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. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Dauphin County area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. Lastly, a corporation's ownership stake is divided into equal slices or "shares" of stock, which make investments in the business much easier to transfer.
Costs of Incorporation
These advantages come at a price. First, incorporation in Pennsylvania may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other entity. The incomes of owners as individuals are also taxed of course, meaning that income to the corporation may be subject to double taxation. However, this disadvantage can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Dauphin County lawyer.