Saturday, June 8, 2013

LLC FAQs - What Is an LLC?

When in the process of creating a new company, the business organizers have several options to choose from. The decision will impact tax status, liability and how the profits are shared. Although the options depend on the type of business that is being formed, owners can choose from corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or the relatively new limited liability company (LLC).

The LLC is a flexible option for organizing the owners of a company. The LLC partners are called associates. Individuals, partnerships or any other business entity can all be associates in an LLC. The main benefit for choosing this method is that all owners are protected from any losses that the LLC might incur. The company is an entity on its own. Associates are not personally responsible for taxes, and if it is sued, only the company itself will bear any responsibility from damages. The main benefit to forming an LLC for the associates is the ease in which it is possible to get the profits. The losses stay on the books of the company.

This form of a company has been on the law books for over 30 years. In 1977, it began in Wyoming, but adoption was slow until Florida followed suit in 1982. It was in the 1990's that forming a company as an LLC really took off and started becoming a popular option that took the place of the other business ownership formats. Since then, it has remained on of the most popular options when creating a new business.

The structure of an LLC is simple. There can be an infinite number of partners in the entity, or there can be just one. Although corporations require bylaws and annual meetings for shareholders, these are not required by an LLC. The only requirement is to record the formation of the company with the secretary of state and pay the proper filing fees.

Among the many benefits of forming an LLC, there are a few disadvantages to associates who choose to structure their company this way. Since each state has its own laws governing LLCs, your company will be treated differently state to state. The earnings of the members of an LLC are also subjected to a self employment tax. This is not the case for corporations where profits are passed on as distributions and are not taxed this way. The final disadvantage only applies in certain states. Some states will apply a tax to an LLC but not to a business formed as a partnership. In those states, it may make more financial sense to form a partnership instead of an LLC.

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