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. 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 Palos Verdes Estates 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. 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 Palos Verdes Estates lawyer.