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. 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
Certain benefits inure to a business in Missouri 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. Had the business instead remained a collection of the owners' personal assets, the personal property of the stakeholders could be liquidated to pay the liabilities of the business, if it runs into financial problems. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Trenton area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. 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 Trenton lawyer.