After completing your company formation process, you can activate your U.S. Stripe payments account. When it’s activated, you’ll need to add your bank account to your Stripe Dashboard, and then you can start processing live payments. You can read more about Stripe payments here.
Business bank account
Stripe Atlas founders have the option of opening a business bank account with one of our partners after forming a company. Our banking partners determine supportability for opening a bank account and may not be able to support all businesses.
You can read more about adding your bank account to your Stripe Dashboard.
After you complete company formation, you’ll have the option to open a bank account at Mercury Bank. Both C Corps and LLCs are eligible to apply for Mercury accounts. Current residents of some countries may not be eligible for Mercury accounts (you may still be eligible if you are a citizen but not a current resident). For additional details see Mercury’s FAQ.
When you apply for a Mercury business bank account, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- A description of your business and link to your website (if available)
- Filed formation/incorporation documents from the state of Delaware (accessible on the Stripe Dashboard)
- Your IRS-issued EIN document (form CP575, form 147c, completed SS-4, or a screenshot of your EIN number confirmation from the IRS’s website)
- International passport or U.S. government ID for each founder or majority owner (more than 25%) of the company
- Residential address (does not have to be in the US) of each beneficial owner of the company
- Email address for each beneficial owner of the company
- U.S. Social Security Number for each beneficial owner of the company (if applicable)
- Phone number of each beneficial owner of the company
Mercury Debit card
Stripe Atlas users are also eligible to receive a debit card linked to their Mercury account. If you opt in for debit cards when you complete your Mercury application, you’ll receive your debit card as soon as your Mercury bank account is opened.
If you live outside the U.S. and you want to apply for a Mercury debit card, enter your registered agent’s address (available on your Articles of Incorporation/Formation) as the shipping address for your debit card during the Mercury application process.
Mercury’s debit cards are part of the Moneypass ATM network, which you can use fee-free for withdrawals. You can find a list of Moneypass ATM locations here. You can also use your Mercury debit card at any non-Moneypass ATM, but you’ll need to pay fees of the ATM operator.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)
After you complete company formation, you’ll have the option to open a bank account at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
During the application process, you’ll be prompted to select administrators for your SVB account. After you open the bank account, the administrators receive a temporary password to log in online.
You can link your SVB account to your Stripe account to have Stripe payments automatically deposited. As soon as your business banking account and Stripe payment accounts are open, you can begin accepting live payments.
SVB Debit card
Stripe Atlas users are also eligible to receive a debit card linked to their SVB account. However, debit cards aren’t available to cardholders living in India, per Reserve Bank of India restrictions. If you opt in for debit cards when you complete the application, you’ll receive an email from SVB after you receive your EIN, with instructions on how to complete your debit card application.
For details, visit SVB’s website.
The Stripe Atlas Community
Stripe Atlas members join the Stripe Atlas Community, a global community of entrepreneurs and experts. Atlas members can connect with founders, learn from experts, and get practical advice.
You’ll get access to the community after your representatives electronically sign the Stripe Atlas onboarding documents. After you’re granted access, use your Stripe account details to log in.
If you have co-founders, you can grant them access to the Stripe Atlas Community by making them administrators of your Stripe account.
Stripe Atlas users have access to legal guides and to a tax guide, accessible on the Stripe Dashboard.
We also encourage you to read and refer to our Stripe Atlas guides—primers explaining accounting, taxes, employment, and more.
Stripe Atlas partner benefits
Stripe Atlas provides additional benefits to its users beyond helping them create a U.S. corporation and obtain an Employee Identification Number (EIN). Stripe Atlas founders can activate a U.S. Stripe account, open a bank account with one of our banking partners, access free credits, and receive exclusive access to free products and discounted pricing from our partners (including up to $5,000 USD in credits from Amazon Web Services). Be aware that our partners may have specific rules and expiration dates for offers relevant to their program—check with each benefit partner for the terms of each benefit.
Registered agent service
Delaware companies are required to maintain a registered agent. Through Stripe Atlas, you’ll enroll with a registered agent when your company is formed. The fee for the first calendar year is included in your $500 USD application fee. This service will be renewed automatically through Stripe Atlas in following years, and we’ll send you a reminder about it via email and in the Stripe Dashboard.
Your registered agent will provide you with a registered address in Delaware. This registered address is for limited purposes: legal notices and communications from the government. It’s not a general purpose mail-forwarding address for your company and shouldn’t be listed as a company address. You can find the address in Article II of your Certificate of Incorporation, or in your Certificate of Formation, either of which you can download from the Company section of your Stripe Dashboard.
