Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A business type with several advantages.

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What Does LLC Stand For? An Overview

LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. When looking at business types, many business owners choose to form a limited liability company (LLC). Creating an LLC is a good way to "wall off" your personal assets from your company's liabilities, offering protection for your personal assets in the event of a judgment against your business. For this reason, forming an LLC is a better fit for many owners than a sole proprietorship or a general partnership.

A limited liability company (LLC) also has certain tax advantages. The business itself is not responsible for taxes on its profits. Instead, the LLC's owners, known as "members," report their share of business profit and loss on their personal tax returns, similar to tax reporting for a general partnership. This is known as "pass-through" taxation.

The LLC Advantage

In short, there are many benefits of a limited liability company, including:

  • 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.
  • 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 comparison chart.

How to LLC a Business

Creating an LLC with The Company Corporation takes less than 10 minutes. All you need to do is decide the following:

  • Business structure
  • State you will operate business in
  • Company name

From there, The Company Corporation can walk you through every step of the process at your convenience, either online or by telephone. We have multiple packages and options to choose from to meet your individual budget and needs.

To get started, all you need to do is choose a business structure, state, and your company name and we'll take care of the rest. Our specialists have helped more than 750,000 businesses form nationwide.

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Popular states to form an LLC in include Delaware, California, Florida, New York, Nevada, and Texas.

Limited Liability Company FAQs

What are the advantages of an LLC?

The benefits of forming an LLC include:

  • Owners have limited liability for business debts and obligations, protecting their personal savings and possessions.
  • Owners can report their share of profit and loss on their individual tax returns without filing a separate corporate tax return.
  • Owners need not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • LLCs need not hold annual meetings or record meeting minutes (though we recommend it).

How to get an LLC? Form your LLC online in minutes or contact a Business Specialist at 800-818-6082 (toll-free) or 302-636-5440.

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How does forming an LLC help protect my personal assets?

Unlike sole proprietorships and partnerships, LLCs allow their owners to separate and protect their personal assets from business debts and liabilities. A sole proprietor or general partner remains personally liable for business obligations, leaving their home, car, and personal savings at risk.

In contrast, forming an LLC creates a business structure separate from its owners. In a properly formed and managed LLC, only business assets remain at risk in a judgment against the company. Owners can protect their personal savings and possessions from business debts.

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How are LLC profits taxed?

Like a sole proprietorship or partnership, an LLC enjoys pass-through taxation. This means that owners (also known as "members") report their share of profits or losses in the company on their individual tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not assess taxes on the company itself. This avoids the "double taxation" that general, or "C," corporations experience. In a C corporation, the IRS taxes profits at the corporate level and dividends at the shareholder level.

When creating an LLC, owners need not distribute profits and losses in the LLC in proportion to ownership (pursuant to IRS guidelines). The owners of an LLC can agree to allocate the company's profits and losses among themselves however they see fit, not necessarily based on the percentage of the company each owner controls.

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How does an LLC compare to a C Corporation?

For many small business owners, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) offers advantages over a "C" corporation (also known as a "general" corporation). Creating an LLC combines the tax advantages of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the liability protection of a corporation.

The IRS taxes the profits of a C corporation at corporate tax rates. Then, if the C corporation pays dividends to shareholders, the IRS taxes those dividends a second time at the personal income tax rates of the shareholders. The LLC business structure avoids this "double taxation." The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider an LLC itself a taxable entity. Instead, the company's earnings "pass through" to the owners, who report their share of profits or losses on their individual tax returns.

Small business owners who want the flexible structure of an LLC but the advantages of corporate taxation can elect corporate taxation for their LLC. To elect corporate taxation, owners file Form 8832, "Tax Classification Election," with the IRS. Electing this status may also make an LLC eligible for certain deductions available only to corporations. For specific guidance, small business owners should consult their accountant or tax advisor regarding this election.

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How does an LLC compare to an S Corporation?

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) and the Subchapter S Corporation ("S Corp") share the benefit of pass-through taxation. This means that owners in the company report their share of profits and losses on each owner's individual tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assesses no separate tax on the company itself. In contrast, "double taxation" occurs when the IRS taxes both a C Corporation's profit and dividends paid to shareholders.

Despite the similarity of pass-through taxation, an LLC formation can offer advantages over an S Corporation:

  • Not required to hold annual meetings or record meeting minutes (though we recommend it)
  • LLC owners need not worry about the formalities of issuing stock, since an LLC does not have stock
  • No limit to the number of owners
  • LLC owners need not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
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What is a Series LLC?

A Series LLC consists of a Limited Liability Company with more than one series of members, managers, or LLC interests. In some cases, a series LLC can have a separate business purpose or investment objective. For years, Delaware law has permitted an LLC to register separate series. Use of this structure remains uncommon due to uncertainty over federal income tax consequences. Advantages include:

  • The Series LLC permits separate liability-insulated divisions within a single entity.
  • A Series LLC could be used as a holding company owning intangible assets, or tangible assets such as real estate, or as an operating company conducting different lines of business.
  • The Series LLC reduces costs associated with forming and maintaining multiple LLCs.

