

Registering a business name in Arizona is a simple process. They type of business structure you choose will determine where and how you must registrar your company name. The three places to register your business name, depending on how your company is organized, are:

    - The Secretary of State's Office

    - Maricopa County Recorder's Office

    - Arizona Corporation Commission 



The Secretary of State's Office issues certificates of business or trade name for a small fee. The Secretary of State's Office is located at: 

14 N. 18th Ave.,

    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    Ph: (602) 542-6187




The Maricopa County Recorder's Office issues a certificate of fictitious name, primarily for "Doing Business As" (DBA) titles. This requires filling out a simple form that can be obtained from a stationery or legal forms store. However, this certificate does not protect the business name under the copyrights law. An attorney can advise you regarding business name and trademark protection. The Maricopa County Recorder's Office is located at:

111 S. Third Ave.

   Phoenix, AZ 85003

   Ph: (602) 506-3535



The Arizona Corporation Commission is where you need to go if plan to establish a corporation or limited Liability company. The Arizona Corporation Commission is located at:

         1300 W. Washington St.

  Phoenix, AZ 85007

   Ph: (602) 542-3135

The Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks provides information about obtaining a federal trademark for your company name if you plan on conductiong business outside the state, information may be obtained by writing the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, by calling (800)786-9199 during normal business hours,


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