Many benefits exist in choosing to create a corporation or limited liability company (“LLC”) as your business entity. However, what attracts most people to these entities is the protection they afford the business owner(s) against personal liability for the business’ obligations, debts, and other liabilities. Whatever reason prompts your decision to form a corporation or LLC, if you are like many smaller businesses, once the formation process is over its back to business as usual.
However, in order to keep the protection against personal liability associated with a corporation or LLC, the business must engage in, what are known as corporate formalities. Corporate formalities are formal actions that must be taken by a corporation or LLC in order to maintain the benefits associated with that business entity. These corporate formalities may be required under California law, by the bylaws, and/or by the operating agreement of your business.
When your business is formed as a corporation, many of the corporate formalities exist as part of California’s Corporations Code (“CCC”). These formalities include: (1) holding annual meetings (CCC § 600); (2) regularly electing directors (CCC § 301); (3) keeping meeting minutes (CCC § 1500); and (4) maintaining accurate corporate records (CCC § 1500). While these are only a few of the corporate formalities existing for corporations in the State of California, these formalities are often overlooked or put off by smaller businesses because they are either unknown to the business or are intended to be complied with later, as the actual running of the business takes priority.