The move could value the world’s largest social network at up to $100bn (£64bn) – roughly the same as McDonald’s – and will be the biggest technology IPO since Google’s in 2004.
The regulatory filing gave the biggest insight yet into the business and revealed that Facebook made a $1bn (£631m) profit in 2011.
The company made revenues of $3.71bn (£2.3bn) in the year, 85% of which comes from advertising. Users’ payments on Zynga social games accounted for approximately 12% of Facebook’s revenue and the remainder comes from transactions fees for other virtual goods on the site.
The eight year old social network has 845 milllion active users worldwide, up 39% on 2010. More than 483m users visit the site daily, up 48% year on year.
In a letter accompanying the Securities and Exchange Commission S-1 filing, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is hoping to improve how people connect to businesses and the economy.
“We think a more open and connected world will help create a stronger economy with more authentic businesses that build better products and services,” he added.
Zuckerberg’s wealth could be valued at more than $22bn (£13.9bn) once the site, in which he owns a 28% stake, goes public.