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 remained unincorporated, owners risk losing their personal property should the business become unable to fulfill its liabilities. Furthermore, banks in the Roanoke area prefer to evaluate the credit worthiness of a business as a whole rather than that of individual owners. This makes the process of acquiring corporate loans simpler. Lastly, a corporation's ownership stake is divided into equal slices or "shares" of stock, which make investments in the business much easier to transfer.
Costs of Incorporation
Along with a possible fee to file for incorporation in Virginia, there are other costs that corporations incur. The most important is that 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 Roanoke lawyer.