FORMING A CORPORATION IN NORTH CAROLINA


Stock Certificate
Forming a Corporation to start or operate a business in North Carolina can be beneficial to the business owners in two important ways:  1) it can help prevent the business owner from paying too much in federal and state income taxes and 2) it can help protect the business owners from incurring Personal Liability for acts carried out by the business.

So what are the main steps in forming a North Carolina Corporation?

  • You must select a Business Name and make sure that name is available for use in North Carolina.
  • You must file proper and complete Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
  • Before filing the Articles of Incorporation, you must determine the number of shares the corporation will be authorized to issue (Issued Shares), the class of shares to be issued, who will serve as the Registered Agent, what will be the Registered Agent Address, and who will serve as the Incorporator.
  • After the Articles of Incorporation have been filed, must must hold an Organizational Meeting.
  • At the Organizational Meeting, you must elect Directors, appoint Officers, adopt a set of Bylaws, adopt a Corporate Seal, and issue Stock Certificates to the business owners (called Shareholders).
  • Before operating the business, you will want to apply for a Federal Identification Number (EIN Number) and State Identification Number for banking and tax purposes.
  • If you qualify and wish to be treated as an S-Corporation for tax purposes, you must complete and file IRS Form 2553.
  • Other Considerations:  Should you file an Assumed Name Certificate?  Do you need a Privilege License to operate your business?  Do the business owners need a Shareholders Agreement?  When should you file your first Annual Report with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office?  What Corporate Formalities should I follow to keep my corporation valid as a legal entity?

If you are planning to form a North Carolina Corporation, the foregoing topics are just a few that a business owner must successfully navigate through to begin operating a business.  If you need help or advice, call an experienced Business Attorney.  Call Wesley Scott Jones now at 910-256-5800 for a free telephone consultation.

Wesley Jones is a Business Lawyer serving in Wilmington, North Carolina serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and the areas of Ogden, Masonboro, Myrtle Grove, Landfall, and Mayfair), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw, Surf City, Hampstead and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Calabash, Leland, Shallotte, Southport, Saint James, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

The following are just a few of the Business Services that Wesley Scott Jones provides to clients:  Forming new Corporations and Limited Liability Companies, drafting Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, Shareholders Agreements, Organizational Minutes, Operating Agreements, Annual Meeting Minutes, Bylaws, Annual Reports, Assignments, Board of Director’s Meeting Minutes, Business Entity Startup and Formation, Representing clients who are Buying or Selling a Business, Business Dissolution and Liquidation, Contract Review and Drafting (including Non-Compete or Noncompetition Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, and Nondisclosure Agreements), Due Diligence Research, Leases, Licensing, Non-Profit Corporations, Non-Solicitation Agreements, Professional Malpractice, Promissory Notes, and Regulatory Compliance.

TIPS FOR BUSINESS STARTUPS IN WILMINGTON, NC

An Attorney reviewing documents with clients.When taking the leap to start a business, it pays to have a few skilled professionals behind you. Although you may be a natural with managing finances and employees along with marketing and delivering the goods or services the firm will provide, there’s true piece of mind when all of the bases are truly covered. Local business attorney Wesley Scott Jones has helped hundreds of clients in the greater Wilmington area develop a blueprint for success.

As with most endeavors, creating a foolproof plan is key.  With that idea in mind, please consider these tips for streamlining a business startup.

  • Hire an attorney, such as Wes, who is well versed in all aspects of business and contract law.
  • Hire a local accountant who is also familiar with the territory.  As a business owner, you will discover that in the long run, having experts on your team in those two disciplines is priceless.

Next, your attorney and accountant will be able to advise and guide you on aspects such as:

  • Structuring your business entity
  • Registering with the local, state, and federal tax offices
  • Protecting yourself from deadbeat clients (See: Collection of Past Due Accounts)
  • Preparing for employee issues, such as Noncompetition Agreements, Independent Contractor Agreements, Employment Agreements, and defining your responsibilities to those individuals
  • Contract drafting
  • Draft and implement company policies, including terms of service, disclosure, and privacy matters
  • Financial aspects such as payroll, income tax forms, profit and loss statements

Please note that the above tips are merely suggestions and each company will have its own list of areas to address. Because every business is unique and laws and financial guidelines vary state by state and even county by county, having skilled professionals at your disposal is just the responsible thing to do.

Attorney Wesley Scott Jones would be happy to discuss more about the essential steps you’ll need to consider for your specific company.  To schedule an appointment for a free consultation please give his office a call at now 910-256-5800.

