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 particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in California
Benefits of incorporation are many. The primary benefit is that the liabilities of the business can only be satisfied by the assets specifically invested into the company by the owners. Had the business instead remained a collection of the owners' personal assets, the personal property of the stakeholders could be liquidated to pay the liabilities of the business, if it runs into financial issues. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the South San Francisco area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more difficult. Finally, a corporation's ownership stake is divided into equal slices or "shares" of stock, which make investments in the business much easier to transfer.
Costs of Incorporation
These benefits come at a price. First, incorporation in California may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other entity. In other words, the profits a corporation makes are now taxed separately, while any disbursements to shareholders are taxed as individual income. This is called double taxation. However, a business might avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local South San Francisco lawyer.