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.
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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.
Some businesses are prevented from forming an LLC, however. Typically financial companies such as banks, financial trust companies and insurance agencies can't file as an LLC. LLCs are sometimes limited for industries in certain states, too. For example, if you live in California, you can't form an LLC if you're an architect, accountant or licensed health care provider. Check out our LLC information by state for more details on your state.
Depending on how your business is structured, the amount of revenue your business earns, and several other factors, forming an LLC can provide potential tax benefits for business owners. LLCs are allowed to choose how they want to be taxed, either as an S corporation or C corporation. These options are not available when you are operating as a sole proprietorship. LLCs don't pay their own taxes directly, the income of the business its passed on to the members of the LLC through "pass through taxation." This means that a member is subject to self-employment taxes, but at higher levels of income, the LLC can often pay a lower base tax rate than a C Corporation. The best way to determine your potential tax benefits is to consult an accountant.
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Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.
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