For businesses seeking recognition as separate legal entities, New York law allows them to undergo the process of incorporation. When an incorporated business acts, whether it is to buy and sell property, assent to contracts or exercise legal rights, the process is then attributable to the business itself and not its owners. A business seeking to incorporate in New York must file with the Secretary of State in accordance with established guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in New York
Certain benefits inure to a business in New York 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 Dutchess County 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 comes at a price. First, New York 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 Dutchess County lawyer.