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When the phrase “annual shareholder meeting” is mentioned, what picture does it conjure in your mind? Is it a grand gathering of influential figures at the forefront of industry giants like Amazon, Exxon or Apple?

Or perhaps your mind veers towards a more local scenario, picturing someone like Jim, who operates a small landscaping business from his residential premises?

Several owners of small businesses choose to become incorporated, often by establishing either a C Corporation or S Corporation).

They do this primarily to safeguard their personal assets from potential business-related liabilities. Additionally, the currently reduced corporate tax rate makes the C Corporation an appealing choice for businesses of various sizes.

Whenever a C or S corporation is formed, it’s crucial to comply with the corporate administrative requirements of your state, even if your corporation consists of just one person. These stipulations necessitate the hosting and documentation of both board and shareholder meetings.

single owner corporation

Single Owner Corporations

This piece will provide insights into single owner corporations. A phenomenon that’s becoming increasingly commonplace, single owner corporations bring with them a unique set of challenges and advantages.

In particular, we’ll respond to some of the most typical questions asked about a single owner corporation and the administrative requirements that come with running one.

1. Can I Have a Single Shareholder Corporation?

Indeed, it is possible to have a single shareholder corporation. In fact, every state across the U.S. permits a single individual to both form and govern a corporation.

They also allow for the corporation to have just one director, opening up the possibility for you to take up the roles of the sole shareholder, director, and officer of your company.

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This means you can effectively oversee and steer your corporation single-handedly.

2. What are the Administrative Meeting Requirements for a Single Shareholder Corporation?

All corporations, regardless of size or number of shareholders, are legally required to hold at least an annual shareholder meeting and a board of directors meeting.

While it’s feasible and at times necessary to hold additional meetings, the minimum is firmly set at one per year.

This requirement holds true even for single shareholder corporations. It’s an essential part of maintaining good corporate governance and fulfilling statutory obligations.

single owner corporation man

3. What should I Discuss in the Annual Shareholder Meeting?

The annual shareholder meeting is primarily dedicated to electing the corporation’s board of directors for the upcoming year.

In larger corporations, this process can become a competitive and heated affair, with various candidates vying for a spot on the board. For single shareholder corporations, however, the process is considerably simpler.

In essence, you can unilaterally decide to appoint yourself as the director. Following this, you must create meeting minutes that demonstrate that you, the sole shareholder, have elected yourself as the lone director of the board.

4. What Should I Discuss in a Board Meeting?

A corporation’s board of directors is typically tasked with making impactful financial decisions, ones that substantially affect both the corporation and its shareholders.

This responsibility spans a range of decisions such as issuing stock, approving loans or acquisitions, appointing officers, setting officers’ remuneration, approving raises, and announcing dividends.

In the context of single owner corporations, the most recurrent topic you’ll likely “discuss” and record pertains to notable changes in your compensation and any distributions of dividends.

single owner corporation woman

5. How do I Document a Meeting?

For both the board of directors meeting and the annual shareholder meeting, it’s essential to create what are known as meeting minutes.

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While these minutes don’t have to detail every single discussion or event that occurred, they must accurately document the main points and any decisions that were reached. Typically, these meeting minutes consist of:

  • The date, time and location of the meeting
  • Who attended. Note: for a board of directors meeting where you’re the only one attending, you’ll need to document that you hold all three officer positions (CEO, CFO/treasurer and secretary) and are in attendance.
  • Agenda items with a brief description of each item
  • Voting actions – in the case of a single shareholder corporation and single director, you’ll just be documenting how you voted
  • Time when the meeting was adjourned

You aren’t obliged to create meeting minutes from scratch. Several free templates are readily available online to act as a framework.

Utilizing a template not only makes the task less daunting but can also ensure you meet your administrative responsibilities promptly.

Importantly, there is no requirement to file your minutes with the state or any other body. They should, however, be stored safely with your other significant corporate records, such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, and resolutions.

single owner corporation

6. Do I Really Need to Bother with This?

When operating as a single shareholder and director, it can be tempting to sidestep corporate formalities. This might seem inconsequential in the short term, but neglecting these requirements could potentially jeopardize your liability protection.

Maintaining your corporation’s status as a separate legal entity requires adherence to certain corporate formalities, like holding an annual shareholder meeting or filing your annual report.

If you face a lawsuit, the opposing party may argue that your corporation hasn’t fulfilled its corporate obligations and is merely an extension of your personal affairs.

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If they manage to make a persuasive case, they might be able to get a judgment against your personal assets in addition to your company’s resources.

The takeaway message is clear: you must hold an annual shareholder meeting and an annual board of directors meeting, irrespective of the size of your corporation.

As a sole shareholder/owner, your meetings and decisions are likely to be straightforward.

It’s crucial to take a little time to conduct your meeting and record it properly. By doing so, you’ll be safeguarding your corporation’s good standing and preserving your limited liability status.

single owner corporation

Let’s take a moment to visually compare the key characteristics of Single Owner Corporations and Multiple Shareholder Corporations. The following table provides a concise overview of these two forms of corporations:

Aspect Single Owner Corporation Multiple Shareholder Corporation
Number of Shareholders 1 More than 1
Board of Directors Can be the same person as the shareholder Must be elected by shareholders
Administrative Requirements Must hold an annual shareholder meeting and board meeting Must hold an annual shareholder meeting and board meeting
Meeting Complexity Typically less complex due to single decision maker Typically more complex due to multiple decision makers
Legal Liability Personal assets could be at risk if corporate obligations aren’t met Personal assets are typically protected if corporate obligations are met
Financial Decisions Made by the single shareholder Made by the board or voted on by shareholders

In addition to the specific points already discussed, it’s important to understand the broader distinctions and implications of operating as a Single Owner Corporation versus a Multiple Shareholder Corporation. These differences can significantly impact managing, structuring, and growing your business. Here’s a closer look at some key aspects:

Understanding these differences is essential for any entrepreneur or business owner as they plan their corporation’s structure and strategy. Whether operating as a single owner or with multiple shareholders, each has its unique advantages and challenges that must be carefully navigated for long-term success.

CorpNet offers business formations, filings, state tax registrations, and corporate compliance services in all 50 states. Express and 24 hour rush filing services available upon request. Click here to learn more.



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