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corporationa North American term for a JOINT-STOCK COMPANY.
corporationA legal entity created by filing documents with the local secretary of state, commissioner of corporations,or similar official. It may have as few as one shareholder,must begin life with some minimal amount of assets gained as a result of the shareholder(s) paying for shares of stock, may be stipulated as having a limited life span or perpetual existence until formally dissolved, and may be designated as having the powers to do only limited types of things or anything allowed by law.The entity thus created will enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of natural persons,including owning and renting real estate,and suing or being sued in the courts.The IRS allows corporations to be segregated into three main types for tax accounting purposes:
1. S-corporation. A small corporation that is allowed to file information returns only. It pays
no taxes on its income but, instead, sees all income taxed to the shareholders according to
their pro rata share of the corporation.
2. C-corporation. Any corporation that does not meet the limitations for an S-corporation,
or one that otherwise qualifies for S-corporation status but elects to be treated as a C-cor-
poration. The corporation files its own tax returns, pays taxes on income, and then dis-
tributes dividends to shareholders who pay taxes on the dividends.
3.501(c)(3) corporation. A not-for-profit corporation authorized by Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code, which files an information tax return but pays no taxes.