Wesley Jones is a Business Lawyer serving all of Southeastern North Carolina including  New Hanover County (e.g. Wilmington, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and the areas of Ogden, Masonboro, Myrtle Grove, Landfall, and Mayfair), all of Pender County (e.g. Burgaw, Surf City, Hampstead and Topsail Beach) and all of Brunswick County (e.g. Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Calabash, Leland, Shallotte, Southport, Saint James, Ocean Isle, and Oak Island).

Adding a DBA to an S-Corporation or LLC

Adding A DBA to an SCorp or LLCAs a business grows and evolves, it may become apparent that operating under a different name, or re-branding, may be beneficial. In that case, choosing a DBA may be the way to go.

To review, DBA stands for “doing business as.” In some states, this may be referred to as operating under a “trade name” or “assumed name.” Many business, and especially franchises, are set up this way.

S-corporations are taxed like partnerships and share the benefits of incorporation. The IRS limits the number of shareholders in this type of company to 100 or less. Next, consider Limited Liability Companies or LLCs. When set up under the proper guidelines, an LLC can be taxed like a partnership, which is an advantage.

If a business owner decides to add a DBA to an S-Corp or LLC, there are definite legal guidelines. Please note they vary slightly from state to state. That’s why it’s important to choose a qualified, licensed and experienced business attorney, such as Wesley Scott Jones, for such matters. Here’s a look at the steps involved:

  • A meeting with all of the shareholders and board of directors must be held. In order for the inclusion of the DBA to be approved, a majority must support the action. It is essential that the proceedings of this meeting are recorded in the minutes of the company’s official log.
  • Make sure that the selected DBA name does not conflict with another registered corporate name in your state or a federally registered name or trademark. This query involves checking with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and your secretary of state. Check their individual websites, for instructions on how to conduct these searches free of charge.
  • Because each state has different laws in the way DBAs are added, it is necessary to contact the Secretary of State where your company is registered. Either the Secretary of State’s office or the State Corporations Division office can guide you through the steps and required paperwork that must be completed before a DBA can be added to an S-Corp or LLC.
  • Next, new bank accounts must be established to avoid any confusion. The new accounts will need to include information about the full name of the S-Corp or LLC, plus details on the DBA name.
  • Finally, the name change must be filed with the IRS. Please note:
    • ***On the Form 1120-S income tax return, check the “Name Change” box in Section 1, Line H-this is where you will write the new full name of the business. The original DBA name will be listed on the form’s “Name” line.

Your “employer id numbers,” or EIN will not change, because you are not forming a new business, just being added to an existing one.

If you have further questions or would like to discuss the pros and cons of adding your DBA company to an S-Corp or LLC, contact Wes Jones. To contact our directly, call 910-256-5800.

Learn more about our practice and the other types of cases we handle by visiting our wsjlaw.com.

The office is located in Lumina Station, just before the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge. The address is 1904 Eastwood Avenue, Suite 30.

Expert Legal Counsel Can Help Protect Your Small Business

Protect Your Small Business with Legal CounselIf you ask a successful business owner which two outside professionals are indispensable to the operation, the likely answer will be “my accountant and my attorney.”  Why an accountant is beneficial to a small business is pretty straightforward. They can handle the ongoing financial aspects of doing business such as deciphering complicated tax forms, reviewing sales figures, managing expenses, and charting accounts.

When it comes to legal counsel, many small business owners hesitate to retain an attorney after the initial work is complete for the business start up. They typically feel that it is just not necessary to keep in touch with an attorney until there’s a problem. The hole in that approach is that retaining legal counsel can prevent problems from cropping up. Consider it this way: consulting an experienced local business attorney like Wes Jones is equal to the proverbial “ounce of prevention that’s worth a pound of cure.”

Here’s an example of how having legal counsel available comes in handy before problems arise. Attorney Jones can look over your standard contracts or new employee interview questionnaire and bring light to potential situations that could arise. For instance, you may not be aware of certain laws pertaining to anti-discrimination and innocently ask the wrong questions that could justify a lawsuit and big headaches!

