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. The Virginia Secretary of State receives and processes applications for incorporation, which must be submitted in compliance with local guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Virginia
Certain benefits inure to a business in Virginia that has incorporated over one that has not. First, a corporation's liabilities can never go beyond the amount invested in the business by the owners. 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. A corporation may also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Petersburg area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. 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 can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in Virginia for any business that wants to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own 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 Petersburg lawyer.