We are excited to bring you another post in our monthly FAQ series! This month, our CEO Nellie Akalp is answering questions about one of the hottest entity types for small businesses – the LLC. What are the requirements of filing an LLC? What are the benefits? Read on to find out!

Q: What are the benefits of forming an LLC?

A: In an LLC, the owner’s personal assets are shielded from business liabilities just as they would be in a corporation. In addition, the IRS views the LLC as a “disregarded entity.” Thus, an LLC does not file separate taxes; company profits and losses flow through to the owners and are subject to each owner’s individual tax rates. The LLC is great for a business that wants liability protection, but seeks minimal formality. It’s also the perfect structure for a business with foreign owners since anyone (C Corp, S Corp, another LLC, a trust, or an estate) can be an owner of an LLC.

Q: Do I need to prepare an Operating Agreement to form an LLC?

A: You’re not required to create an operating agreement in order to form an LLC, but in many states you will be required to keep an operating agreement at your place of business to maintain your corporate compliance. And even if your state does not require a formal operating agreement, it can be an important document to help clarify verbal agreements between owners and prevent misunderstandings.

Q: What is an Operating Agreement?

A: The Operating Agreement is an official contract that spells out the management and ownership of the LLC. It can outline details like how much of the company each member owns, everyone’s voting rights; how profits and losses should be distributed among the members; and what happens when someone wants to leave the business.

Q: Do I need to submit my LLC’s Operating Agreement?

A: You’re not required to submit a formal operating agreement to the state or any other entity. But, most states do require that an LLC has an operating agreement in place and kept at their place of business.

Q: Are there any differences between how an LLC and S Corporation are taxed?

A: Both the LLC and S Corporation can be taxed on a pass-through basis; taxes aren’t paid on the entity level, but at the individual owner level. Profits and losses are passed through and reported on the individual’s tax return. While both LLCs and S Corporations are pass-through entities, there are a few differences.

One difference is that the income of an LLC flows to the members involved with the business and is subject to self-employment tax. With an S Corporation, only salaries are subject to self-employment tax; any distributions that are paid out to members are not subject to self-employment tax.

Another key difference is that the LLC offers a lot more flexibility in terms of how owners can be taxed. With the S Corporation, owners must be taxed based on their pro rata ownership interests; if you own 50% of the business, then you’re taxed on 50% of the company’s profits. With an LLC, owners can determine their allocations for the year and be taxed accordingly.

Q: Can one person form an LLC?

A: Yes, all states allow one member LLCs.

Q: Does an LLC have stockholders?

A: No. LLCs are not permitted to issue stock in any state. Only corporations (C- or S-Corporations) can issue stock.

Q: How is an LLC structured?

A: LLCs have members – these are the owners of the LLC and are similar to stockholders in a corporation. Members typically receive an ownership stake in the LLC commensurate with their investment (either financial investment or ‘sweat equity’). In addition, members choose a manager to manage the LLC – this position is similar to a director of a corporation. A manager can be a member or could be someone from outside the LLC.

Q: Does an LLC need to hold an annual meeting?

A: No state requires an LLC to hold an annual meeting. This is one of the benefits of the LLC – it has fewer formalities than a corporation. However, if your LLC’s operating agreement requires an annual meeting (or other meetings), then you’ll need to hold such meetings in order to stay compliant. Many owners choose to make meetings optional in the operating agreement.

Q: What’s the difference between an LLC and PLLC?

A: In many states, licensed professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, architects, and accountants, aren’t allowed to form LLCs. Instead, these professionals can form a PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company). One of the key differences between an LLC and PLLC is that members of the PLLC must be licensed professionals, and you’ll need to show proof of a valid license to register the PLLC. In most cases, members of a PLLC are personally liable for their own malpractice claims, but aren’t personally liable for another professional’s malpractice claims.

Do you need help registering an LLC or have a questions regarding the process? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638