By Washington law, a business that has incorporated is identified thereafter as its own legal entity. This means that the business can buy or sell property, offer and accept contracts and exercise legal rights in its own name. The office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in Washington, and they must be completed in conformity with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in Washington
Certain advantages inure to a business in Washington 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 issues. Furthermore, a business that has not incorporated puts the unnecessary burden on creditors in the Bellingham area to evaluate the credit worthiness of individual owners rather than that of the business, making loans more difficult. Lastly, 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, Washington might 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 might avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Bellingham lawyer.