Your business may be your pride and joy, but it’s also probably your greatest financial risk. If you’re starting a business or considering growing the one you have, you’ll want to take steps to protect your personal assets from potential liability.
One LLC formation structure that can help limit your personal liability is an LLC. Read on for more information about this business entity and why you should form an LLC.
What is an LLC?
LLC stands for limited liability company. It’s a type of business structure that allows you to separate your business and its assets from your personal finances. That means if your business gets sued, creditors can’t go after your personal assets to pay damages.
An LLC is one of the most common types of Small Business Structures because it provides the owner(s) of the company with limited liability protection. An LLC is a hybrid between a corporation and a sole proprietorship.
Like a corporation, it has shareholders (owners) and a board of directors that oversee the company and make decisions. Like a sole proprietorship, it does not have shareholders and does not issue stock.
An LLC can be set up with one owner or multiple owners. In addition to limiting liability, an LLC might also be taxed less than a corporation.
Why Form an LLC?
If your business is likely to generate any revenue, it’s important to form an LLC. If you don’t, and your business is sued or incurs significant debts, you could lose everything you own.
Creditors have the ability to go after your personal assets, such as your savings and your home, in the event that your business defaults on a debt or is sued for damages.
By forming an LLC and following proper practices, you can reduce your risk of personal liability. The amount of protection you receive depends on the state you form your LLC in.
States vary in their laws and regulations, so you should research which state is the best choice to form your LLC. You can find information to help you make a decision by reading the following section.
Differences Between a Corporation and an LLC
The biggest difference between a corporation and an LLC is that the latter offers members limited liability protection.
That means if your company is sued, creditors can’t go after your personal assets to pay damages. Corporations offer some protection, but it’s not as strong as that offered by an LLC.
Another difference is that corporations issue stock, while LLCs do not. Owners of corporations are often referred to as shareholders. LLC owners are referred to as members.
One more difference is that corporations are taxed as a separate entity from their owners, while LLCs are treated as a pass-through entity. Corporations file taxes annually as a separate entity and are taxed on their annual profits.
LLCs file taxes as a pass-through entity and are taxed on the profits of the company’s members. The profits are then distributed to the members, who then pay taxes on their individual income taxes as normal.
Your state may have different rules and regulations that affect these taxes, so you should check your state’s website or talk with a business lawyer.
LLC Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of an LLC include that it protects you from personal liability, you can make your own decisions about how the company operates and it can help you with getting financing.
Disadvantages of an LLC include that it can be more costly to set up and run than a sole proprietorship and you might have to pay taxes on your income even if you don’t make a profit.
If you’re running a business, you’ll want to protect your personal assets from potential damage. One way to do this is to form an LLC.
An LLC protects you from personal liability and is usually a cheaper way to start a business than forming a corporation.
As with any business structure, an LLC does have disadvantages, but it also has a lot of benefits. With the right information, you can make an informed decision about whether or not an LLC is right for your business.