The business formation process can be tricky, time-consuming, costly, and difficult to remedy. To save time and money, it's a good idea to look to official incorporation services.
These service providers can file paperwork on your behalf. There are several business formation services available.
Today, Harbor Compliance and IncFile will be compared side by side to help you decide which is best for your business.
Harbor Compliance vs. IncFile: The Verdict
Though there is some overlap between these two, there are key differences. IncFile is incredibly cheap compared to harbor compliance but doesn't offer the same level of compliance or support. The harbor compliance team offers the best LLC services, a user-friendly web experience, and dedicated customer support.
Comparatively, IncFile can help you start your new LLC, but you may not be so happy with their service as despite all that the company offers, their online presence is plagued with negative reviews.
Choose Harbor Compliance if:
- You're forming a partnership
- You want a dedicated compliance specialist and account manager
- You want one of the best-rated customer support teams on your side
Choose IncFile if:
- You want a service that's been around a while
- You want a less expensive option
- You need financial services
Services Offered & Pricing
- Free registered agent service
- Annual reports filed on your behalf
- Multiple packages at varying price points
- Harbour Compliance is more expensive than IncFile, known for its low prices
- IncFile offers a trademarking service
- Harbor Compliance offers more transparent pricing
IncFile Packages & Pricing
IncFile provides many services to help new and existing businesses. While they can help with business formation, they can also help you manage the legal side of your company after. Here are some of the services they offer and the pricing you can find on the website.
Business Formation - price varies
When forming an LLC or corporation, the cost varies by state. Kentucky is the cheapest state where you can form an LLC. However, Massachusetts is much more expensive, standing at $250.
To form a C-Corp or S-Corp, the cheapest states (Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa) charge $50. The cost is the same in most states, though Rhode Island and West Virginia charge more for an S-Corp. Nevada is the most expensive state for both structures, where it costs $725.
Forming a nonprofit can cost as little as $8 in Kentucky or $237 in Alabama. No matter which structure you choose, IncFile charges $0 to $299 more, depending on the services you need.
Accounting - price varies
You can also use IncFile to obtain an employer identification number (EIN), which costs $70. The company also offers accounting services, including:
- Consultation call
- Quarterly bookkeeping
- Mobile account access
- Tax return preparation
IncFile doesn't list prices on their website, but you can schedule a free consultation call. Then, you can see if your business will benefit from IncFile accounting services.
Compliance - price varies
IncFile can also help you get a Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State. The certificate can show that you're following the laws when running your business. Both the certificate and the annual report are free.
If your business needs licenses, IncFile can help you obtain what you need. You can purchase a business license research package for $99. And if you need a trademark, IncFile can help you get one for $199 plus the cost of the federal filing fee.
Registered Agent Service - price varies
If you want help with your legal documents, you should hire a Registered Agent. Fortunately, IncFile offers this to all new businesses, and as a standalone service you can purchase.
When you file for an LLC or corporation, you can get the first year of a Registered Agent for free. After that, the service costs $119 for each full year. IncFile will also help you change your Registered Agent if you had one before.
Changing your Registered Agent is essential so that you can avoid fines and license revocation. Since IncFile offers this service when you purchase their Registered Agent service, you don't have to pay extra.
Harbor Compliance Packages & Pricing
Formation Package - $399 + state fees
The Formation package is limited to entity formation requirements. This package includes:
- Filing Articles of Organization - Draft and file forms submitted to the state to create a business entity officially
- Name Availability Search - Ensure your name is available by searching your state database
- Registered Agent Service - Free year of mail forwarding via a registered agent who receives important deliveries from the government for you and sends your way
- Federal Tax ID Number - Set up what's similar to a SS number for your business, used to file taxes, open bank accounts, and hire employees
- Sample Operating Agreement - Template to outline ownership structure and operation guidelines that you can fill in on your own
The Formation package costs $399 plus your state fee
Compliance Package - $799 + state fees
The Compliance package provides the full suite of Harbor Compliance services. This package includes everything from the Formation package in addition to:
- Managed Annual Report Service - Manage due dates and file annual reports to the state on your behalf
- Initial Report - Some states require an initial report after filing – Harbor Compliance can determine if it's necessary and handle it for you
- Publishing - Some states have a publishing requirement of public proof of their business formation in a local newspaper, which Harbor Compliance can handle if required
- LLC Kit - Custom company binder with your brand name embossed along with a symbolic seal white-labeled with your company name, state, and date of creation
- S-Corp and C-Corp Tax Election - Prepare and file necessary IRS forms for tax election if you choose to be taxed as a corporation
- Ongoing Support - Ongoing access to Harbor Compliance's customer support even after entity formation
The Compliance package costs $799 plus your state fee.
