Alabama 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 operating 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 particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Alabama
A corporation enjoys benefits that unincorporated companies do not. Primarily, it cannot be held accountable for an amount of debt greater than the value of the assets that the owners have invested in it. Had the business instead remained a collection of the owners' personal assets, the personal property of the stakeholders could be liquidated to pay the liabilities of the business, if it runs into financial problems. A corporation also allows creditors in the Valley area to assess the credit worthiness of the business as a whole rather than that of its owners, allowing the business to receive loans more easily. Lastly, a corporation's ownership stake is divided into equal slices or "shares" of stock, which make investments in the business much easier to transfer.
Costs of Incorporation
There are costs associated with incorporation, both short and long term. First, businesses in Alabama may be charged a fee to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. The incomes of owners as individuals are also taxed of course, meaning that income to the corporation may be subject to double taxation. However, this disadvantage can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Valley lawyer.