When the topic of what state to form your business in comes up, most people immediately say Delaware. In certain situations, this may be the right answer, but the state of Delaware is often thrown around as the answer more than it should. There are many issues to take into consideration when determining which state is the most ideal for your business to be formed in. We will go through a few of these important considerations below.
Where are you located?
Chances are it’s not in Delaware. Delaware certainly has its’ advantages when it comes to the cost of running a business as well as taxes, but it is often forgotten that you will also likely be subject to the fees and taxes of the state that you operate in. For example, a business that is incorporated in Delaware but that is doing business in California will likely need to register as a foreign company in California and will then likely be liable for California fees and taxes. However, Delaware does makes it easy for most small businesses in that if you are registered in Delaware, but are not doing business in Delaware, you will likely not need to pay any Delaware taxes (although certain fees may still apply).
What about the other states?
Delaware has long been held as the state that most people think of when it comes to where companies are from (especially corporations). There are many reasons for this, but one that sets it apart from the other states is called the “Court of Chancery”. Although it’s certainly a fancier name than your normal “Superior Courthouse”, this court’s main focus is business. Cases and controversies that go through this court enjoy expedited case times and are presided over by judges with particular experience in business issues. But at this point, this court is probably not what is convincing you to incorporate in Delaware.
Low and behold, other states saw Delaware’s success in attracting businesses with their low costs, no taxes, and discrete reporting and those states decided to jump on the bandwagon. The two other states who have made a name for themselves as the favorites amongst businesses are Nevada and Wyoming. These states offer similar low or no cost fees and don’t require certain reporting such as shares issued or who the directors are (this can be a big advantage when someone doesn’t want the world to know that they are the owners of the corporation for whichever reasons).
Nevada and Wyoming have even upped the ante with Delaware in that neither state instills any personal tax on a corporation owner and has no annual franchise tax. This is a substantial advantage in particular for other states which do have annual franchise taxes, such as California. California requires that an entity pay a minimum of $800 regardless of whether the company is even running or is operating at a loss. Having no such franchise tax in states such as Nevada and Wyoming is a great advantage unless you run into the issue that I mentioned above…where you still may be subject to the fees and taxes from the state you operate in.
So what does this all mean?
States such as Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming have been designed as being very business friendly in the hopes of attracting your business to incorporate there. Often, many people will recommend one of these states as the state of incorporation. But the biggest issue that tends to be forgotten is that forming your company in another state does not necessarily leave you free and clear from having to pay the state that you operate in.
For more information on what state to incorporate in, contact Biletsky Law.