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 certain 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. With unincorporated businesses, personal property of owners can be liquidated in order to fulfill the liabilities of the business. Also, creditors in the Gig Harbor area typically prefer to deal with corporations, since a loan is an investment more easily evaluated when the credit-worthiness of various owners is not an issue. Lastly, 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
Along with a possible fee to apply for incorporation in Washington, there are other costs that corporations incur. The most important is that a corporation is taxed 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 Gig Harbor lawyer.