Situations like that are why having a consultation arrangement with an attorney, such as Wes Jones is so vital for providing legal review and guidance. Other times when having an attorney on your team is a plus includes:

  • Forming a corporation – Although it is quite possible to file articles of incorporation without lawyers, the administrative side of managing the complex tax and legal requirements often requires the services of a corporate attorney. Also keep in mind that it may be simple enough to form a legal business entity such as an LLC or business partnership without legal help, however, forming a corporation with shareholders and a board is a more complex process.
  • Litigation – This can include dealing with lawsuits by current or former employees or customers, breach of contract matters, debt collection, discrimination or harassment lawsuits, environmental lawsuits, government investigations for legal violations, and a variety of other types of disputes.
  • Buying or Selling a Business – Attorney Jones has years of experience with negotiating sales agreements, lease agreements, and more.

To learn more about how Wes Jones can assist in your business operations, please schedule a consultation by calling 910-256-5800.

Four Major Business Formation Types

Business FormationAnyone who has ever contemplated setting up a business was likely overwhelmed by the vast number of decisions such a venture demands. Perhaps more than or equal to considerations such as a business plan, identification of measurable objectives, location, and name, how the business is structured is of utmost importance.

When establishing a “business entity”, there are four different ways to do it. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the proposed business, each choice presents advantages and disadvantages. Rather than take the advice of friends or family members, it is always best to discuss your options with a qualified and experienced business law attorney. Doing so will give you the piece of mind that comes with covering all the bases, for both your own legal protection and possible tax benefits as well!

The four ways in which a business may be set up are: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, and Limited Liability Company or LLC.

1. Sole Proprietorship – This is the most simple business entity there is. As the name implies, the establishment has just one owner. That owner may choose to use his or her own name or “d/b/a”, which means, “doing business as”. The requirements are minimal – just a social security number and the necessary permits and licenses.

These are often a top choice for small businesses because they are so economical to start up. Benefits include the fact that income is taxed once, instead of twice as a company and then personal source of revenue. Sole proprietorships are not subjected to as much government involvement and taxation as some other business types. Since only one person is involved, conflicts with partners, their associates or family members are nonexistent. Also, it is very easy to dissolve.

A major point to be aware of is that under the law, there is no distinction between the individual and the business. That can sometimes jeopardize the owner’s personal assets should the business go through financial problems. The same is true in the reverse, should the business owner experience hardships, such as divorce, illness, or some other personal difficulty, the business may be negatively affected.

It takes an astute individual to successfully operate this type of business. They are 100 percent responsible for all of the decisions and raising capital. There are also certain employee benefits that can not be fully deducted from the firm’s income. Owners should realize that some costs could only be partially deducted later as an adjustment.

2. Partnership – This formation type takes place when two or more individuals form a written agreement to operate a business together. Partnerships can also be established between other businesses and among one or more businesses and one or more individuals. This choice is also fairly simple and inexpensive to establish. However, partnerships have their own unique set of tax and liability issues.

Of course, this type of business allows for shared responsibilities when it comes to raising capital, making important decisions, and managing operations. On the flip side, when conflicts arise, no matter how large or small, unresolved issues can endanger the business. Those considering a partnership need to proceed with caution, because if one partner makes a financial or legal misstep, it can spell disaster for the company as a whole.

3. Corporation – Going through the process known as “incorporation” sets up the most flexible type of company. Corporations are state-chartered and have a number of legal rights. Its owners have limited liability because the corporation has separate legal standing. The owners are thereby protected from personal legal action, should the business be sued. However, corporations undergo a great deal of scrutiny and are held accountable for their actions at a higher level.

For example, the government oversees the operations of a corporation and requires them to appoint a board of directors, hold regular meetings, record and publish meeting minutes. Income is also subject to taxation as both personal and business revenue. Another point to keep in mind is that ownership can be transferred through the sale of stock or transfer of a controlling interest within the corporation.

4. Limited Liability Company-LLC – These types of businesses have many of the same built-in advantages as corporations. Along with their limited liability, LLCs can be owned by a variety of entities, including individuals, trusts, other LLCs, and corporations. When it is set up under the proper guidelines, an LLC can be taxed like a partnership, which is an advantage. However, there is quite a bit of paperwork required to form and operate an LLC to ensure that it will not be taxed as a corporation.

Although all four of theses common business entities are fairly straight forward, there are slight differences that govern their creation and operation, which can vary from state to state. That’s why it is always a very good idea to retain the services of an experienced business lawyer. Wilmington attorney Wes Jones is well-versed in these matters. Please make an appointment with Wes so he may assist you in exploring options and deciding which approach is best for your next business venture. Read more about his practice and the other types of cases he handles.

The office is located in Lumina Station, just before the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge at 1904 Eastwood Avenue, Suite 30. To make an appointment or get more information on the services Attorney Wes Jones provides, please call 910-256-5600.