Other states that have enacted statutes permitting the formation and registration of series LLCs include Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. To form a series LLC, contact a Business Specialist at 800-818-6082 (toll-free) or 302-636-5440

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What state should I form my LLC in?

Most businesses form LLCs in the state in which they primarily operate. Advantages of choosing your home state include:

  • Typically the least complicated option
  • Usually costs less than forming your LLC in a different state and registering with your home state
  • Avoids paying franchise taxes and filing annual reports in more than one state

Many companies conduct business throughout the U.S. and abroad. An LLC with business locations in multiple states may form an LLC in a single state and then register to do business in the additional states. This means that companies must formally register, file annual reports, and pay annual fees to conduct business in multiple states.

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How do I form an LLC?

The Company Corporation can walk you through the process of your LLC formation either online or by telephone. Customers usually find our LLC formation services less expensive than those of an attorney. We have multiple packages and options to choose from to meet your individual budget and needs.

Creating an LLC takes less than 10 minutes. You simply need to choose a business structure, state, and your company name. We take care of the rest. Our experts have formed more than 300,000 businesses nationwide.

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What do I need to do to maintain my LLC?

Nearly all states require LLCs to file annual reports or pay franchise taxes to maintain the company's good standing. The Secretary of State may forward a renewal notice directly to your company or to your Registered Agent. Failure to file reports and pay franchise taxes by the state deadline can result in fines, notices, and the inability to conduct business.

State laws do not require LLCs to hold annual meetings or record meeting minutes. However, we recommend that LLCs update their records at least annually to reflect any changes in management or activities.

Almost all state, county, and local governments require LLCs to complete business license, permit, and tax registration applications before beginning to operate. Learn more about how our Business License Compliance Package can help your company.

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Can I use The Company Corporation as a Registered Agent?

Yes, you can! We are happy to receive your legal documents and forward them to the person you designate as your legal contact. By creating your LLC online and using The Company Corporation as your registered agent, you are provided peace of mind. The registered agent services is also included free for the first six months or a year, depending on the package you select.

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If I buy a package but want to customize and add services, is that possible?

Absolutely! Our advanced services are available for an additional fee with any of the lower packages. The additional services and resources available include an LLC Operating Agreement, a Legal and Tax reference library, the filing of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS, and more!

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I need additional help – can you give me more guidance?

We'd be happy to serve you. Even though you are forming your LLC online, any of our packages has the option of adding a one-on-one business coaching arrangement. For a simple fee, you'll have someone who can help you keep your LLC in good standing, protect yourself, and run a successful business.

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I had some legal questions come up. Can you assist?

Unfortunately The Company Corporation is not qualified to give legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for any legal issues that arise with your LLC or business operations.

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What to Expect After Placing Your Order

  • We will complete the state-required forms and submit them to the Secretary of State.
    • This is done within 24-48 hours of when you place your order.
    • If your signature is required on the documents, we will email them to you and arrange for your signature. (Some states permit online formations without signatures.)
    • In some instances we may need to verify your personal information, the company directors' information, or, in the case of an LLC, members' information, before forming the entity.
  • The documents are filed at the Secretary of State's office or its equivalent. Turnaround time varies from state to state.
  • Once the Secretary of State issues evidence of filing, we will review the documentation and notify you that an electronic copy of the evidence is ready to be downloaded.
  • If you choose to receive a hard copy of your evidence, we will send it to you via FedEx.
  • If your package includes a Corporate Kit, you will receive your Corporate Kit as a separate package via FedEx.

Some Additional Benefits to Consider

Benefit #1: Cost Savings

Forming an LLC with a lawyer has been the traditional route. However, with new technology and an abundance of state information available online, if you create your LLC online with The Company Corporation, you can generally save significant money over hiring a lawyer. Under your direction, we complete the state-required forms, send them to you for review, and then submit them to the Secretary of State, all for less than what an attorney would usually charge.

Benefit #2: Time Savings

Traditionally, the process of completing the forms and filing with the state can take days or weeks. Today, by forming an online LLC with The Company Corporation, you can achieve huge time savings. The filing of needed documents is normally done within 24-48 hours of your order. Of course, we can't control the state's turnaround time, but we promise that you won't be waiting on us. When the Secretary of State issues the evidence of filing, we'll email it to you right away – no waiting for an appointment or paying for our time. If you need a hard copy, we'll send it to you via FedEx.

Benefit #3: Online Compliance Watch

All of our formation packages include free access to Compliance Watch, a state-of-the-art online LLC tool that will help you keep your business in compliance with all state requirements. We provide secure online document storage, a comprehensive to-do list that will make sure you don't miss any steps, a one-stop online business profile, and we make it easy to make payments and track your orders.

Benefit #4: $50,000 Corporate Veil GuaranteeTM

A 'corporate veil' is the shielding you get from forming an LLC or corporation. This shield protects your shareholders or the LLC's partners from personal liability for the debts or actions of the business. When you use The Company Corporation to form your LLC online, we will process your paperwork for you. Then just follow our step-by-step checklist to keep your veil strong and qualify for the guarantee. If your company is sued and you are held personally liable because your corporate veil is pierced, we will reimburse legal defense fees up to $50,000.

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