Under Tennessee law, a business may incorporate. If it chooses to do so, it is thereafter recognized as its own legal entity. After incorporation, buying and selling property, assenting 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 specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Tennessee
An incorporated business enjoys certain benefits, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to pay its liabilities. A corporation also allows creditors in the Cleveland 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. Lastly, a corporations charter requires that ownership be divided into stakes or "shares" of stock, all of equal size. This makes the process of transferring control much more practical.
Costs of Incorporation
Incorporation can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in Tennessee for any business that wants to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. Disbursements to the owners of the corporation are also taxed as individual income, so this means earnings may be taxed twice. But this double taxation can be avoided with proper planning and help from a local Cleveland lawyer.