Limited liability company (LLC) is another type of business structure. We offer LLC formation services. The following information about limited liability companies was obtained from the United State Small Business Administration.
A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.
The “owners” of an LLC are referred to as “members.” Depending on the state, the members can consist of a single individual (one owner), two or more individuals, corporations or other LLCs.
Unlike shareholders in a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses are “passed through” the business to each member of the LLC. LLC members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns, just like the owners of a partnership would.
LLC Tax Obligations
In the eyes of the federal government, an LLC is not a separate tax entity, so the business itself is not taxed. Instead, all federal income taxes are passed on to the LLC’s members and are paid through their personal income tax. Since an LLC is not recognized as a business entity for taxation purposes, all LLCs must file as a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship tax return.
Advantages of an LLC
- Limited Liability. Members are protected from personal liability for business decisions or actions of the LLC. This means that if the LLC incurs debt or is sued, members’ personal assets are usually exempt. This is like the liability protections afforded to shareholders of a corporation. Keep in mind that limited liability means “limited” liability – members are not necessarily shielded from wrongful acts, including those of their employees.
- Less Recordkeeping. An LLC’s operational ease is one of its greatest advantages. Compared to an S-Corporation, there is less registration paperwork and their start-up costs are lower.
- Sharing of Profits. There are fewer restrictions on profit sharing within an LLC, as members distribute profits as they see fit. Members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity. Consequently, it’s up to the members themselves to decide who has earned what percentage of the profits or losses.
Disadvantages of an LLC
- Limited Life. In many states, when a member leaves an LLC, the business is dissolved and the members must fulfill all remaining legal and business obligations to close the business. The remaining members can decide if they want to start a new LLC or part ways. However, you can include provisions in your operating agreement to prolong the life of the LLC if a member decides to leave the business.
- Self-Employment Taxes. Members of an LLC are considered self-employed and must pay the self-employment tax contributions towards Medicare and Social Security. The entire net income of the LLC is subject to this tax.