How to Transfer Ownership of an Incorporated Business

By Joleene DesRosiers Moody
Understanding the legal process makes transferring a business easier.

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Transferring your business to the hands of another is a process that requires some legal legwork. You want to be able to walk away from the transaction successfully with money in the bank and piece of mind. There are two types of corporations business owners typically have: C corporation or S corporation. A C corporation is a company that pays state and federal taxes. (http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/C+Corporation) An S corporation is typically exempt form some taxes and the IRS considers it a partnership. (http://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/S+Corporation)No matter what kind of corporation you have, the assets can be transferred.

Determine if your business is a C corporation or S corporation. The steps for transferring ownership are general and therefore apply to both.

Consult with the board of directors or shareholders with the corporation first. You will need approval from them before any sale or transaction can take place. Shares are freely transferable.

Retain an attorney to discuss the sale of your assets and stock. Shareholders often have stake in stock and will be taxed on property or cash transferred to them.

Hire a tax adviser to thoroughly explain any tax implications. You want to know what you will be taxed after the sale, if anything at all.

Discuss a plan of liquidation with your attorney. You want to maximize the sale of any property you wish to sell.

Find a buyer.

Decide how the transaction will proceed.

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Determine if the sale will be paid out in a lump sum or with installments.

About the Author

Joleene DesRosiers Moody has written professionally since 2001 for television and print. Her freelance work is featured in "Absolutely Business" magazine. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in radio and television production from Onondaga Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in theater and fine arts from Niagara University.

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