California law allows a business to incorporate and be identified as its own legal entity. After incorporation, buying and selling property, agreeing to contracts and exercising legal rights are considered acts of the business itself and not its owners. In California, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with certain guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in California
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. Without incorporation, the personal property of business owners is at stake should the company become unable to fulfill its debts. A corporation might also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Contra Costa County area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. Lastly, 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.
Costs of Incorporation
There are costs associated with incorporation, both short and long term. First, businesses in California might be charged a fee to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. Disbursements to the owners of the corporation are also taxed as individual income, so this means earnings might be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Contra Costa County lawyer.