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 particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Massachusetts
Advantages 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. 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 Somerville 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
These advantages come at a price. First, incorporation in Massachusetts 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 may avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Somerville lawyer.