A C corporation (or C-corp) is a legal structure for a corporation in which the owners, or shareholders, are taxed separately from the entity. C corporations, the most prevalent of corporations, are also subject to corporate income taxation. The taxing of profits from the business is at both corporate and personal levels, creating a double taxation situation.
Corporations pay corporate taxes on earnings before distributing remaining amounts to the shareholders in the form of dividends. Individual shareholders are then subject to personal income taxes on the dividends they receive. Although double taxation is an unfavorable outcome, the ability to reinvest profits in the company at a lower corporate tax rate is an advantage.
The first step in forming a C corporation is to choose and register an unregistered business name. The registrant will file the articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State according to the laws of that state. C corporations offer stock to shareholders, who, upon purchase, become owners of the corporation. The issuance of stock certificates is upon the creation of the business.
C Corporations are the most common type of corporation, versus an S Corporation or an LLC.
C corporations limit the personal liability of the directors, shareholders, employees, and officers. In this way, the legal obligations of the business cannot become a personal debt obligation of any individual associated with the company. The C corporation continues to exist as owners change and members of management are replaced.
A C corporation may have many owners and shareholders. However, it is required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) upon reaching specific thresholds. The ability to offer shares of stock allows the corporation to obtain large amounts of capital which may fund new projects and future expansions.
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