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:
Vermont "corporation", "incorporated", "company", or "limited", or the abbreviation "corp.", "inc.", "co.", or "ltd.", or words or abbreviations of like import in another language; shall not have the word "cooperative" or any abbreviation thereof as part of its name unless the corporation is a worker cooperative corporation Title 11A, § 4.01 Vermont Statutes
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.
Please note that the database does not include corporate or other business entity assumed names filed pursuant to General Business Law, §130. Assumed name filings are filed and maintained by the Division of Corporations for corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships. Although maintained by the Division of Corporations, searches of records of assumed names used by corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must be made by a written, faxed or e-mail request to the Division. All other entities such as general partnerships, sole proprietorships and limited liability partnerships file an assumed name certificate directly with the county clerk in each county in which the entity conducts or transacts business.