California law allows a business to incorporate and be recognized as its own legal entity. After incorporation, buying and selling property, assenting 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 specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in California
Certain benefits inure to a business in California that has incorporated over one that has not. First, a corporation's liabilities can never go beyond the amount invested in the business by the owners. Without incorporation, the personal property of business owners is at stake should the company become unable to pay its debts. Furthermore, banks in the San Francisco area prefer to evaluate the credit worthiness of a business as a whole rather than that of individual owners. This makes the process of acquiring corporate loans simpler. Lastly, 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 can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in California for any business that wants to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed 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 San Francisco lawyer, you can avoid this disadvantage.