By Virginia law, a business that has incorporated is recognized thereafter 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. In Virginia, the process of incorporation is begun by filing with the Secretary of State in accordance with specific guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Virginia
Advantages of incorporation are many. The primary benefit is that the liabilities of the business can only be satisfied by the assets specifically invested into the company by the owners. Had the business remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to pay its liabilities. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Norfolk area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more cumbersome. Finally, ownership of a corporation is divided into equal portions or "shares" of stock, which may be bought and sold much more easily than the ownership of an unincorporated business.
Costs of Incorporation
Incorporation comes at a price. First, Virginia may charge a filing fee to process applications for incorporation. Also, the corporation will pay taxes as its own 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 Norfolk lawyer.