Corporations Charter Law and Legal Definition

A corporate charter is the name for articles of incorporation in some states. The Articles of Incorporation is a document that must be filed with a state in order to incorporate. Information typically required to be included are the name and address of the corporation, its general purpose and the number and type of shares of stock to be issued and any special characteristics such as being non-profit. Each state has its own system of approval of articles, prohibits names which are confusingly similar to those of existing corporations, sets specific requirements for non-profits (charitable, religious, educational, public benefit, and so forth), and regulates the issuance of shares of stock.

Articles must be signed by the incorporating person or persons or by the first board of directors. Major stock issuances must be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The articles of incorporation will be filed, along with a fee, at the state's Secretary of State for approval. The Secretary of State will often require a deposit of an estimated first year's taxes.

The procedure for an amendment of a corporate charter varies by state, coprporate bylaws, and type of corporation, but generally involves passage of a resolution and filing of an amended charter with the secretary of state of incorporation.