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LLC (Limited Liability Company)

Simply put, it's the least complex business structure. Unlike an s corp or c corp, an LLC's structure is flexible. It also gives you the perk of pass-through taxes, limited liability (obviously), and legal protection for your personal assets. Plus the added benefit of looking more legit than the other guys.

Advantages of an LLC

There are several advantages to starting an LLC, but here are a few that stand out.

  • Pass-through taxes. There's no need to file a corporate tax return. Owners report their share of profit and loss on their individual tax returns, meaning you avoid double taxation.

  • No residency requirement. Owners need not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

  • Legal protection. Owners have limited liability for business debts and obligations.

  • Enhanced credibility. Partners, suppliers, and lenders may look more favorably on your business when you've formed an LLC.

Compare LLCs and corporations with our Business Comparison Chart.

Incorporate in any state.

Starting as low as


Disadvantages of an LLC

Creating an LLC is an attractive option, but there are a few hurdles.

  • Limited growth potential. You cannot issue shares of stock to attract investors.

  • Lack of uniformity. LLCs can be treated differently in different states.

  • Self-employment tax. Earnings can be subject to this kind of taxation.

  • Tax recognition on appreciated assets. This could happen if you convert an existing business to an LLC. One more way that extra taxation can occur.

How to Form an LLC (Limited Liability Company):

  1. Choose a legal name and reserve it, if the Secretary of State in your state does that sort of thing (not all do).

  2. Draft and file your Articles of Incorporation with your Secretary of State.

  3. Decide who will run the business (managers or members)

  4. Decide how many owners are in the business

  5. Apply for a business license and other certificates specific to your industry.

  6. File Form SS-4 or apply online at the Internal Revenue Service website to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

  7. Apply for any other ID numbers required by state and local government agencies. Requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, but generally your business most likely will be required to pay unemployment, disability, and other payroll taxes – you will need tax ID numbers for those accounts in addition to your EIN.

Ready to form your LLC?

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