Despite being a relatively new option, the limited liability company (LLC) is now one of the most popular business structures among smaller organizations. While allowing business owners to remain free from a great deal of the regulations imposed on other types of companies, it still provides limited liability protection for its owners (members). This means that the personal assets of an LLC's ownership cannot be collected to fulfill the debts of the business.
When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file. The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Legal and tax considerations enter into selecting a business structure.
All formal business entities, including LLCs, are required to have a Registered Agent on file with the state at all times. The agent may be an individual or company with a physical address located in the state of incorporation. Agents must be available at all times during standard business hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). The role of a Registered Agent is to receive any and all of communications from the government to the business. The agent’s name and address must be disclosed as part of the company’s public record.
If the LLC will be Manager governed, an elected set of Managers (who can be people other than Members), will make the business decisions. Under this structure, the business will more closely resemble a traditional corporation, with the Managers acting as directors, and the owners acting as shareholders. If an LLC elects to be governed by Managers, this decision must be stated in the Articles of Organization.
All formal business entities, including LLCs, are required to have a Registered Agent on file with the state at all times. The agent may be an individual or company with a physical address located in the state of incorporation. Agents must be available at all times during standard business hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). The role of a Registered Agent is to receive any and all of communications from the government to the business. The agent’s name and address must be disclosed as part of the company’s public record.
LLCs are typically taxed on a pass through basis, much like general partnerships. As pass through entities, the profits and losses of LLCs are passed on to the individual owners and are reflected on the owner’s personal income tax returns. Alternatively, LLCS may elect to be taxed as S corporations to potentially reduce the self-employment taxes imposed on the owners.

For businesses in industries like construction or real estate, where unforeseen circumstances and hazardous conditions may hold the owner responsible, consider starting an LLC. The protection gained means you will not be held personally liable, protecting you and your family from litigation or the debts of the business. An LLC may not be the best choice for business owners who plan on raising capital through outside investment. LLCs are not public structures and do not have shareholders, so taking a company public is not an option either. However, in the event that you'd like to take your business public you may switch to a public legal structure, like a C corporation, later on.

LLCs have fewer ongoing requirements compared to their corporation counterparts. For example, an LLC is not required to keep minutes or hold annual meetings. An LLC also does not have a board of directors, and isn't is held to the same record keeping standards of a corporation. Keep in mind that the state of incorporation in will have its own set of annual requirements. That includes filing the required business licenses and permits, which vary from state to state. Be sure to check in with your Secretary of State to ensure you don't accidentally miss any required filings.


LLC, LC, Ltd. Co., Limited Liability Company: a form of business whose owners enjoy limited liability, but which is not a corporation. Allowable abbreviations vary by state. Note that in some states Ltd. by itself is not a valid abbreviation for an LLC, because in some states (e.g. Texas), it may denote a corporation instead. See also Series LLC. For U.S. federal tax purposes, in general, an LLC with two or more members is treated as a partnership, and an LLC with one member is treated as a sole proprietorship.
Limited liability companies can raise money via banks and investors but cannot sell stocks. S-Corps can get loans from banks, as well as distribute stock to up to 100 people. C-Corps have the easiest time raising capital as there is no cap on how many people can own stock. Non-Profits can both get loans and receive tax-deductible donations. Sole Proprietorships can occasionally receive bank loans but cannot sell stocks.
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
Company limited by guarantee not having a share capital – Public company. Must have at least seven members. Members' liability limited to amount they have undertaken to contribute to company assets. If wound up, liability does not exceed amount specified in memorandum. If a guarantee company does not have a share capital, members are not required to buy shares (such as charities).
Filing a limited liability company separates your personal assets from those of your business. This prevents you from being financially responsible for debts and liabilities of your business. Even though members are still liable, that liability is limited to the extent of their investments in the business. If, for instance, your company is involved in a lawsuit, the assets of the LLC itself could be in jeopardy, while the personal assets of the members/owners would be protected.
Limited liability companies must pay state fees during the incorporation process. These fees can be deducted from taxes. S-Corps must pay state fees to legally incorporate. These fees can be deducted from taxes. C-Corps must pay state fees to become legally recognized. These fees can be deducted from taxes. Non-Profits pay state fees when they incorporate. These fees can be deducted from taxes. Since Sole Proprietorships aren't incorporated entities, they don't pay formation or compliance fees.
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.
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