A business entity is an entity that is formed and administered as per corporate law in order to engage in business activities, charitable work, or other activities allowable. Most often, business entities are formed to sell a product or a service. There are many types of business entities defined in the legal systems of various countries. These include corporations, cooperatives, partnerships, sole traders, limited liability companies and other specifically permitted and labelled types of entities. The specific rules vary by country and by state or province. Some of these types are listed below, by country. For guidance, approximate equivalents in the company law of English-speaking countries are given in most cases, for example:
Corp., Inc., Corporation, Incorporated: used to denote corporations (public or otherwise). These are the only terms universally accepted by all 51 corporation chartering jurisdictions in the United States. However, in some states other suffixes may be used to identify a corporation, such as Ltd., Co./Company, or the Italian term S.p.A. (in Connecticut; see under Italy). Some states that allow the use of "Company" prohibit the use of "and Company", "and Co.", "& Company" or "& Co.". In most states sole proprietorships and partnerships may register a fictitious "doing business as" name with the word "Company" in it. For a full list of allowed designations by state, see the table below.
Maryland For Corporations: "Company", if it is not preceded by the word "and" or a symbol for the word "and"; "Corporation", "Incorporated" or "Limited" or abbreviations; for Limited liability companies: "limited liability company", "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C.", or "LC"; for Limited liability partnerships: "limited liability partnership", "L.L.P." or "LLP"; for Limited partnerships: "limited partnership", "L.P.", or "LP"; for Limited liability limited partnerships: "limited liability limited partnership", "L.L.L.P.", or "LLLP"; for Professional corporations: "chartered", "chtd.", "professional association", "P.A.", "professional corporation", or "P.C." Maryland Code – Corporations and Associations § 1-502
Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) – Public limited companies formed under EU Regulation and the Companies Acts 1963–2006. Sole object of a UCIT is collective investment in transferable securities of capital raised from the public that operates on the principle of risk-spreading. Central Bank of Ireland must approve all registrations of UCITS.
Since limited liability companies can be a pass-through entity, owners are taxed on their personal income. S-Corp shareholders are taxed personally. The S-Corp, however, is not. C-Corp income is taxed at the corporate level first, then again at the personal level. This is called "double taxation." Non-Profits are only taxed once and can write off most of their expenses. Sole Proprietors are taxed only on their personal tax return.
Limited liability companies are easy to maintain while remaining extremely flexible, so it's not surprising that it is a popular choice among businesses of all different shapes and sizes. Often, owners of an LLC are self employed or run smaller businesses, where the simplicity of pass through taxation and a lack of annual requirements makes a lot of sense. Since the profits and losses are reported directly on the owners personal tax returns, filing taxes is much easier.
Please note: We believe accurate, plain-English legal information should help you solve many of your own legal problems. But it's not a substitute for personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you want the help of a trained professional-- and we'll always point out situations in which we think that's a good idea-- consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
LLP, Limited Liability Partnership: a partnership where a partner's liability for the debts of the partnership is limited except in the case of liability for acts of professional negligence or malpractice. In some states, LLPs may only be formed for purposes of practicing a licensed profession, typically attorneys, accountants and architects. This is often the only form of limited partnership allowed for law firms (as opposed to general partnerships).
A series LLC is a form of limited liability company that provides liability protection to multiple "series". Essentially, it's a master LLC with separate divisions, each protected and operating independently. As an entity, the series LLC is geared towards businesses where investors own multiple companies, with each series being protected from the debts and obligations of the other series. Currently, only several states support this option, including Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Delaware "association", "company", "corporation", "club", "foundation", "fund", "incorporated", "institute", "society", "union", "syndicate", or "limited", (or abbreviations thereof, with or without punctuation), or words (or abbreviations thereof, with or without punctuation) of like import of foreign countries or jurisdictions (provided they are written in Roman characters or letters) Title 8, § 102, Delaware Code
All business filings were manually maintained prior to 1973. The office then began entering new filings into a computerized system. Data for businesses that were formed prior to 1973 was entered into the computerized system if they were still active at that time. The data for businesses that were not active in 1973 and have not reinstated, has been partially entered into the system. Images of approved filings were maintained on microfilm prior to 1997 when office began converting the film for all active businesses to a computerized format. Newly submitted filings since that time have been created and maintained in this computerized format.