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:
Unlimited company (or Welsh (cwmni) anghyfyngedig). There is no limit on the liability of its members. It is not a requirement under company law to add or state the word or designation Unlimited or its abbreviations (Unltd., or Ultd.) at the ending of its legal company name, and most such companies do not do so. Unlimited companies are exempted from filing accounts with the Registrar of Companies for public disclosure, subject to a few exceptions (unless the company was a qualified subsidiary or a parent of a limited company during the accounting period).
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.
Washington "corporation", "incorporated", "company", or "limited", or the abbreviation "corp.", "inc.", "co.", or "ltd."; must not include "Bank", "banking", "banker", "trust", "cooperative", or any combination of the words "industrial" and "loan", or any combination of any two or more of the words "building", "savings", "loan", "home", "association", and "society" § 23B.04.010 Revised Code of Washington
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.
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