In the United States, a limited liability company is a business entity type that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation, creating the best of both worlds for business owners. LLCs have rapidly become one of the most popular business structures for new and small businesses, largely because they are considered to be simpler and more flexible than a corporation.
Versatile Tax Status One of the most advantageous aspects of the LLC is that it has the ability to choose how it is treated as a taxable entity. According to the IRS an LLC is, by default, federally taxed as a partnership (in the case of a multi-member LLC) or as a sole proprietor (in the case of a single member LLC). The LLC, however, may elect to be taxed as a C- or S-corporation at any time the members so choose.
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LLCs are typically taxed on a pass through basis, much like general partnerships. As pass through entities, the profits and losses of LLCs are passed on to the individual owners and are reflected on the owner’s personal income tax returns. Alternatively, LLCS may elect to be taxed as S corporations to potentially reduce the self-employment taxes imposed on the owners.
The application required for incorporating as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is called the Articles of Incorporation (also referred to as a Certificate of Incorporation). This document contains basic information about the company, its owners, and its directors. Depending on your state of incorporation, there may also be state-level fees or taxes that must be paid.
Filing a limited liability company separates your personal assets from those of your business. This prevents you from being financially responsible for debts and liabilities of your business. Even though members are still liable, that liability is limited to the extent of their investments in the business. If, for instance, your company is involved in a lawsuit, the assets of the LLC itself could be in jeopardy, while the personal assets of the members/owners would be protected.
Minimal Compliance Requirements LLCs are subject to limited state mandated annual filing requirements and ongoing formalities. While corporations are typically required to have at least an annual meeting of directors and shareholders (and initial meeting of the same), adopt bylaws, and keep minutes of all meetings and all formal corporate resolutions, an LLC is not required to do any of those things (see the explanation of an operating agreement, above). The LLC members may have whatever meetings they wish and may document any such things as they wish, however they are not required to do so.
Banking Since it's required to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances, you'll need a business checking account. Banks usually charge a number of different fees and monthly expenses for these types of accounts. Also, If a check is made out to your LLC, then it is required to be deposited into a business bank account and cannot just be cashed. And some banks might charge extra for this type of deposit.
The LLC is typically the best choice for smaller entities. The LLC structure provides a great deal of ownership flexibility in that an LLC may have any number of Members (owners) including non-US citizens and subsidiary companies. LLCs are also able to distribute several different classes of stock or ownership interest. However, their owners are typically required to pay a self-employment tax.
Outside of the normal statement filing season, you may fill out a Statement of Change form with the date you went out of business, the status and disposition of any equipment owned or used by you at the time the business closed. If any of the property was sold to another person or business, please indicate the buyer's name and address. Make sure to identify any property that reverted to your own personal use as household personal property.
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