The Limited Liability Company is one of the newer business forms. It is not a separate taxpaying entity. Income is reported on the owner or owner’s personal tax return. Completing the necessary documentation for the state, which is called the Articles of Organization, and paying the required fees is all that is necessary to set up an LLC. An LLC may be formed in any state. Massachusetts requires at least two members to form an LLC; all other states allow an LLC with only one member. Usually an operating agreement is drawn up such as one in a partnership, it should state the duties and obligations of the members, how the LLC will be managed and how the profits are to be divided and how member’s interests may be sold. Many people form LLCs in their home state. This may save money because you do not have to register as a “foreign LLC”. If your home state has high annual LLC fees or income taxes and your LLC does not “do business” in that state then you may want to chose to form the LLC in another state. Probably the most important advantage of an LLC is the protection of personal assets it affords its members.
A corporation or LLC affords more protection than the sole proprietorship or partnership. Creditors and legal judgments do not involve memberís personal finances. They can only lose the amount they invested. The LLC is not subjected to double taxation. Profits and losses are passed to the owners of the LLC and the owners are taxed on their tax return. Law does not require record keeping as with C and S corporations and there is flexibility in dividing assets of the business if the LLC is dissolved as well as with distribution of how profits are divided. If the LLC has only one member it can be taxed as a sole proprietor. It can also be taxed as a partnership or corporation, the owners will make personal quarterly estimates, but they only have to actually calculate and file their self-employment tax with their personal tax return. The name of persons LLC must end with the words “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “Ltd. Liability Co.”, or “Limited Liability Company”. It does not have the “prestige” of the corporation signature. The LLC is probably not a good choice for you is you intend to grow your business to the point of having many owners and becoming an IPO.