How to Move a Business from California to Arizona

Arizona - The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You by Peter Zillmann from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
Arizona – The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You by Peter Zillmann from Flickr (Creative Commons License)


UPDATE (1/10/2023): The process for moving a corporation from California to Arizona has recently changed! Read about the new, easier, more cost-effective way to move your company to Arizona here.

California is so weird. (I grew up there. I can say that from experience.) It’s a weird state with weird laws.

I recently helped a client move their corporation from California to Arizona. Arizona law allows you to simply transfer your company from your old state to your new one with a Statement of Domestication, if the state you’re leaving permits this.

California doesn’t.

Instead of it being a simple process, moving a corporation from California to Arizona is much more complicated, expensive, and time consuming. The easiest way to do it was to form a new company in Arizona and merge it with the California company, where the Arizona company was the surviving entity.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Create a new entity in Arizona through the Arizona Corporation Commission and pay the corresponding filing fee.
  • Create and sign a Merger Agreement.
  • Submit the Statement of Merger to the Arizona Corporation Commission and request a Certified Copy of the Merger Certificate. Pay the corresponding filing fees.
  • Once you receive the Certified Copy of the Merger Certificate, send it to the California Corporation Commission with their required filing fee.

The total process took a little over a month – and we expedited the Arizona filings – and the client spent over $300 in filing fees between the two states. Had they been able to file a Statement of Domestication, the Arizona filing fee would have been only $100 ($135 if expedited it).

Dealing with the California Corporation Commission wasn’t the easiest adventure. If I ever have a question and need a crystal clear answer from the Arizona Corporation Commission, I can go down there and talk to the clerk. I don’t have that luxury with California. One day it was impossible to get anyone at the California Corporation Commission on the phone and I ended up using their online contact form to get a call back 2-3 days later. That was a frustration that I’m glad I got to handle instead of my client.

Moving a company from one state to another can be confusing and stressful – especially when you’re trying to sort out which process you have to use and which forms and filing fees you need to submit to each state. It’s not something I recommend doing by yourself. If you have a question about starting a company in or moving a company to Arizona, please contact me directly or connect with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, or LinkedIn.

5 responses to “How to Move a Business from California to Arizona”

  1. Ruth: Thank you so much for this valuable information. I am in the process of moving my S Corp from CA to AZ and was not sure of the process. Greatly appreciate you sharing this information on line. And, yes, I agree…CA is so weird…and expensive!!

    • You are welcome! I’m glad I could help. Yes, it’s not the easiest way to move a company, but it’s the only way to move the company without shutting down and starting anew. Good luck!

    • Can you and should you are two different things. It would depend on your circumstances. A simple merger – like when both companies are owned by the same individual – aren’t that hard if you know the process. It still may be a good idea to discuss your plans with your lawyer and accountant.

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