Under Tennessee law, a business may incorporate. If it chooses to do so, it is thereafter identified as its own legal entity. After incorporation, buying and selling property, agreeing to contracts and exercising legal rights are considered acts of the business itself and not its owners. In Tennessee, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with certain guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Tennessee
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. With unincorporated businesses, personal property of owners can be liquidated in order to fulfill the liabilities of the business. Also, creditors in the Chattanooga area typically 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. 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
Along with a possible fee to apply for incorporation in Tennessee, 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 may be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Chattanooga lawyer.