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Minimum Business Age


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#1 OmegamB

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 11:17 PM

I've been looking all over the place and haven't found an answer. Does anyone know what age you have to be to legally form a company in the US?

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#2 Dialer

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 11:48 PM

I'm only guessing, but it's probably a state-by-state matter. It seems to me I've seen a few young people on TV who have started their own businesses.

For forming a company, such as a corporation, there probably is an age requirement based on what your state considers to be majority - at least 18, I'd guess. The main reason is probably that minors cannot legally sign contracts in most states. There's one teenager I recall reading about who formed a company, but his father was part of it, so he probably signed any legal papers and contracts involved.

You might find some information at a site that's specifically about business, such as the Small Business Information section at About.com. The forum there is probably a waste of time - seems to be full of posts by people looking to sell something!

Maybe you'll find some info at the Small Business Administration or your state's Secretary of State website.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

#3 usasma

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 10:14 AM

You have to be an adult to form a corporation - so that status is determined by the incorporation laws of your state (but, in general, is the same as voting age, drinking age, etc).
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#4 Animal

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 12:36 PM

You have to be an adult to form a corporation - so that status is determined by the incorporation laws of your state (but, in general, is the same as voting age, drinking age, etc).

I thought so too. But thats not quite accurate. More than a few states looked quite like this when I looked them up.

Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Director Information

* Minimum Number - Three or more. If only one or two shareholders, the number of directors can be less than three but not less than the number of shareholders.

* Residence Requirements. - No provision.

* Age Requirements - None.

* Directors are required to be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Officer Information

* The officers are required to be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Stock Information

* An increase in the shares may cause an increase in the initial filing fee.


So with that said. You don't even have to be a resident or of 'legal age' to incorporate. And it was a random pick but the above was for the state of MA. I knew that state was lenient as is DE. Which about two thirds of the Fortune 500 companies incorporate in due to their very lenient articles of incorporation laws.

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#5 Dialer

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 01:33 PM

Animal, did you happen to run across anything about sole proprietorships? They're far more lenient than corporations, though personal liability could be an issue.

#6 Animal

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 03:49 PM

No, I didn't review sole proprietorsip, due to the liability issue of a possible minor ownership. That combination would be highly unlikely. I went with the minimum personal liability & finacial risk factor.

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#7 boopme

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 03:57 PM

Actually there is no age restriction to starting a business (USA). If you deliver newspaper,cut lawns even have a lemonade stand you have started a business. Minors can enter and be held liable for legally binding contracts. Here starts where you need to confirm things at your States Corporation Commission site. Look for forms for forming an LLC (Limited Liability Corp.). You can probably go to a site as this (for your state) http://www.state.nj.us/njbusiness/

Main difficulty would be aquiring any non cash credit from a supplier as a minor.
Next I would consider ,Tax liabilty and liability.

Sole proprietorship have the simplest start up and the owner (you) are fully and legally responible and liable.
Incorporating,separates the individual from that financial liability.
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#8 usasma

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 03:58 PM

My apologies for the inaccurate information. I was told this by my wife's lawyer when we discussed our estate and her corporation with him. There was also some discussion about the age of majority and the ability to legally sign contracts (18 in CT).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#9 Dialer

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:16 PM

Minors can enter and be held liable for legally binding contracts.

I was going to argue with you about this, but after doing a little Googling, I get your point. Here are some relevant sites I ran across:

http://www.chicagofamilylawblog.com/

Incapacity of Minors
In order to create an enforceable contract, both parties must have maturity and capacity. If one of those elements is lacking from the bargaining process, one consequence could be the invalidation of the entire contract. Minors, for example, do not possess the legal capacity to enter into contracts with other parties. This is generally because minors are not thought to possess the ability to perceive and process all of the necessary information to make an adequately rational decision. However, this does not mean that minors cannot make contracts, it just means that courts may not enforce the contracts that minors enter into.


And this, from http://consumer-law.lawyers.com/Contract-Basics.html

Competence
Competence to make a contract means the legal capacity to make a contract. Generally, people are ruled competent to make contracts if they are over 18 years of age and of sound mind.

A minor (usually, a person under 18 years of age) who makes a contract can rescind or void it, with one general exception. A minor contracting for "necessities" is bound to pay for their reasonable value. A "necessity" can be food or shelter but, depending upon the law of the particular state, it may also include a car or other item. A minor who rescinds a contract gets back whatever the other party received from the minor.


Dialer, not AKA Judge Judy :thumbsup:

#10 david28

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 01:03 AM

I would say you would have to be 21, I think, in the US anyway.

#11 KoanYorel

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 01:45 AM

No lawyers here that I see. And as such, no one here should be presenting such advice.

Check in the Parish, County, Province, State, Country, etc., in which you might operate your business.

In this instance telephone calls to local government organizations are your best friend to start out.

I'd close this topic, except it shows value on some aspects of a business start up.
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