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. The office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in California, and they must be completed in conformity 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. 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. A corporation might also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Mill Valley area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. Finally, 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 California might 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 might be subject to double taxation. However, this disadvantage can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Mill Valley lawyer.