For businesses seeking recognition as separate legal entities, Montana 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. A business seeking to incorporate in Montana must file with the Secretary of State in accordance with established guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Montana
Certain benefits inure to a business in Montana 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. With unincorporated businesses, personal property of owners can be liquidated in order to satisfy the liabilities of the business. A corporation may also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Helena 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
Along with a possible fee to file for incorporation in Montana, there are other costs that corporations incur. The most important is that a corporation is taxed 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 Helena lawyer.