Document Management & Online Experience
Harbor Compliance has a wealth of software to assist you, such as the Tax Manager, License Manager, Records Manager, and entity Manager, making it easy to log into your portal and access records and documents whenever needed.
Once you set up an account with IncFile, you can use their custom dashboard to access everything you need. The company will send you a notification when your documents are ready to view, so you can download them and store them with your other files.
Their dashboard also works with their other products and services. If you need help with accounting or a Registered Agent, you can manage it all in the dashboard.
- Intuitive, easy to use software and dashboard
- Online document management
- Harbor Compliance offers a 100% success rate in getting 501 (c)(3) certified
- Harbor Compliance also offers additional security
Harbor Compliance specialists are made available to all customers within one day; their goal is to submit the information for filing as quickly as possible. But the state you live in can cause delays. Both IncFile and Harbour Compliance are committed to submitting an error-free application as soon as possible.
- An expert, fast filing process
- Harbour Compliance doesn't seem to offer expedited processing for an additional fee
Compliance & Track Record
This is one area where they differ considerably, Harbor Compliance has glowing customer reviews online, and it was difficult to find any negative feedback to examine. On the other hand, IncFile had several poor communication or documents not being received promptly. Due to these complaints, IncFile has lost its BBB accreditation.
- Thousands of customers and several years in business
- IncFile has a somewhat concerning reputation that includes the loss of its BBB accreditation
Harbour Compliances' most significant selling point is its premium customer service. From entrepreneurs and small business owners to big corporate giants, every customer is allocated a personal manager to provide dedicated 1-1 customer service. This is a big selling point and features heavily in customer feedback (mostly positive reviews).
Despite IncFiles' reputation with the better business bureau, IncFile has tried to turn over a new leaf by doubling its customer service team size and opening a live chat channel that will allow you to access advice faster.
- It's easy to get ahold of a customer service representative
- Harbour Compliance offers a premium customer service experience, including a dedicated account manager
- IncFile lost their BBB accreditation
Both Harbor Compliance and IncFile can offer you an LLC formation service.
They can offer assistance with the following:
- Articles of organization
- Operating agreement
- State and local tax IDs
- Local business licenses
Both S and C corporations are not technically legal structures. Instead, they refer to two different tax elections that LLCs or corporations can make. These are entities expected to make substantial revenue immediately or involve complex ownership.
C-corps can have unlimited shareholders, while S-corps is limited to 100 shareholders – both can have a single owner.
If you're starting a corporation, Harbor Compliance and IncFile can help by offering:
- Articles of Incorporation
- State and local tax IDs
- Local business licenses
IncFile doesn't offer any support for partnership formation.
A general partnership (GP) or limited partnership (LP) is a business owned by two or more people. In GPs, all parties are operators and owners with rights proportional to the percentage of ownership. In LPs, one general partner has unlimited liability and must manage the business while the others act merely as silent investors. Things like profit sharing and management are covered in a Partnership Agreement.
Partnerships are a good fit for the services offered by Harbor Compliance. They can help you get set up by:
- Filing in the state where required
- Setting up a partnership agreement
- Creating EIN
- Handling state and local taxes and licenses
A nonprofit organization (NPO) is also known as a non-business entity, nonprofit institution, or not-for-profit organization. To qualify for this status, your business must meet tax-exempt status from the IRS and have a mission that provides a public benefit and furthers a social cause.
Even though nonprofits are non-business entities, they can still get help from Harbor Compliance. Harbour Compliance has a 100% approval rate.
The Last Word
Both Harbor Compliance and IncFile are great formation companies that can help your startup meet compliance requirements. There are many add ons, and customer service is easy to access during business hours. However, Harbor Compliance wins over IncFile in reputation, turnaround times, and customer compliance. But IncFiles' low prices may tempt you to give them a chance.