In Massachusetts, businesses are allowed to incorporate, thereby becoming their own legal entities. 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. To incorporate in Massachusetts, a business must file with the Secretary of State in compliance with specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Massachusetts
Certain benefits inure to a business in Massachusetts 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. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Essex County area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. 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
Incorporation can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in Massachusetts for any business that wants to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own 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 may avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Essex County lawyer.