Starting a business is no easy task. Prospective business owners need to consider a lot of things. One of the biggest things they need to decide is whether they should become incorporated or not. Incorporation means becoming a distinct legal entity separate from the business' shareholders. This has some benefits as well as some disadvantages. Most businesses decide to become incorporated because doing so brings extended liability protection. This means that once a business becomes incorporated, no one in the company can be held personally liable for financial debts, actions, or obligations that the company incurs. The fees for incorporation vary by state, but they all charge a relatively small surcharge for completing this procedure. Nonprofit companies can become incorporated, too. Before making any decisions, a business owner should consult with a local business law attorney as well as an accountant. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and they will also be able to help you make this important decision. Sometimes it is not profitable to incorporate a business because doing so places you in a different tax bracket. An incorporated company has to pay corporate profit tax rates, which are higher than non-corporate tax rates. Also, when a business becomes incorporated, the dividends on their stocks are taxes, which can be quite costly if you do not have a lot of shareholders. This is the biggest disadvantage to becoming incorporated. In the United States, corporations have legal rights that are basically the same as those granted to individuals, which changes some additional liability issues.