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Should I form a corporation around my research if I don't plan to conduct any other forms of business (e.g., hire, sell, or raising funding) in the next year?
Should I form a corporation around my work if I don't plan to conduct any other forms of business (e.g., hire, sell, or raise outside funding) in the next year? My research is computational in nature (can be done on my laptop) and doesn't require many resources.
Answered Mar 3, 2021
The answer to this questions to some degree depends upon your tolerance for risk. If in performing your "business" you are not exposing yourself in any way to the outside world, e.g., hiring, selling, inviting investors, etc., then you may no little to no liability exposure. However, if there is any aspect of your work that would or could develop into something which does involve others, or which is relied upon by others, then the safest path would be to incorporate or form an LLC.
LLC's are more expensive to maintain in Massachusetts, i.e., $500 annually, but require less paperwork (no shares to consider, etc.). An LLC should have an operating agreement, even with a single member to clearly distinguish the member as an individual from the LLC as a company.
Incorporation is more expensive in the early stages as it requires you to pay your fee to the Secretary of State (about $275), which recurs annually. It is more heavy in terms of annual meeting minutes of shareholders, and other formal documents, and can be a bit more expensive as incorporating will require a shareholder's agreement and other documentation at the outset (not repeated annually).