Georgia law allows a business to incorporate and be recognized as its own legal entity. When an incorporated business acts, whether it is to buy and sell property, assent to contracts or exercise legal rights, the process is then attributable to the business itself and not its owners. A business seeking to incorporate in Georgia must file with the Secretary of State in accordance with established guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Georgia
An incorporated business enjoys certain benefits, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. If the business had remained a personal asset of the owners, they would run the risk of losing their personal property to pay for the company's financial liabilities in case of default. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Augusta 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
There are costs associated with incorporation, both short and long term. First, businesses in Georgia may 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 can be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Augusta lawyer.