Business Startup

Four Important Considerations When Launching a Startup

Today’s post highlights some of the key considerations that founders of any startup company should have in mind as they begin the process of turning an idea into a business. The action items we discuss in this post are simple things to address early on in the company and can have immediate and lasting positive impacts for the company and its founders.

Forming a Corporation or LLC to Limit Personal Liability

One of the first steps the initial partners should take is to form a limited liability entity (either corporation or LLC in most cases) in order to limit the owners’ personal liability. Forming the entity will also open the door to discussing the initial ownership percentages, vesting provisions, and management rights....

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Business Startup

Entity Conversion in Washington

In a previous post, we discussed how the entity conversion bill passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2014 allowed companies to complete a conversion (instead of going through a merger) to change a company’s entity structure. You can use a conversion to change your entity structure to a different form (i.e. from an LLC to a corporation) or change your domicile to a different state. We continue the discussion about conversion in this post by going into more detail about the steps to complete a conversion.

Eligible Entities

Washington law allows conversions between domestic limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and limited partnerships. Washington law also allows these domestic entities to convert to foreign entities (a foreign entity is an entity incorporated in...

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Business Startup

Shareholder Meetings in Washington State

As a shareholder in a corporation it is important to know your rights. One of those rights is the right to attend shareholder meetings. Today we will discuss the frequency and type, notice requirements, and voting protocol of shareholder meetings in Washington State.

Washington corporations are governed by the Washington Business Corporation Act, which is codified in RCW 23B. Shareholder meetings are specifically outlined in RCW 23B.07.

Frequency and Type of Shareholder Meeting

The two types of meetings that shareholders attend are “annual” and “special” meetings. RCW 23B.07.010 lays out the requirements for annual shareholder meetings and is summarized as follows:

1) Corporations must hold an annual shareholder meeting;

2) Meetings can be held in or out of state but if the place is not...

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Business Startup

Checklist for Forming a Washington Corporation

A few weeks back, we provided a checklist for forming an LLC. In today’s post we’ve highlighted the key issues you’ll want to consider when forming a Washington corporation.

Check the Business Name. As we mentioned with LLCs, you’ll want to make sure the name you want for your corporation isn’t already registered with the Secretary of State (which you can check here). For corporations, you’ll need to include some reference to the fact that the company is a corporation, such as “Inc.” “Corp.” or “Co.” Articles of Incorporation. The “Articles of Incorporation” is the document you file with the Secretary of State in order to form your corporation. This document must include (at the bare minimum) the name of the corporation, the...

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Business Startup

How to Dissolve Your Washington Business

If you’ve decided to move on from the business you’ve started and it doesn’t make sense to sell it, you’ll likely want to dissolve your Washington business. To do so, you’ll need to consider the following steps:

Dissolving a Corporation 

To voluntarily dissolve a Washington corporation, generally the corporation’s board of directors will propose dissolution and submit the proposal for a vote by the shareholders. Two-thirds of the authorized shareholders then must approve the proposed dissolution. The initial directors, incorporators, or board of directors may also dissolve the corporation by majority vote under certain circumstances, like when no shares have been issued.

Following the vote to dissolve, the corporation must file Articles of Dissolution with the Secretary of State to notify the state of the corporation’s intention to...

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Business Startup

Entity Structure Considerations When Choosing Between a LLC and a Corporation

It’s important to understand the significant (and sometimes subtle) differences between the various choices when determining the right entity structure for your new venture. Today’s post details some important distinctions between corporations and LLCs.

The Distinction Between State Entities vs. Federal Tax Elections 

For state law purposes, there are two primary entities that the choice of entity generally comes down to: corporations and LLCs. Corporations and LLCs both offer limited liability to owners of the company. This means that (absent extraordinary circumstances) if the business is sued, only business assets are at risk and the ownerss personal assets will be shielded from the company’s liabilities.

For federal tax purposes, there are three primary tax classifications that most companies are organized under: C corporations, S corporations, and...

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Business Startup

Can You Convert Your Company Into a Social Purpose Corporation?

Yes, an existing Washington business entity can convert into a social purpose corporation (“SPC”). In this blog post, we’ll discuss how an existing traditional corporation can become a social purpose corporation.

To convert a corporation into an SPC, the company needs to take a few steps. First, the board of directors has to recommend the corporate action to the shareholders. The action must pass by at least two-thirds of the votes of the voting group entitled to vote on the corporate action. Further, the action must pass by two-thirds of all other shares voting as separate voting groups. Essentially, the SPC conversion statute controls over any existing arrangement in the corporation’s governing documents. So the corporate action to convert to an...

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Business Startup

Shareholder Inspection Rights for Washington Corporations

Becoming a shareholder in a Washington corporation comes with certain statutory rights, including the right to inspect the company’s records. These shareholder inspection rights may not be included in the company’s articles or bylaws, and many shareholders are not aware the shareholder inspection rights exist. But it can be very important to understand what documents you have a right to see as a shareholder. Below, we’ve highlighted the ins and outs of shareholder inspection rights in Washington and the procedural requirements for requesting records.

Who can request corporate records?

Under RCW 23B.16.020, shareholders of a corporation are entitled to inspect and copy a corporation’s records at the company’s office and during normal business hours if the shareholder gives that corporation at least...

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