Incorporation in Alaska
Alaska law allows a business to incorporate and be recognized as its own legal entity. As a separate entity from the owners, the business is then considered to be acting on its own when it buys and sells property, assents to contracts and exercises legal rights. The Alaska Secretary of State receives and processes applications for incorporation, which must be submitted in compliance with local guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Alaska
An incorporated business enjoys certain benefits, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to pay its liabilities. Also, creditors in the Ketchikan area generally prefer to deal with corporations, since a loan is an investment more easily evaluated when the credit-worthiness of various owners is not an issue. Finally, ownership of a corporation is divided into equal portions or "shares" of stock, which may be bought and sold much more easily than the ownership of an unincorporated business.
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Costs of Incorporation
Incorporation comes at a price. First, Alaska may charge a filing fee to process applications for incorporation. Also, the corporation will pay taxes as its own entity. In other words, the profits a corporation makes are now taxed separately, while any disbursements to shareholders are taxed as individual income. This is called double taxation. However, a business may avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Ketchikan lawyer.