Costs And Benefits Of Incorporating Your Business
Long ago, when a person went into business, they risked losing their personal assets if the business failed. Then, along came the corporation, and things started looking up. There are advantages to most types of business structures, but incorporation tends to have the greatest advantages and protections for business owners.
By incorporating your business, you will be gaining protection from personal liability. If a business is incorporated, the corporation is responsible for all debts owed by the business. If the business is sued, the corporation is being sued - not the business owners. The business owners personal assets are protected by the corporation.
One of the most attractive benefits of incorporating is the tax savings. The tax savings you may realize are dependent upon the type of corporation you choose - C Corporation or S Corporation. Income shifting, where income is divided between the corporation and its shareholders in a manner that lowers taxes for both the shareholders and the corporation, is one of the potential tax advantages. Favorable tax treatment of fringe benefits is also possible, which allows incorporated businesses to deduct up to 100% of insurance premiums with the proper insurance plan.
There are also no limits or restrictions on the amount of capital losses that a corporation may carry back or forward to subsequent tax years. Further more, individuals may be able to realize tax savings by leasing their personally owned property, such as real estate or automobiles to the corporation. A business owner can also save money in self employment taxes. A business owner who does not incorporate his business (sole proprietorship) must pay self employment taxes on all profits, however, if the business is incorporated, the business owner will only owe self employment taxes on the amount that was actually paid to him, in the form of a salary. A tax professional will help you determine which type of corporation will give you the greatest benefits.
Ownership of a corporation is easily transferable is you decide to retire or get out of the business. Stock is simply transferred to other stock owners, heirs, or back to the corporation. A corporations life is not dependent upon the life of it's members. When a member dies or sells out, the corporation continues to exist and do business.
If your business is incorporated, operating capital can be raised more easily, by selling stock, and investors are easier to find. Retirement funds and retirement plans, such as 401k plans, may be set up more easily if your business is incorporated as well.
While incorporating your business costs more than other types of business structures, it is usually well worth the cost in the long run. The costs associated with incorporating are state filing fees, which vary from state to state, and any legal expenses you incur with the lawyer or incorporating company that helps you through the process. Unless you are a business lawyer, it is not in your best interest to try to skip the legal expenses by handling the incorporation process yourself. You will save both time and money by hiring a professional to do it right the first time. As a general rule, incorporation can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,100.
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