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What Does LLC Mean in Business?

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a business entity that separates their business and personal assets by filing paperwork with state government. The protection also comes from following certain legal requirements and maintaining proper business practices. This limited liability allows business owners to protect their personal finances if a legal dispute was to ever arise with their business. Since court proceedings can take a big toll on an owner’s checkbook, it’s always considered a wise decision to set up an LLC.

How LLCs Work

Becoming recognized as an LLC is essential to protecting companies’ owners and employees from personal financial liability regarding business expenses. They also provide vital structure to a company’s management structure by allowing a company to be either member-managed or manager-managed.

  • Member-Managed: A member-managed business places the responsibility of running the business day- to-day in the hands of the members. This type of management structure is most used by small or family-owned businesses.
  • Manager-Managed: Manager-managed businesses place responsibility for day-to-day operations on one of two entities: an appointed member of the LLC or a hired third-party.

Read more about the difference between member managed LLCs vs manager managed LLCs.

Forming an LLC also allows business owners to make decisions regarding taxation and distributing the company’s profits and losses. Some companies opt to distribute profits based on how much a member’s initial capital contribution was. Others choose to instead create custom guidelines that determine who is distributed to and with what.

When it comes to taxation, setting up a limited liability company allows members to decide how they want to be taxed. There are three types of classifications for tax purposes that an LLC can choose between:

  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • S Corporation

Whichever option a business owner chooses determines the tax rate that should be paid each year.

Members can also choose to forego these classifications and instead take advantage of pass-through taxation treatment. Pass-through taxation treatment involves a member filing business tax on their personal tax return. The only downside to this option is that members can be taxed twice: once on the taxes for the business and once for their personal taxes on their income.

Consequently, it is usually best to pick from one of the three popular classifications rather than the pass-through options.

Here is an article about how LLCs work.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LLCs

Registering as a limited liability company is a great idea for many businesses, but there are still pros and cons to having a limited liability company. It is up to you to decide whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages of LLCs

Besides the obvious advantage of separation of business versus personal finances, there are several advantages of creating a limited liability company. For example, customers are more likely to place their trust in registered businesses. It shows that you’re serious about your work and that credibility can go a long way with your clients.

Here are a few more advantages of forming a limited liability company:

  1. The process is easy. The paperwork you must file is limited and, in most cases, all you must do is bring your documentation to your state’s court clerk’s office to become recognized as a limited liability company.
  2. It is flexible. You have the flexibility to choose however many members and managers you would like to appoint at your company.
  3. Easy access to profits. Registering as a limited liability company grants easier access to owners to company profits. In other words, rather than paying yourself a salary, you can withdraw cash straight from the company’s account, which is much more convenient.
  4. May have lower taxes. Limited liability companies sometimes pay less taxes and the process to filing taxes is much simpler when compared to other types of companies, called a pass-through entity . However, the actual tax liability of an LLC depends on various factors, including the chosen tax classification and the specific circumstances of the business.

Disadvantages of LLCs

Even though registering as a limited liability company has its upsides, there are a few disadvantages that you should also know about:

  1. Recurring costs. Maintenance and annual LLC costs to keep your business running can be costly.
  2. Documentation. When any changes in membership or management occur, the paperwork required is extensive and can be stressful.
  3. Investors. Investors don’t tend to want to give capital to limited liability companies.
  4. Taxation. Taxation is not always less when compared to other business entities.

Check out this article to learn more about the pros and cons of limited liability companies.

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LLC vs. Other Business Entities

There are several types of recognized business entities today. Choosing the right one for your business ensures that you can reap the full benefits of whatever the designation has to offer. Understanding the key differences between these entities is the best way to make sure you make an educated decision.

LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship consists of a single owner performing business without any liability protection. In other words, while LLCs protect personal finances from business debts, sole proprietorship does not. Sole proprietorships are also owned by a single member, whereas LLCs often contain multiple members and managers.

Read more about the difference between an LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship.

LLC vs. Corporation

Corporations have more rigorous requirements than LLCs when it comes to formation. The paperwork that is required is more extensive and ownership in an incorporation is determined by how many stocks a member holds. Corporations also tend to be larger in size.

Read more about the difference between an LLC vs. Corporation.

LLC vs. S. Corp

An LLC is a type of business entity, while an S. Corp is a specific type of corporation that elects to be taxed under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code, allowing for pass-through taxation similar to an LLC.

Read more about the difference between an LLC vs. S Corp.

LLC vs. Partnership

When you file to form an LLC, you request that your company be recognized as its own legal entity. In limited partnerships, you file to operate under the owners’ names. These are often used in the case of joint ventures.

Read more about the difference between an LLC vs. Partnership.

Types of LLCs

Understanding what type of LLC you want to file your business under is essential to the application process. Some limited liability company designations are designed for corporate reasons, while others exist to benefit from interstate commerce laws.

Here is a quick overview of the types of LLCs out there:

  • Single Member LLC : has a single owner
  • Multi Member LLC : has multiple members.
  • Member-Managed LLC: company is run by members of the LLC
  • Manager-Managed LLC: company is run by a designated 3 rd party
  • Anonymous LLC: details of LLC ownership are not available to the general public, but some states may allow the use of a nominee or registered agent to protect privacy
  • Series LLC: rights, debts, and obligations are designated to cells called “series”
  • Real Estate LLC : LLC set up for the purpose of investing in real estate.
  • Investment LLC : LLC set up with the primary purpose of investing.
  • Domestic Limited Liability Company : LLC set up in same state as the owner.

Learn more about types of LLCs be reading this article.

How to Start an LLC

Whether you want to start a real estate LLC, investment LLC, domestic limited liability company, or something else, it’s never a bad idea to consult a professional to help you.

The LLC formation process can be confusing at times, and you need someone in your corner that knows how to help to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to get connected with corporate lawyers who are well-versed in the area of LLC formation and management for the best possible results.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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