For businesses seeking recognition as separate legal entities, Missouri law allows them to undergo the process of incorporation. This means that the business may 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 specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Missouri
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. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to pay its liabilities. A corporation also allows creditors in the St. Joseph area to assess the credit worthiness of the business as a whole rather than that of its owners, allowing the business to obtain loans more easily. 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
Incorporation comes at a price. First, Missouri may charge a filing fee to process applications for incorporation. Also, the corporation will pay taxes 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 St. Joseph lawyer.