If you're a business owner, you likely already know a thing or two about the hassle that comes with forming your own company. But you can quickly alleviate most of the stress by turning to one of the business formation services available. Today, let's look at Inc Authority and Incorporate.com to compare them side by side and see which one is best for your business.

Inc Authority vs. Incorporate.com: The Verdict

Incorporate.com is one of the oldest formation services available, with its beginnings hailing from 1899. It's thought that they've helped to form close to 1 million businesses. Inc Authority opened its doors in 1989, so they're also reasonably experienced.

They have a lot of overlap but also key differences too. Inc Authority offers a free LLC service (you pay only state filing fees), making them a popular service option for LLCs. Incorporate.com doesn't provide a free option; however, their pricing starts at a very reasonable $99. Inc Authority isn't so great at forming other business structures and offers no support for partnerships and very little for nonprofits.

Choose Inc Authority if:

  • You want financial services
  • You're setting up an LLC
  • You want a free service

Choose Incorporate.com if:

  • You want enhanced customer service
  • You want to use the oldest company on the market
  • You're setting up a nonprofit

Services Offered & Pricing

Overall, the services offered are similar though there are key differences. Both can provide you with everything you need to form a limited liability company, and they can also act as a registered agent service. Inc Authority is more focused on the financial/tax side of the business and can help you arrange a business bank account.

On the other hand, Incorporate.com offers mail forwarding service and entity conversions, neither of which Inc Authority provides. Incorporate.com can help you set up a nonprofit or partnership.

Key Similarities

  • Pricing is transparent
  • Similar services such as registered agent service are available
  • Overall affordability is excellent with both

Key Differences

  • Incorporate.com can cater to nonprofits and partnerships; Inc Authority can't
  • Inc Authority offers a free service (state fee only)
  • Incorporate.com has been in business for over 100 years

Inc Authority Packages & Pricing

Free Package - $0 + state fees

Here are the benefits that come with Inc Authority's free tier:

  • Business name availability search: Inc Authority searches to ensure your chosen business name is available for use in your state
  • Articles of organization preparation and filing: This step has the Inc Authority prepare your formation documents and paperwork and submit them to your state
  • A registered agent for one year: Inc Authority will act as your company's registered agent for one year, notifying you of upcoming filings
  • S corporation form: If you file as an S corporation, Inc Authority will file the appropriate paperwork

The free tier also offers third-party access to the following benefits:

  • Business funding analysis: You can get preapproved for between $50,000 and $150,000 in minutes through a third party
  • Tax planning: One hour of live meeting time with a tax expert about deadlines, deductions, inventory, and other questions
  • Business checking account: Inc Authority partners with Bank of America to offer a free business checking account

Starter Package - $399 + state fees

Here's what you'll get with the company's Starter package. It includes everything from the free tier, plus:

  • Operating agreement and bylaws: Each member receives fully drawn-up operating agreements and bylaws or their company
  • Record book and company seal: This is a collection of the company's most important documents, along with a corporate seal
  • Initial meeting minutes: Meeting minute forms for conducting business meetings
  • Ownership certificates: All owners are given a copy of the official paperwork for their business
  • Tax ID Number (EIN): Inc Authority charges $49 for an EIN, but you can get one free through the IRS
  • Evaluation for business credit and funding: Inc Authority will help you find the best sources for startup capital with its business credit coach
  • Success advisor: Inc Authority will give you access to one of its success advisors for one year

Executive Package - $499 + state fees

Inc Authority's Executive tier continues to build on the previous tiers, including:

  • Business license report: This benefit gives you access to Inc Authority's license search software, which tells you exactly which documentation you'll need for your business
  • Website domain: Inc Authority will help you secure a domain for your company website

Tycoon Package - $799 + state fees

Finally, Inc Authority's highest tier is the Tycoon package, which is primarily focused on helping to build business credit. It includes:

  • Express processing lets you and your company jump to the front of the paperwork processing line
  • BizCredit Express: You have multiple ways to help your business build credit
  • Credit coach for businesses: This feature gives you access to a credit coach for 90 days
  • Business Credit LaunchPad: Inc Authority's credit-building software guides new businesses
  • Registration with D&B Credit Bureau: Dun & Bradstreet, a top credit bureau, will give you an initial credit report

Incorporate.com Packages & Pricing

Starter Package - $99 (Plus State Fee)

The cheapest option you can find with Incorporate.com is $99 a year. This price may seem like a bargain, but you may change your mind once you see what you get. Again, you have to pay extra for a registered agent.

