Jeepers. Thanks for the insight! Incorporating in the States is a lot more than in the UK. I think you can get set up for £10 or less which is maybe $12. Some banks set you up for free as well as part of the business account service. One downside I learned recently through someone who was at the receiving end of this, is because it's so easy, some people can spoof your identity creating a business under your name, fraudulently. And you have to prove it wasn't you who set it up. But it's worth it to limit liability for sure. And many contracting recruiters require either you to have a limited company or be under the umbrella of one for insurance purposes. So I definitely found it worth it when contracting before.
That's wild, thanks for sharing! I think California specifically is a bit tougher than other states, but not that cheap.