Starting a new business is exciting and often overwhelming as nearly anyone who has done it can tell you. There are many new tasks to undertake and lots of new information to process. The goal in addressing all of the issues that arise in undertaking this exciting new challenge is to find the best solution for your business to succeed. Invariably, among these issues, either the entrepreneur themselves or someone else will ask “Should you incorporate?”
As an initial point it is worth noting that there is no legal requirement that all businesses be incorporated in the State of Nevada. There are a variety of requirements regarding obtaining business licenses which all business must fulfill, however any business can function either as the individual business owner themselves, for example, a plumber doing business utilizing simply his or her name, or as a partnership, for example, a group of doctors operating a medical practice utilizing their names or under a fictitious firm name. While choosing not to incorporate is certainly legal and may benefit your individual business model, an informed decision requires an understanding of the potential advantages and disadvantages of incorporating.
There are several advantages which can be realized by incorporating your business:
Limitations To Your Personal Liability. The primary advantage to incorporation is that a business entity may shield the business owner from some types of liability, commonly contractual liability, if all statutory requirements for the entity are followed. Specifically, if the business entity enters into contracts with vendors or customers in the name of the business entity then the entity, not the individual business owner, would be liable in the event the contract was not fulfilled. Essentially, a business owner may be able to shield their personal assets, e.g., their home or personal bank account, from being exposed to debts or liabilities incurred in the course of doing business.
Unlimited Term. An entity has the potential to “live” indefinitely, unlike the individual business owner. This means that the business owner has the option of simply transferring the interest in the entity in the event of a sale of the business or upon the owner’s death, hopefully with minimal, if any, interruption to the business.
Tax Advantage. Formation of a business entity may result in tax advantages depending upon a variety of variables. When considering whether incorporation is appropriate or beneficial, it is important to discuss the issue with your accountant.
Though there are undeniable benefits which can be realized by incorporating, there are some disadvantages, as well:
Increased Cost. Incorporation requires the submittal of forms to the Nevada Secretary of State, both to initially incorporate and, thereafter, on an annual basis. Such forms, as one might expect, require filing fees. The fees vary for the initial formation, often being several hundred dollars, and the annual fee thereafter is also several hundred dollars.