A partnership is a business relationship entered into by a formal agreement between two or more persons or corporations carrying on a business in common. The capital for a partnership is provided by the partners who are liable for the total debts of the firms and who share the profits and losses of the business concern according to the terms of the partnership agreement.
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Limited liability companies allow for a large variety of management structures based on your specific needs. Management structures for S-Corps are largely dictated by state and federal law. Management schemas for C-Corps are largely dictated by state and federal law. NPOs need to follow strict management laws to guard their non-profit status. Since Sole Proprietorships have only one member, there is no management structure.
The first step in forming an LLC is to file your company’s Articles of Incorporation with the state in which you are looking to establish your business. Once this has been completed, it is recommended that you take the time to develop a formal set of documents that will explicitly outline the ownership and management structure of the business, as well as establish your initial bank accounts.
Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.
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.
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.
For federal tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service has separate entity classification rules. Under the tax rules, an entity may be classified as a corporation, a partnership, a cooperative or a disregarded entity. A corporation may be taxed as either a C corporation or elect to be treated as a Subchapter S corporation. A disregarded entity has one owner (or a married couple as owner) that is not recognized for tax purposes as an entity separate from its owner. Types of disregarded entities include single-member LLCs; qualified sub-chapter S subsidiaries and qualified real estate investment trust subsidiaries. A disregarded entity's transparent tax status does not affect its status under state law. For example, for federal tax purposes, a sole-member LLC (SMLLC) is disregarded, so that all its assets and liabilities are treated as owned by its single member. But under state law, an SMLLC can contract in its own name and its owner is generally not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the entity. To be recognized as a Cooperative for tax purposes Cooperatives must follow certain rules under Sub Chapter T of the Internal Revenue Code.
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