Advantageous of an LLC?
- Choice of tax regime. An LLC can elect to be taxed as a sole proprietor, partnership, S corporation or C corporation (as long as they would otherwise qualify for such tax treatment), providing for a great deal of flexibility.
- A limited liability company with multiple members that elects to be taxed as partnership may specially allocate the members’ distributive share of income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit via the company operating agreement on a basis other than the ownership percentage of each member so long as the rules contained in Treasury Regulation (26 CFR) 1.704-1 are met. S corporations may not specially allocate profits, losses and other tax items under US tax law.
- Limited liability, meaning that the owners of the LLC, called “members”, are protected from some or all liability for acts and debts of the LLC depending on state shield laws.
- Much less administrative paperwork and record keeping than a corporation.
- Pass-through taxation (i.e., no double taxation), unless the LLC elects to be taxed as a C corporation.
- Using default tax classification, profits are taxed personally at the member level, not at the LLC level.
- LLCs in most states are treated as entities separate from their members, whereas in other jurisdictions case law has developed deciding LLCs are not considered to have separate legal standing from their members (see recent D.C. decisions).
- LLCs in some states can be set up with just one natural person involved.
- Less risk to be “stolen” by fire-sale acquisitions (more protection against “hungry” investors).
- For real estate companies, each separate property can be owned by its own, individual LLC, thereby shielding not only the owners, but their other properties from cross-liability.
- Although there is no statutory requirement for an operating agreement in most states, members of a multiple member LLC who operate without one may run into problems. Unlike state laws regarding stock corporations, which are very well developed and provide for a variety of governance and protective provisions for the corporation and its shareholders, most states do not dictate detailed governance and protective provisions for the members of a limited liability company. Thus, in the absence of such statutory provisions, the members of an LLC must establish governance and protective provisions pursuant to an operating agreement or similar governing document.
- It may be more difficult to raise financial capital for an LLC as investors may be more comfortable investing funds in the better-understood corporate form with a view toward an eventual IPO. One possible solution may be to form a new corporation and merge into it, dissolving the LLC and converting into a corporation.
- Many states, including Alabama, California, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, levy a franchise tax or capital values tax on LLCs. (Beginning in 2007, Texas has replaced its franchise tax with a “margin tax”.) In essence, this franchise or business privilege tax is the fee the LLC pays the state for the benefit of limited liability. The franchise tax can be an amount based on revenue, an amount based on profits, or an amount based on the number of owners or the amount of capital employed in the state, or some combination of those factors, or simply a flat fee, as in Delaware. Effective in Texas for 2007 the franchise tax is replaced with the Texas Business Margin Tax. This is paid as: tax payable = revenues minus some expenses with an apportionment factor. In most states, however, the fee is nominal and only a handful charge a tax comparable to the tax imposed on corporations.
- The District of Columbia considers LLCs to be taxable entities, thus eliminating the benefit of flow-through taxes by subjecting members to double taxation.Typically, LLCs will choose to be taxed as a partnership to avoid double taxation, which occurs in corporations. This allows companies to distribute their income among members who then report it on their personal tax returns.
- Renewal fees may also be higher. Maryland, for example, charges a stock or nonstock corporation $120 for the initial charter, and $100 for an LLC. The fee for filing the annual report the following year is $300 for stock corporations and LLC, and zero for non-stock corporations. In addition, certain states, such as New York, impose a publication requirement upon formation of the LLC which requires that the members of the LLC publish a notice in newspapers in the geographic region that the LLC will be located that it is being formed. For LLCs located in major metropolitan areas (e.g. New York City), the cost of publication can be significant.
- The management structure of an LLC may be unfamiliar to many. Unlike corporations, they are not required to have a board of directors or officers. (This could also be seen as an advantage to some.)
- Taxing jurisdictions outside the US are likely to treat a US LLC as a corporation, regardless of its treatment for US tax purposes, for example if a US LLC does business outside the US or a resident of a foreign jurisdiction is a member of a US LLC.
- The principals of LLCs use many different titles—e.g., member, manager, managing member, managing director, chief executive officer, president, and partner. As such, it can be difficult to determine who actually has the authority to enter into a contract on the LLC’s behalf.
- A Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC, P.L.L.C., or P.L.) is a limited liability company organized for the purpose of providing professional services. Usually, professions where the state requires a license to provide services, such as a doctor, chiropractor, lawyer, accountant,architect, landscape architect, or engineer, require the formation of a PLLC. However, some states, such as California, do not permit LLCs to engage in the practice of a licensed profession. Exact requirements of PLLCs vary from state to state. Typically, a PLLC’s members must all be professionals practicing the same profession. In addition, the limitation of personal liability of members does not extend to professional malpractice claims.
- A Series LLC is a special form of a Limited liability company that allows a single LLC to segregate its assets into separate series. For example, a series LLC that purchases separate pieces of real estate may put each in a separate series so if the lender forecloses on one piece of property, the others are not affected.