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The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



corporation n

[Late Latin corporatio, from Latin corporare to form into a body, from corpor- corpus body]
: an invisible, intangible, artificial creation of the law existing as a voluntary chartered association of individuals that has most of the rights and duties of natural persons but with perpetual existence and limited liability see also pierce compare association, partnership, sole proprietorship

close corporation
: a corporation whose shares are held by a small number of individuals (as management) and not publicly traded
: small business corporation in this entry called also closely held corporation compare public corporation in this entry

foreign corporation
: a corporation organized under the laws of a state or government other than that in which it is doing business

government corporation
: public corporation in this entry

moneyed corporation
: a corporation (as a bank) authorized to engage in the investment, exchange, or lending of moneyed capital

municipal corporation
: a political unit created or otherwise given corporate status (as by a charter) by a superior governing authority (as a state) and endowed with powers of local self-government (as eminent domain)
: a public corporation (as a utility) created to act as an agency of administration and local self-government NOTE: As a result of its incorporation, a municipal corporation has the capacity to sue and be sued. Citizens as well as officials are usually considered part of a municipal corporation.

professional corporation
: a corporation organized by one or more licensed individuals (as a doctor or lawyer) to provide professional services and obtain tax advantages

public corporation
1 : a government-owned corporation (as a utility or railroad) engaged in a profit-making enterprise that may require the exercise of powers unique to government (as eminent domain) called also government corporation publicly held corporation
2 : a business corporation whose stocks are publicly traded called also publicly held corporation compare close corporation in this entry

S corporation
: a small business corporation that is treated for federal tax purposes as a partnership called also subchapter S corporation

shell corporation
1 : a corporation that exists as a legal entity without independent assets or operations as an instrument by which another company or corporation can carry out dealings usually unrelated to its primary business
2 : a corporation formed for purposes of tax evasion or acquisition or merger rather than for a legitimate business purpose

small business corporation
: a corporation described in section 1361 of the Internal Revenue Code that has 35 shareholders or less and only one class of stock and that may if eligible elect to be an S corporation and taxed accordingly

subchapter S corporation
: s corporation in this entry

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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