When you started your business, you may have formed a corporation to protect your personal assets from lawsuits against your company. However, you must also operate your business as a corporation — or risk losing the liability protection you expect to have.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, always treat your corporation as a separate legal entity. The corporation’s name should appear on company letterhead, checks, and invoices. Contracts should be made in the corporation’s name, not yours or another individual’s.
Avoid mixing your personal affairs and your corporation’s business. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards, and keep careful records of corporate transactions. File tax returns and pay any corporate taxes due on time.
Meet and Document
Hold shareholder and director meetings according to a regular schedule and keep official minutes of those meetings. Corporate minutes provide documentation of key financial and legal decisions, such as
- Authorization for a substantial loan to or from the corporation
- Adoption of a retirement plan or approval to make a contribution to an existing plan (e.g., a profit-sharing contribution)
- Issuance of stock
- Purchase of real property or approval of a long-term lease
By observing the formalities, you can protect yourself and have the records you may need if the IRS, a creditor, or a company insider challenges critical decisions that were made.
Don’t get left behind. If you need some assistance, we would be happy to help.
Contact me, Crystal Wampler, or Amit Chandel, CPA, CTS, CTP, CTC, CVA, CTRS, CExP, CGMA, LLM (tax), Author, here or by phone at 562-281-1040. We are always available to answer any questions you may have.