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should i incorporate???

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james parkershould i incorporate???
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 9:27:42 pm

Okay first, I know nothing about business, which makes lots of sense since as soon as i graduated I started a production company haha.

Anyway, Im basically an independent, I have no staff and dont plan to have one for a long time. So it's just me, my camera, and my computer as well as other equipment. I work out of my home for now. I am focusing on wedding videography at the moment because thats all my equipment will allow me to shoot, event style videography, no lights or boom. So do i get a business license? or incorporate, or honestly i dont even know the right question.

Here's what i want to be established legally, pay taxes, etc.

What do i do now?

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Scott SheriffRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:22:43 pm

Incorporation has advantages, and disadvantages. A lot depends on the state you live in, where you incorp, and a million other things. You should really talk to your CPA, and ask yourself do I really need to.
The main reason most choose to do it is to shield personal assets from loss should your company get sued, or go broke. There are other reasons, but that would be one of the biggies unless you own a fleet of vehicles or want to hide your personal identity/credit (Nevada) from the business public, or need a 'presence' in a particular state to get contracts/jobs. Now if you don't really have a lot of personal assets to protect, a corp may not be worth all the other headaches it brings on. An LLC is supposed to do the same thing, but in most states, they are worthless and anyone suing your LLC can still go after your personal assets.
I'm not a lawyer, or a CPA, so YMMV.

Scott Sheriff

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?

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Todd TerryRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:57:32 pm

Scott answered you question: ask your CPA.

If you don't have one, get one. That's an important first step for any business. It doesn't have to be wildly expensive... shop around and meet with a couple to find someone you like and can afford.

The first CPA we tried was not good. He had a big firm, and was recommended by my business partner at the time who used him for another business of hers. He was terrible. He was short, arrogant, belittling of my lack of business knowledge at the time, and just not a person that I cared to have any dealings with, mostly because of his complete lack of interest in me or my business and his superiority-complex attitude. And he was wildly expensive.

The second, was a peach. He's a small one-man CPA firm (he has a small staff, but he's the only CPA there). He takes time with us, he is caring, he is always willing to explain and give advice, and he takes great pains to make sure we are doing things right and in ways that are in our best interest. And he's quite inexpensive.

You CPA will give you advice as to whether you should incorporate... whether you're best operating as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, an S-corp, a regular corp, or whatever.

And yes, at bare minimum you should get a business license.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Tim WilsonRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 3:01:41 pm

[Todd Terry] "He was terrible. He was short...."

Dude, calling out a guy for his height. Not cool.

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Todd TerryRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:30:24 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Dude, calling out a guy for his height. Not cool."

Haha... of course I meant he was short with me, gave me little regard or attention and seemed eager to move on to the next (bigger money) client.

It's been a long time but if I recall correctly he was actually quite tall.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Nick GriffinRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:47:50 pm

Being "short" isn't cool with anyone with whom you are trying to do business. Off topic, but my first CPA was so bad that within a few years he landed in federal prison for stealing from elderly clients. He never stole from me, but in those days I had so little to take that anything would have been noticeable.

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Scott CarnegieRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 3:57:35 pm

"Here's what i want to be established legally, pay taxes, etc."

You WANT to pay taxes? lol.

I have been running first as a partnership and now as a sole proprietorship, you don't need to incorporate to do business, and probably don't need a license, it will depend on where you are.

I did a name search and registered my company's name with the Province, the business number is also my GST (taxes) number but I don't need to collect GST as long as I stay under a certain number of freelance income per year.

For what it sounds like you are doing for the near future incorporation doesn't seem necessary. If you start making a lot of money, incorporate and hire a lawyer and accountant to handle all of that crap while you go do the fun stuff.

I am actually looking at incorpoating for the first time because I am doing a documentary which is applying for tax credits, which requires an incorporation. BUT I am not incorporating my own company, it will be a new numbered company, blah blah, laywers and accountants.

Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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james parkerRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:09:33 pm

Thank you all! great advice... I wish i knew more about the blah blah blah but whatever.. I contacted a cpa and i await the return call. Thanks again!

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Patrick OrtmanRe: should i incorporate???
by on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:46:45 pm

Given the many posts in this forum about wildly insane situations we all sometimes have to deal with, and my own personal experiences with same (I had a client show up with a speargun, once, just "for color" in negotiations... and another brought his pet panther with him... yes, I live in Hollywood), I am thrilled that we're incorporated and I have a heckuva great advisory team, including my CPA, lawyer, etc.

Pay particular attention to the comment about protecting your personal assets, too. It's something you hope you never have to deal with, but that peace of mind alone is worth the added expense.


PatrickOrtman, Inc.
Los Angeles Digital Agency and Video Production Company

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