Welcome to the Investors Trading Academy talking glossary of financial terms and events.
Our word of the day is “Corporation”
A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. Corporations enjoy most of the rights and responsibilities that an individual possesses; that is, a corporation has the right to enter into contracts, loan and borrow money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets and pay taxes.
The most important aspect of a corporation is limited liability. That is, shareholders have the right to participate in the profits, through dividends and/or the appreciation of stock, but are not held personally liable for the company’s debts.
A corporate structure is perhaps the most advantageous way to start a business because the corporation exists as a separate entity. In general, a corporation has all the legal rights of an individual, except for the right to vote and certain other limitations. Corporations are given the right to exist by the state that issues their charter. If you incorporate in one state to take advantage of liberal corporate laws but do business in another state, you’ll have to file for "qualification" in the state in which you wish to operate the business. There’s usually a fee that must be paid to qualify to do business in a state.
What sets the corporation apart from all other types of businesses is that a corporation is an independent legal entity, separate from the people who own, control, and manage it. In other words, corporation and tax laws view the corporation as a legal "person" that can enter into contracts, incur debts, and pay taxes apart from its owners. Other important characteristics also result from the corporation’s separate existence: A corporation does not dissolve when its owners or shareholders change or die, and the owners of a corporation have limited liability.
By Barry Norman, Investors Trading Academy