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 specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in California
Certain advantages 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. A corporation might also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Santa Maria area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. Finally, the ownership stake in a corporation can be apportioned into uniform slices, known as "shares" of stock. This makes it possible to sell ownership investments in more manageable slices.
Costs of Incorporation
Along with a possible fee to apply for incorporation in California, there are other costs that corporations incur. The most important is that a corporation is taxed as its own entity. Disbursements to the owners of the corporation are also taxed as individual income, so this means earnings might be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Santa Maria lawyer.