Related Articles: Disadvantages of Forming a Corporation
Advantages of Forming a CorporationThere are many forms of business structures and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are new to business or uncertain as to what type of business structure is best for your business, consult a tax professional, accountant, or business attorney before you start a corporation.
- United States Corporations 101
- Legal Definition of a Corporation
- Pros and Cons of Starting a Nonprofit Corporation
- Types of Business Structures
Here are two important benefits of starting a corporation:
Limited Liability for OwnersCorporations offer limited liability risks to their owners (shareholders). In most corporate structures, shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and other liabilities (including legal) for the business.
For example, in a well-structured corporation, creditors cannot pursue owner's/shareholder's personal assets for the corporation’s debts.
In sole proprietorships and general partnerships the business and the owner are considered one legal entity. But a corporation is considered its own entity and therefore, separate from the owners.
Depending on the corporation’s legal structure and duties of individual board members, there may be some legal liability exposure. Board members may not always be immune from law suits if they are accused of financial or other corporate mismanagement. Be sure to have the right business insurance to protect board members if they are sued.
Tax Advantages of CorporationsCorporations can have certain tax advantages over other forms of businesses:
- There are few restrictions for corporations on reporting capital losses (which are generally be carried back three years and can be carried forward for up to 15 years);
- Because there are fewer restrictions, and presumable greater business transparency, corporations are less likely to be audited than sole proprietorships;
- May deduct 100% of the cost of health and life insurance premiums paid on behalf of owners and employees (sole proprietors filing an individual return may currently only deduct 60% of medical premiums);
- Corporate income is not subject to Social Security, Workers Compensation and Medicare taxes; and
- Owners do not pay self-employment taxes.
C-corporations also have the benefit of dividing income between the corporation and the owners (shareholders). This ability to distribute income can save the corporation considerably on taxes.
This distribution of profits, however, also causes double taxation, which is seen by many as a disadvantage.