  • Prep and file articles of organization - The articles of organization are the documents that officially register an LLC in your state. With this package, Incorporate.com creates and files your completed forms for you
  • Business Name Availability Search: Incorporate.com will also complete a name search in the official state databases to ensure your chosen LLC name is available
  • Documents Available Online: With this package, you'll also get access to an online portal, where all of your LLC documents are safely stored for easy viewing

Essentials package - $249 (Plus State Fee)

With the Essentials package, you get the features of the Starter package, plus these additions:

  • EIN (Federal Tax ID Number): An EIN (Employer identification number) works like a social security number. You can use this number to pay your business taxes, open bank accounts, hire employees, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS, but Incorporate.com does the work for you with the Essentials package
  • Seal and LLC Kit: This feature is more of a novelty than an actual business necessity. You'll receive a binder with a customized decorative seal and your company name printed on the front

The Works - $349 (Plus State Fee)

For the price of $349, you can get the works, which includes all of the options above of the two previous packages, plus:

  • Research Package for Business License: Incorporate.com identifies the required tax registrations, permits, and licenses you will need for your LLC. They supply you with the necessary applications and provide instructions for filling these out and filing them
  • Operation Agreement: Your operating agreement outlines the company's own infrastructure and operational procedures. With this package, Incorporate.com will create a draft for your business

Document Management & Online Experience

Both Incorporate.com and Inc Authority offers a secure online dashboard that will let you view and manage your legal documents, keep up with renewal dates, and track reports. Inc Authority is easier to navigate, but Incorporate.com offers more notifications and alerts. It's easy to sign up. However, you have to pay for this.

Key Similarities

  • An easy-to-use, secure management system
  • You can download all of your documents easily

Key Differences

  • Some of incorporates best features are behind a paywall

Processing Time

The turnaround time for both Inc Authority and Incorporate.com is based heavily on state guidelines; paperwork processing varies based on your location. Both offer expedited processing for an extra fee; Inc Authority's fee for this is $49. Incorporate.com's fee varies.

Key Similarities

  •  The processing times are based on state guidelines

Key Differences

  • Inc Authority's fee is cheaper/more transparent

Compliance & Track Record

Inc Authority has 4.8 stars on TrustPilot, out of almost 5,000 customer reviews. Incorporate.com has only a handful of reviews online. With that said, they do have an A+ with the better business bureau. Inc Authority isn't yet accredited with the BBB. Inc Authority lacks an annual report filing service, meaning that you must keep track of when any reports or documents are due each year. Incorporate.com can notify you about this.

Key Similarities

  • There have been no significant compliance issues

Key Differences

  • Incorporate.com doesn't have as much of an online presence as Inc Authority
  • Incorporate.com can help you remain compliant with notifications

Customer Service

The customer support offered by Incorporate.com is more thorough than Inc Authority. Incorporate.com promises a response within ''one business day'' and offers extended customer support availability. Their customer service line is open from 8 am to 8 pm, vs. Inc Authority which is only available from 9-6 pm.

Key Similarities

  • Knowledgeable and friendly customer support via phone and email

Key Differences

  • Incorporate.com's team is available for longer than Inc Authority
  • Inc Authority isn't BBB accredited

Structure Breakdown

Each service provider has its benefits; now let's compare the available business structures and see which is more effective for each formation type.

LLCs: Inc Authority

Business owners should always consider Inc Authority for their new LLC; they are one of the best LLC services available, offering free LLC formation packages. They have a wealth of experience in setting up LLC's with 96% of their customers being LLC-based. You can also use their additional services, such as tax assistance and accounting.

Corporations: Toss Up

Incorporation allows for greater flexibility for corporations than Inc Authority (which caters primarily to S-Corps and has been known to encourage customers to set up an LLC). However, if you set up a corporation with Inc Authority, they offer free additional services like S-corporation tax filing.

Partnerships: Incorporate.com

Incorporate.com supports partnerships and DBA startups, and Inc Authority doesn't give you this option, meaning that Incorporate.com wins by default. However, partnerships aren't always recommended as each business owner reports their income and losses on their taxes. This means that claims can occur against the business or the company owner's assets.

Non-Profits: Incorporate.com

While some Inc Authority reviews say they've provided some assistance in this area, the Inc Authority advises that they don't cater to nonprofits. Incorporate.com does, and there are many benefits to this structure. Managing a nonprofit allows you to become eligible for limited liability, grants, and other benefits.

The Last Word

Both incorporation service providers can help you set up your new business entity. Inc Authority is great for LLC formation services, and Incorporate.com is ideal for Nonprofits. Inc Authority wins in terms of costs and convenience, but Incorporate.com has more thorough customer service and a more longstanding reputation; with that said, both have years of experience in helping customers like you. However, both offer excellent service, and you can be assured that they can help you, whether you're a small business owner, entrepreneur, or corporate owner.

Filed under: Head-to-Head

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