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 operating on its own when it buys and sells property, assents to contracts and exercises legal rights. The office of the Secretary of State is the agency that receives applications for incorporation in West Virginia, and they must be completed in conformity with particular guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in West Virginia
An incorporated business enjoys certain benefits, the most important being a limit of liability for the shareholders. The most shareholders can lose is the amount they invest in the business. Without incorporation, the personal property of business owners is at stake should the company become unable to satisfy its debts. A corporation may also find it easier to finance itself through loans, allowing creditors in the Vienna area to evaluate their investment by assessing the corporation rather than the individual credit-worthiness of its owners. Lastly, a corporations charter requires that ownership be divided into stakes or "shares" of stock, all of equal size. This makes the process of transferring control much more practical.
Costs of Incorporation
These advantages come at a price. First, incorporation in West Virginia may require a filing fee. Second, a corporation pays taxes just like any other 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 may avoid this disadvantage with proper planning and assistance from a local Vienna lawyer.