By West Virginia law, a business that has incorporated is recognized thereafter as its own legal entity. As a separate entity from the owners, the business is then considered to be functioning on its own when it buys and sells property, assents to contracts and exercises legal rights. The West Virginia Secretary of State receives and processes applications for incorporation, which must be submitted in compliance with local guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in West 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 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 also allows creditors in the Hurricane area to assess the credit worthiness of the business as a whole rather than that of its owners, allowing the business to obtain loans more easily. Finally, 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
Incorporation can be costly. First, a modest filing fee may be charged in West 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 Hurricane lawyer.