Friday, November 20, 2009


Earlier this week I pointed out that telling all Schedule C filers to incorporate, and telling a one-person business to incorporate solely for the purpose of reducing his/her audit profile, is truly bad advice (click here for post).

But I did add that there are times when it may indeed be cost effective for a closely-held business to incorporate.

If, after careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances and a detailed cost benefit analysis, and after consulting with a competent tax professional, you decide that it would be appropriate to incorporate your one-person business you certainly do not need a lawyer to do so.

While I am not familiar with all the states procedures, I expect that you can incorporate easily online via the website of your State. Last year I formed a NJ corporation online in about half an hour.

FYI, registering your business as an LLC is equally as easy and can generally be done online.

You can also very easily get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS at the Service’s website.

You also do not need a “Black Beauty” or other such corporate package with by-laws, corporate seal and personalized stock certificates, which lawyers are fond of selling at a nice mark-up, or pay an inflated fee for a lawyer to prepare corporate bylaws.

You can download free blank stock certificates and corporate by-laws and purchase an inexpensive corporate seal from a variety of online sources. I expect you can also find free pro-forma corporate resolutions online. Just do a “Google” or other search.

What do you think a lawyer will do when preparing your by-laws? He/she will have a secretary or paralegal clerk go to the firm’s work processing inventory, pull down pro-forma by-laws, and type in your name and information. And when a lawyer forms a basic corporation the same secretary or paralegal goes online and files the appropriate forms. Even when there was paper filing the secretary or clerk would do all the work. You can do this just as easily yourself for free.

Here are a few online resources (FYI I have no personal experience with or connection to these resources):





Where you may need the assistance of a lawyer, experienced in tax matters, is if you are forming a partnership, to help with the writing of the Partnership Agreement. And, of course, you also may need to consult a lawyer when forming a more complex corporation, with multiple shareholders of differing inter-relationships.

You certainly should sit down with a competent tax professional, experienced in business taxes, and go over all of your options in detail, and perform the requisite cost benefit analyses, before making any moves.


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