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
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. Without incorporation, the personal property of business owners is at stake should the company become unable to pay its debts. Furthermore, banks in the Nashville area prefer to evaluate the credit worthiness of a business as a whole rather than that of individual owners. This makes the process of obtaining corporate loans simpler. 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
These advantages come at a price. First, incorporation in Tennessee may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other 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 Nashville lawyer.