For businesses seeking identification as separate legal entities, Missouri law allows them to undergo the process of incorporation. This means that the business can buy or sell property, offer and accept contracts and exercise legal rights in its own name. In Missouri, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Missouri
A corporation enjoys advantages 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. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to satisfy its liabilities. Also, creditors in the Hannibal area usually 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, a corporations charter requires that ownership be divided into stakes or "shares" of stock, all of equal size. This makes the process of transferring control much more practical.
Costs of Incorporation
These benefits come at a price. First, incorporation in Missouri may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other entity. The individual incomes of owners who are paid disbursements from the corporation's earnings are still taxed as well. This is called double taxation, but it may be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Hannibal lawyer.