Alabama law allows a business to incorporate and be identified 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 office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in Alabama, and they must be completed in conformity with specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Alabama
An incorporated business enjoys certain advantages, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. If the business had remained a personal asset of the owners, they could run the risk of losing their personal property to pay for the company's financial liabilities in case of default. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Mobile County area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more difficult. Lastly, the ownership of a corporation is divided into an abundance of equal portions or "shares" of stock. Without this mechanism, transferring ownership of a business would be impractical.
Costs of Incorporation
These benefits come at a price. First, incorporation in Alabama may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other entity. The individual incomes of owners who are paid disbursements from the corporation's earnings are still taxed as well. This is called double taxation, but it may be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Mobile County lawyer.