One of the earliest and most crucial decisions you make for your business is selecting a corporate structure. While filing to incorporate may seem manageable on your own, the process includes a number of perils that may scuttle your business plan without proper legal advice. Don’t make a mistake in your company’s very first decision by incorporating without an experienced business startup attorney in your corner to help avoid common pitfalls.
How Incorporation Works in Louisiana
Setting up a corporation requires providing the proper paperwork to the Corporate Division of the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office. While all businesses have to provide certain similar details, what specifically goes in your filing will vary depending on your industry and the makeup of your corporate leadership team.
Choosing to incorporate, instead of establishing a partnership or limited liability company, is more expensive and comes with significantly more rules and regulations to handle. So why go this route at all? The major benefit of choosing a C corporation is to shield your personal assets from liability if the business is sued. Incorporating also provides a governing structure to help the business establish itself and offers credibility to your brand name.
Besides limiting the personal liability of corporate officers, the board of directors, and shareholders, after incorporation your entity can also:
- Acquire business licenses and permits
- Apply for a tax ID
- Offer stock
- Sign contracts
How an Attorney Helps With Filing Articles of Incorporation
Choosing a corporate structure is necessary to conduct business in the state or abroad, but the incorporation process may be more complex than expected. There are highly specific requirements under Louisiana’s Revised Statutes 12:1-202 that must be followed when setting up a corporation.
The good news is that a qualified and knowledgeable attorney will be able to guide you through each step. That helps prevent delays in processing by ensuring all the required info is included the first time. Failing to properly handle your incorporation can result in major legal and financial headaches down the road. A business startup attorney can specifically assist with incorporation issues like:
- Choosing a unique business name as required by law. If you have a fabulous name picked out but are concerned someone else may use it before you can complete the incorporation process, it is possible to reserve the name in advance.
- Creating a certain number of shares for the corporation to be sold.
- Establishing the required corporate officer positions. When incorporating in Louisiana you must specifically establish the President, Secretary, and Treasurer offices for your business. Under state law, one person can hold up to two of those titles, however.
- Providing the necessary information from the incorporator(s).
- Selecting the number of directors your business will have, as well as providing specific information on each director in the filing.
- Setting down optional provisions directly in the incorporation articles, such as distinguishing different share classes.
Exactly how you file to incorporate can also vary from parish to parish, as some areas only allow online filing. In other cases, you may be able to mail your filing or take all the paperwork and payments in person.
It’s important to keep in mind that the amount of record keeping is significantly more extensive with a corporation than with a sole proprietorship or LLC. If you are going to run a C corporation, you absolutely need an attorney to protect your business from potential legal threats and help ensure you are following both Louisiana and federal law. Corporations are also taxed differently from other types of business structures, which you should discuss with your attorney ahead of time to avoid problems with the IRS.
Are You Planning on Incorporating a Business in New Orleans?
The Scott Vicknair law firm wants to hear from you and find out how our team can provide your business with the know-how it needs to thrive. From incorporating to aggressively defending your rights in court, we can help with every aspect of your business's legal needs. Contact us through our online form here or call to schedule an appointment at 504-500-1111.