From time to time, your registered agent may contact you directly when the state of Delaware sends you a message via the registered agent, to share key information with you in a timely manner.
You can separately choose to use a virtual address service to receive general mail and for customer contact.
Stripe Atlas users have access to legal guides and free annotated legal templates that can be customized for their company’s next steps after incorporation, accessible in your Stripe Dashboard.
Stripe Atlas users also have access to a network of startup attorneys who can provide a short free consultation and flat-rate legal packages for Atlas users. You can contact us after forming your company to get in touch with our partner law firms.
Stripe Atlas users have access to bookkeeping services at preferred pricing; you can sign up in your Stripe Dashboard after you complete forming your company. We also have written a guide about startup bookkeeping and accounting that you can read at any time.
Companies formed in Delaware are subject to yearly tax obligations, including:
- U.S. Corporate Income Tax
- Delaware Franchise Tax (for C Corporations) or annual LLC tax (for Limited Liability Companies)
- A similar annual tax if your Delaware company also operates in other U.S. state(s)
Stripe’s partners can assist you in meeting tax requirements for states outside Delaware.
Make sure to watch the calendar, and plan ahead to meet any tax deadlines that apply to your business.
2021 Key tax season dates
Plan ahead to meet any tax deadlines that apply to your business. For companies active in 2020, these include:
- March 1, 2021: Delaware franchise tax due (penalty for late payments: $200 USD fee and interest of 1.5% per month on the tax amount originally due)
- April 1, 2021: Final day to sign up for our partners’ tax services
- April 15, 2021: U.S. federal corporate income tax due date
- October 15, 2021: If you filed for an extension, this is the due date for filing U.S. corporate income taxes
Also, if your U.S. company has employees, or makes payments to U.S. vendors, it might be required to file a U.S. W-2 or 1099 form by January 31st, 2021.
Each U.S. business is required to pay income taxes. We have partnered with tax advisors that specialize in working with startups to provide you affordable options for filing your corporate income taxes. These services are used by top startups and offer discounts for Stripe Atlas users. Each service specializes in a different area, so please choose the one that’s right for your company:
- Bench (starting at $258 USD / month) - tax preparation and bookkeeping done for you as part of a monthly subscription package
- GBS (formerly Greenback, $350 to $700 USD) - flat-rate packages include a federal C-Corp or LLC tax return, one state tax return and the Delaware Franchise Tax
- EarlyGrowth ($1,150 USD for C Corps) - the package includes a federal tax return, one state tax return, and a free 30-minute consultation with an accountant
- Pilot (from $975 USD / year) - complete tax preparation and investor-ready financials tailored for your business as part of a subscription package
Filing taxes in Delaware
All Delaware C Corporations are required to pay the Delaware Franchise Tax and to file an Annual Report, which can be paid online if you’d like to complete it yourself. Even companies with no revenue in the previous fiscal year should expect to pay some amount.
If you want to hire a tax professional to complete this for you, you can work with one of our tax partners or a tax advisor of your own choosing.
Notice of tax due
The state of Delaware sends notices to companies that have not paid their Franchise Tax and filed their Annual Report, including a proposed bill for the tax payment (an “estimated tax notice”). Delaware uses the Authorized Shares Method to calculate the estimated tax. This method systematically results in a high tax bill for most Stripe Atlas users, though the state of Delaware allows companies to use the method that results in the lesser tax. If the Franchise Tax isn’t submitted by March 1, there is a $200 USD late fee and interest of 1.5% per month on the tax amount originally due.
Delaware Franchise Tax
There are two methods for calculating the Delaware Franchise Tax: the Authorized Shares Method and the Assumed Par Value Capital Method. The state of Delaware allows companies to use the method that results in the lesser tax amount. You can read about these methods on Delaware’s site. It’s up to you to decide which method is best for your company.
How to pay Delaware Franchise Tax
- Login to the state of Delaware’s website with your seven digit Delaware Business Entity File Number
- Click on the “File Annual Report” link
- Enter your company information:
- Complete the “Stock Information” section to adjust your taxes owed shown in the upper right corner: enter the number of shares your company has issued, your Gross Assets (your “Total Assets” on your corporate income tax return), and your Asset Date (the same as your end of fiscal year). Then click the “Recalculate Tax” button (can take some time to reload)
- Complete all of the remaining required fields indicated with a red star
- If you haven’t adjusted your list of officers or directors since you incorporated, you can find these individuals in your “Board Approval” document, accessible in your Stripe Atlas dashboard
- When all required information is complete, press the green “Continue Filing” button to review your information for accuracy
- After you verify you entered all of the correct information, press the green “Proceed to Payment” button
- You can choose to pay your Delaware Franchise Tax and Annual Report filing fee either by credit card or ACH. After inputting your payment information, push the green “Submit” button to finalize your Delaware state taxes
You can save your work and return to it later, just make sure to save your session number, which the Delaware portal gives you the option of sending to an email address for easier access.
