For businesses seeking recognition as separate legal entities, New York law allows them to undergo the process of incorporation. An incorporated business acts in its own name, whether buying and selling property, assenting to contracts or exercising legal rights. In New York, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in New York
A corporation enjoys benefits that unincorporated companies do not. Primarily, it cannot be held accountable for an amount of debt greater than the value of the assets that the owners have invested in it. 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. Also, creditors in the Westchester County area usually prefer to deal with corporations, since a loan is an investment more easily evaluated when the credit-worthiness of various owners is not an issue. 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 Westchester County lawyer.