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 particular 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 satisfy its debts. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Santa Barbara area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. Finally, the ownership of a corporation is divided into an abundance of equal portions or "shares" of stock. Without this mechanism, transferring ownership of a business would be impractical.
Costs of Incorporation
These advantages come at a price. First, incorporation in California may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other entity. The incomes of owners as individuals are also taxed of course, meaning that income to the corporation may be subject to double taxation. However, this disadvantage can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Santa Barbara lawyer.