If you have additional questions regarding Delaware state taxes, you can get in touch with our tax partners.
State taxes beyond Delaware
If your company operates in any U.S. states other than Delaware, it might be subject to annual taxation, registration, and reporting requirements in the other states. Stripe recommends that you consult legal and tax professionals about what requirements apply to your business.
Filing U.S. Income Tax
Before working with an accountant and filing taxes, you should prepare as much of your company’s year-end financial data as possible. This is part of your bookkeeping responsibilities. There are several tools like Xero, Bench, and Pilot that can help with this, and you might want to view our guide to surviving tax season.
Be sure to have the following information for your corporation (as of the last day of the fiscal year for which you’re filing):
- General information about your business. This includes your EIN.
- The company’s financials. You can upload your balance sheet, income statement, and general ledger into the questionnaire to share them with your accountant. If some financial information isn’t ready yet, upload what you have, and your accountant can help with the rest. You can learn about year-end financial reports in our guide on surviving tax season. If you don’t have any revenue or expenses for the past fiscal year, there’s a section in the questionnaire to indicate this.
- Company ownership. Your corporation might have shares held by individual shareholders or business entities. Make sure the information reflects the current ownership.
- Additional information. If your company employs people, owns property, operates locally in the U.S., or operates abroad, you might have additional tax and reporting requirements. Provide this information in the questionnaire so that your accountant can help you file additional forms if needed. Some of the taxes you might want to ask about include:
- Transfer pricing, if you’re based outside the U.S.
- State taxes, if you have business activity in any U.S. state
- Sales taxes
- Employment taxes
The Stripe Atlas Guide to Business Taxes has more information about tax types that might apply to your business.
Are you waiting for your EIN?
In your tax forms, you can enter “Applied For” and the application date, which you can find on your SS-4 document in the Stripe Atlas dashboard.
Taxes before dissolving your company
If you aren’t operating your company anymore, you might still be obligated to file taxes every year until you dissolve it. When you dissolve a company, there might be additional tax filings and obligations for the year in which you dissolve the company. You can work with our tax partners to figure out what your obligations may be.
C Corporations can be dissolved in the state of Delaware only after they pay Delaware Franchise Tax and file their Annual Report. LLCs can be dissolved only after they pay annual LLC tax (no Annual Report is required).
Stripe Atlas users who need help closing their company’s operations can work with a lawyer to dissolve their company. If you need help finding an attorney, Stripe Atlas can connect you with lawyers who can assist you.
When to form your company
C Corporations active in Delaware any time before December 31 owe at least the minimum Delaware Franchise Tax for that year. LLCs active before December 31 owe the full annual LLC tax for that year.
Neither the Franchise Tax nor the LLC tax is prorated. Your company might also owe U.S. Corporate Income Tax for the outgoing year. It might also owe taxes to a U.S. state other than Delaware, depending on where the company operates.
For all these reasons, companies planning to form near the end of a year might want to consider instead forming in January of the following year.
Additional tax resources
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful to learn more about business taxes:
- Surviving tax season
- Business taxes
- Early Growth’s Taxes for Startups Guide
- State of Delaware’s tax FAQ
- Bookkeeping and accounting
U.S. companies and persons must comply with Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, regardless of where they are located. In keeping with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals, OFAC administers and enforces economic sanctions programs against certain countries, sectors, entities, and individuals. These sanctions prohibit economic activity with these parties. As the owner of a U.S.-formed business, you and your company are now subject to OFAC’s regulations.
Stripe Atlas users must take steps to prevent offering services to customers in sanctioned countries, and to prevent any business or transactions with sanctioned individuals, entities, or individuals or entities in sanctioned countries. This can include steps such as: blocking logins or purchases from certain IP addresses; ensuring that you don’t offer shipment of goods to sanctioned countries; and verifying that no payments are made to business partners, vendors, sellers, or others named on various lists of sanctioned persons and entities.
Several vendors provide sanctions screening services, if you don’t wish to do this on your own. Vendors can also help with IP blocking. You can also engage your own legal counsel to help with the nuances of U.S. sanctions law.