Hawaii law allows a business to incorporate and be identified as its own legal entity. An incorporated business acts in its own name, whether buying and selling property, agreeing to contracts or exercising legal rights. In Hawaii, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with certain guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Hawaii
An incorporated business enjoys certain advantages, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to fulfill its liabilities. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Kapaa area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more difficult. Lastly, 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 Hawaii might 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 might be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Kapaa lawyer.