Many people are confused about how to list their business. Many think that one type provides more protection from lawsuits, when in fact, both offer protection against liability for business obligations.
LLC stands for limited liability company and Inc. is an indication that a business is a corporation. The difference between LLC and Inc. is the way in which each is owned, managed and taxed, along with reporting requirements and record-keeping methods.
Owners of an LLC are called members instead of shareholders. Each member holds a specific percentage of the company called a membership interest. If an LLC wants to transfer shares/percentages, it’s more difficult. In some states, unless otherwise specified, if an LLC member leaves the organization, the LLC must be dissolved.
In contrast, a corporation issues shares of its stock to owners that are called shareholders. Transferring stock is a relatively simple process. If a stockholder leaves or sells their stock, it typically has little impact on the corporation’s future operations.
The taxation structure in an LLC is flexible. If a single person owns the LLC, they’re taxed as a sole proprietorship. LLCs owned by multiple members are taxed as a partnership. An LLC can be taxed as a C or S corporation. The difference is that a C represents a business entity and the S is a tax classification used to protect assets from double taxation. Profits can be claimed on the owner’s individual tax return.
Corporations are taxed as C corporations by default, pay income taxes on corporate profits, and shareholders pay tax on dividends they receive. If the corporation chooses to be classified as a C corporation, stockholders avoid being double taxed and the corporation doesn’t pay corporate income taxes – providing it meets specific requirements.
LLCs can be managed by its members or a managerial group. A corporation has a board of directors that makes rules, policies, and oversees the way its run. Officers manage day-to-day affairs and shareholders typically aren’t involved in the day-to-day operations.
Records and Reporting
An LLC has less formal record keeping requirements than corporations. They may be required to adhere to a standard of minimal record keeping and the entity doesn’t have to file annal reports. Corporations are required to hold an annual shareholder’s meeting and provide notice of the meeting. Minutes of the meeting must be kept and corporations may be required to file annal reports.
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