What Is Incorporation?

Incorporation is the legal process used to establish a company, entity, or firm. A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, with its own individual rights and obligations. Corporations may be created in almost any country and are often recognized as such by means of phrases such as "Inc." or "Restricted" within their names.

What Does It Mean to Incorporate?

Incorporating a company means turning your sole proprietorship or common partnership into an organization formally acknowledged by your state of incorporation. The new entity or limited liability company (LLC) transforms the way the enterprise is seen by the regulatory authorities and sometimes presents extra credibility with potential clients, distributors, and staff.


Usually, a corporation has all of the legal rights of a person, except for the right to vote and other limitations. Companies are given the right to exist by the state that approves their creation. Should you incorporate in a certain state to reap the benefits of liberal corporate legal guidelines but run an enterprise in another state, you will need to file for a stipulation within the state where you want to run the enterprise. There's often a fee that has to be paid to qualify to conduct business in a certain state. Normally, only one company can have any give name in each state.

After incorporation, stock is issued to the corporate shareholders in exchange for the money or assets they contribute in exchange for that stock. Yearly, the shareholders elect a board of directors, who meet to discuss corporate affairs anywhere from as often as every month to annually. Every year, the directors elect officers like a president, secretary, and treasurer to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the company. There may be more officers like vice presidents, if the directors so determine. Together with the articles of incorporation, the directors and shareholders often adopt company bylaws that govern the powers and authority of the directors, officers, and shareholders.

Creation and Organization of Corporations

Incorporation includes drafting legal paperwork referred to as "Articles of Incorporation" that lists the purpose of the enterprise, its name and location, and the number of stocks being issued, if any. Incorporation also includes jurisdiction-specific registration data and fees. Corporations are owned by their shareholders. Small companies can have a single shareholder, whereas very massive and sometimes publicly traded companies can have thousands of shareholders.

Smaller companies can have a single director, whereas bigger ones typically have a board comprised of a dozen or more directors. Except in circumstances of fraud or in some particular tax statutes, the directors are not responsible for corporate debt.

Advantages of Incorporation

Some of the benefits of incorporation include:

  • A simple transfer of the enterprise’s ownership through the sale of shares.
  • The opportunity for tax planning for the proprietor through the use of a lower tax rate than ones for personal income.
  • Access to financing for enterprise actions by means of, amongst others, the sale of stock.

Incorporation successfully creates a protective bubble, typically referred to as a corporate veil, around an organization's shareholders and directors. Incorporated companies can safely take risks that make progress possible without exposing the shareholders, proprietors, and directors to personal financial liability beyond their initial investments in the firm.


In contrast to proprietorships, partnerships, or LLCs, companies continue operations after the owners depart.

Sole Proprietorships

As the name implies, a sole proprietorship is an organization with one proprietor. There is no paperwork required to determine a sole proprietorship; you merely arrange stock. You continue to accumulate all of the vital licenses and permits to name a sole proprietorship.

People who start sole proprietorships usually use the specification, "DBA," which stands for "doing business as." For instance, the identity of a sole proprietorship could also be "John Smith, DBA John's Restore Store." Whereas sole proprietorships are low-cost and easy to arrange, they don't supply protections from legal responsibility. Income from sole proprietorships is handled as personal income for tax purposes.


When two or more people share possession of a company, including the income and losses, it's structured as a partnership. Private legal responsibility and administration structures are usually primarily based on the kind of partnership fashioned:

In most partnerships, owners share equal duties and obligations together with income, money owed, and liabilities. Taxes are paid by means of each owner’s private revenue.

If you need help with incorporation, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.