In Missouri, businesses are allowed to incorporate, thereby becoming their own legal entities. An incorporated business acts in its own name, whether buying and selling property, assenting to contracts or exercising legal rights. The office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in Missouri, and they must be completed in conformity with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Missouri
A corporation enjoys benefits that unincorporated companies do not. Primarily, it cannot be held accountable for an amount of debt greater than the value of the assets that the owners have invested in it. 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. A corporation may also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Columbia area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. Lastly, a corporation's ownership stake is divided into equal slices or "shares" of stock, which make investments in the business much easier to transfer.
Costs of Incorporation
There are costs associated with incorporation, both short and long term. First, businesses in Missouri may be charged a fee to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. The incomes of owners as individuals are also taxed of course, meaning that income to the corporation may be subject to double taxation. However, this disadvantage can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Columbia lawyer.