Under Pennsylvania law, a business may incorporate. If it chooses to do so, it is thereafter recognized as its own legal entity. 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 Pennsylvania must file with the Secretary of State in accordance with established guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Pennsylvania
There are distinct benefits to incorporating a business. Most importantly, liabilities the business accrues may be satisfied only by assets that the owners have specifically 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. A corporation also allows creditors in the Cumberland County area to assess the credit worthiness of the business as a whole rather than that of its owners, allowing the business to obtain loans more easily. Finally, 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
Along with a possible fee to file for incorporation in Pennsylvania, there are other costs that corporations incur. The most important is that a corporation is taxed as its own entity. The individual incomes of owners who are paid disbursements from the corporation's earnings are still taxed as well. This is called double taxation, but it can be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Cumberland County lawyer.