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. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to satisfy its liabilities. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Missoula area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. Finally, ownership of a corporation is divided into equal portions or "shares" of stock, which may be bought and sold much more easily than the ownership of an unincorporated business.
Costs of Incorporation
Incorporation can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in Montana for any business that wants to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. Disbursements to the owners of the corporation are also taxed as individual income, so this means earnings may be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Missoula lawyer.