By West Virginia law, a business that has incorporated is identified 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 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 certain guidelines.
Benefits of Incorporation in West Virginia
A corporation enjoys advantages that unincorporated companies do not. Primarily, it cannot be held accountable for an amount of debt greater than the value of the assets that the owners have invested in it. 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. A corporation also allows creditors in the Weirton area to assess the credit worthiness of the business as a whole rather than that of its owners, allowing the business to acquire loans more easily. 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
There are costs associated with incorporation, both short and long term. First, businesses in West Virginia might be charged a fee to incorporate. Also, a corporation is taxed as its own entity. The individual incomes of owners who are paid disbursements from the corporation's earnings are still taxed as well. This is called double taxation, but it may be avoided with proper planning and assistance from a local Weirton lawyer.