on August 9, 2006
I purchased this book as a research tool before incorporating my business as a California C corp without any outside assistance last year. This was all I needed and used.
I read the book cover-to-cover, which did not take more than about 6 hours, and I felt very comfortable with the entire process. Like most Nolo books, this has a very readable style, with plenty of important information organized in a sensible manner. Even though the topic may not be entertainment reading, Mancuso makes the process very reasonable and I can't imagine another book doing it meaningfully better than this.
This book hits its target audience very well - someone who wants to know about the practical and procedural issues related to incorporation. As part of the responsibility of operating a business, any incorporator needs to know most of what is covered in this book. Even if you get someone to do the filing, any incorporator needs to know this stuff. Don't worry - it's not rocket science.
For a broader understanding of business issues, I found Nolo's other titles to be similarly excellent (their guide to california business and their guide to business deductions). Both cover related but different and important areas for new business owners. Read all 3 and you'll be set for general business issues.
on March 28, 2000
Good examples. Fairly comprehensive. Good discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of forming a California corporation. The Corporate Tax section has some good pointers. Good writing style! It flows. But the diskette has only a fraction of the business and corporation related forms compared to "Small Busines Kit for Dummies". Overall, I recommend this book for a new commer. Well worth the money.
on October 5, 2007
I bought this book because I wanted to incorporate my single-person consulting company. It took me a few hours to read this book (some sections didn't apply, but I still wanted to review them), and I felt very confident I could incorporate without a lawyer. I followed the instructions for forming a C Corp in California and used the forms provided in the CD-Rom. I delivered my forms in person to the LA regional office. Within 2 weeks, I received confirmation that my articles had been filed with the SoS of CA -- all for under $250 including the cost of the book. This compares to almost $1500 that most lawyers quoted me. I recommend this book highly but recognize that the process may be more challenging if you have many shareholders.
on January 1, 2012
The book has what you need to know to form a California Corporation. We did it by following along with the steps outlined in the book. I'd formed both corporations and LLCs before using lawyers, but I definitely feel better about doing it myself.
One tip: forget about mailing your stuff in - the State of California is crazy slow. I suppose the expediting services work (and cost $$$), but the best approach is to actually go to the office of the Secretary of State in Sacramento when you need to submit formation documents. They take your documents and process them quickly.
Not sure what the best approach is in Southern California if Sacramento if too long a trip to Sacramento.
on July 10, 2012
This book is great, very clear, easy to read, and lays out the process step by step. I highly recommend it! I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said, EXCEPT:
LLC applicants in SoCal: you CANNOT reserve an LLC name in person at the Los Angeles Secretary of State!
The SOS does not announce this anywhere on their website, and the form itself, downloaded from the SOS site, directs you to file your LLC name reservation at the LA office. Since the SOS doesn't announce this, it's not in the book (but thru no fault of NOLO). I found out the hard way by schlepping to the SOS office, taking my number, sitting in a beat up dirty chair and waiting to be called, then being told that I'd have to file my reservation via mail.
I will post back if I run into further problems.
This book starts by comparing the features of sole proprietor, general partnership, limited partnership, C corporation, S corporation and limited liability corporation (LLC). The comparison comes in a tabulated form, which makes it quick to comprehend and compare. It dwells on a wide range of features, starting from ownership, personal liability for business debts, limits on transfer of ownership interest, right up to taxation of business profits.
This book does not elaborate in detail on LLC, but it does state the main differences of LLC and the conditions in which owners may want to consider starting a company first by forming a LLC.
It lists step-by-step the necessary process to form your own California corporation. Most topics are covered such as capitalization, stock issuance, handling and selling, dividends handling and selling, dissolving a corporation, up to, employment of workers (salary, insurances, etc). It highlights a main feature of the S corporation, the pass through tax status, as opposed to C corporation double taxation, where taxes are paid at the corporate level and then again at the personal level. In addition, it describes the possibility of converting a C corporation to a S corporation.
This book does show the legal expertise of the author and is written in a easy to read form.
Overall I highly recommend this book to get familiar with your options before forming your corporation, as this will help you make an informed decision.
While a sole proprietorship or general partnership is quick and easy to establish for the anxious entrepreneur, they also leave the personal assets of the business owner(s) vulnerable to debts and lawsuits stemming from the business. Anthony Mancuso, an attorney, offers valuable information for entrepreneurs considering the corporate entity for their business. Pages 23-27 offer a very thorough summary of business entity-type comparisons (sole proprietorship vs. general partnership vs. limited partnership vs. C Corporation vs. S Corporation vs. Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)) which I found very helpful in my own research on this subject. If the corporation still sounds like the preferred option, the remainder of the book coaches the reader through the necessary paperwork and considerations for starting one in the state of California.
Like most of the NOLO Press business startup books, it includes a CD-ROM with electronic copies of the important forms described in the book. For government-issued forms, it always makes sense to check the website of that government entity to verify that you have the latest version of the form since they can change at any point in time. Mancuso offers many example scenarios to help the reader understand the elements of forming a corporation in California that he describes. Rule of thumb advice also helps the reader to make decisions. While it is not a replacement for the advice of an attorney who specializes in corporate law, the book provides a roadmap for establishing a corporation in California for families or small operations.
My fiancé owns an art class business where she goes from local venues and hosts art classes. One of the biggest problems with her business though was the fact she didn't really know the ropes to any of the business-related tasks she'd have to do starting a new business in California.
Trust me California is an odd place to start a business and the reality is the internet really doesn't give enough information to understand the rules and regulations around doing so. Not only that but since they try to tax everything here (well it feels that way) and government is so large in the state there are a lot of really odd regulations and permit requirements.
We found the book to be interesting and she mentioned it helped her find out information related to her business she otherwise would have no way of finding out.
I'm glad we got this book it was a huge help.
Excellent information if you're starting a business in California. Note that I did not say "corporation" because this book covers sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and corporations. I'd recommend this book even to those who intend to seek the help of an attorney or tax professional because everyone should understand the legal, financial and tax considerations for the different types of business structures in California before starting their business. Many people will realize that a sole proprietorship, partnership or LLC will make more sense for them. I deal with new businesses every week and I am amazed at how many people choose a business structure without understanding the upfront and on-going requirements and fees. Everyone should be well-versed in all options before deciding on a particular structure.
Also I would recommend everyone read the short overview on incorporating outside of California. Frequently doing so creates more work and more expense for the business. Those few paragraphs alone might help you avoid a costly mistake and could pay you back more than the cost of this book.
Nolo's "How to Form Your Own California Corporation" is really easy to follow. Unless you contemplate a very complex corporate structure / numerous shareholders, this book is all you need.
I think it is important to understand that the book is not designed to be an in depth review of the entire collection of California law regarding corporations, rather than a step-by-step guide on how to form your own along with brief explanations / overviews of topics such as taxation. As such, it does not go into minute detail.