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. Also, creditors in the Monterey County area typically 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, a corporations charter requires that ownership be divided into stakes or "shares" of stock, all of equal size. This makes the process of transferring control much more practical.
Costs of Incorporation
Incorporation comes at a price. First, California might charge a filing fee to process applications for incorporation. Also, the corporation will pay taxes as its own entity. The individual incomes of the owners are still taxed also, and this can mean the same income is taxed twice, known as double taxation. With proper planning and assistance from a local Monterey County lawyer, you can avoid this disadvantage.