For businesses seeking identification as separate legal entities, North Dakota law allows them to undergo the process of incorporation. As a separate entity from the owners, the business is then considered to be operating on its own when it buys and sells property, assents to contracts and exercises legal rights. The office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in North Dakota, and they must be completed in conformity with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in North Dakota
An incorporated business enjoys certain advantages, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. Without incorporation, the personal property of business owners is at stake should the company become unable to satisfy its debts. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Minot area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more difficult. Lastly, the ownership of a corporation is divided into an abundance of equal portions or "shares" of stock. Without this mechanism, transferring ownership of a business would be impractical.
Costs of Incorporation
These benefits come at a price. First, incorporation in North Dakota may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other 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 might avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Minot lawyer.