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. With unincorporated businesses, personal property of owners can be liquidated in order to satisfy the liabilities of the business. Also, creditors in the Columbia County area generally prefer to deal with corporations, since a loan is an investment more easily evaluated when the credit-worthiness of various owners is not an issue. Finally, ownership of a corporation is divided into equal portions or "shares" of stock, which may be bought and sold much more easily than the ownership of an unincorporated business.
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. Disbursements to the owners of the corporation are also taxed as individual income, so this means earnings may be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Columbia County lawyer.