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Business Entities: Corporations

This is the last of our four-part series on Business Entities.

Today, we will cover Corporations.



A corporation is a body –it is a legal person in the eyes of the law.  Which means it can bring lawsuits, buy and sell property, contract, be taxed, and even commit crimes.  The most notable feature of a corporation: a corporation protects its owners from personal liability for corporate debts and obligations –within limits.

Of all the entities, corporations are the most formal.  The shareholders, director’s, officer’s, and managers must observe particular formalities in operating and administering the corporation.  For example, decisions regarding a corporation’s management must often be made by formal vote and must be recorded in the corporate minutes.  Meetings of shareholders and director’s must be properly noticed and must meet quorum requirements.  Corporations must meet annual reporting requirements in their state of incorporation and in states where they do significant business.

Advantages of the Corporation

  • Owners are protected from personal liability for company debts and obligations
  • Corporations have a reliable body of legal precedent to guide owners and managers
  • A corporation is the best vehicle for eventually public companies
  • Corporations can more easily raise capital through the sale of securities
  • Corporations can easily transfer ownership through the transfer of securities
  • A corporation can have an unlimited life
  • Corporations can create tax benefits under certain circumstances, but note that C corporations may be subject to “double taxation” of profits


Disadvantages of the Corporation

  • Corporations require annual meetings and require owners and director’s to observe certain formalities
  • Corporations are more expensive to set up than partnerships and sole proprietorships
  • Corporations require periodic filings with the state and annual fees


 This concludes our Business Entities series of  posts.  I hope this has been helpful to you.  If you feel your business is the incorrect entity, see your CPA and or attorney immediately.

Limited Liability Corporations (LLC)

This is the third of a four-part series on Business Entities.


Limited Liability Corporations

The LLC is often described as a hybrid business form.  It combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax treatment and ease of administration of a partnership.  As the name suggests, it offers liability protection to its owners from company debts and liabilities.  Most of the laws governing this type of business were passed in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the United States.

The cost of setting up an LLC is roughly the same as setting up a corporation. 

If the company grows too large for an LLC, it is easily converted to a corporation. 

Advantages of the LLC


  • LLCs do not require annual meetings and require few ongoing formalities
  • Owners are protected from personal liability for company debts and obligations
  • LLCs enjoy partnership-style, pass-through taxation, which is favorable to many small businesses


Disadvantages of the LLC

  • LLCs do not have a reliable body of legal precedent to guide owners and managers, although LLC law is becoming more reliable
  • An LLC is not an appropriate vehicle for businesses seeking to become public eventually or to raise money in the capital markets
  • LLCs are more expensive to set up than are partnerships
  • LLCs usually require annual fees and periodic filings with the state
  • Some states do not allow the organization of LLCs for certain professional vocations


Next up:  Corporations

Business Entity: Partnerships

 This is the second part of a four-part blog series


Partnerships are formed when two or more people carry on as co-owners of a business for profit.  Partnerships are often formed with nothing more than a hand-shake.  However, responsible partners will seek to have their partnership arrangement memorialized in a partnership agreement with an attorney.

How Partnerships are Managed

The partner that has the majority of the percentage of the business generally rules.  The other partners go along with the majority owner.  Partnerships do not require formal meetings of their partners like corporations do.  Overall, the management and administrative operation of partnership is relatively simple.  Like sole proprietorships, partnerships often grow and graduate to LLC or corporate status.

Varieties of Partnerships

There are several varieties of partnerships and they range from the general partnership to the limited liability partnership.

The General Partnership

The standard partnership, by default, is call the general partnership.  General partnerships are the simplest of all partnerships.  In a general partnership, all partners share in the management of the entity and share in the entity’s profits.  Matters of running the business are decided by the majority of the partners. All partner’s are responsible for the liabilities of the general partnership.

The Limited Partnership

The limited partnership is more complex than the general partnership.  The limited partnership is owned by two classes of partner; general partners manage the enterprise and are personally liable for its debts: limited partners contribute capital and share in the profits but normally do no participate in the management of the enterprise.

Limited partnerships seem to be on the edge of extinction because of the limited liability company.  Both the Limited partnership and the limited liability company share partnership-style taxation and partnership-style management but the LLC offers greater liability protection because it extends liability protection to all of its managers. 

The Limited Liability Partnership

Another form of partnership is the limited liability partnership.  A limited liability partnership is one composed of licensed professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, or architects.  The partners in the LLP may enjoy personal liability protection for the acts of other partners, but each partner remains liable for his or her own actions.  State laws generally require a LLP to maintain generous insurance policies or cash reserves to pay claims brought against the LLP.

As you can imagine, the complexity of this form of partnership is full of legalities and are best covered by a qualified attorney.

Advantages of the Partnership

  • Owners can start partnerships relatively easily and inexpensively
  • Partnerships do not require annual meetings and require few ongoing formalities
  • Partnerships offer favorable taxation for smaller businesses
  • Partnerships often do not have to pay minimum taxes that are required of LLC’s and corporations

 Disadvantages of the Partnership

  • All owners are subject to unlimited personal liability for the debts, losses, and liabilities of the business (except in the cases of limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships)
  • Individual partners bear responsibility for the actions of other partners
  • Poorly organized partnerships and oral partnerships can lead to disputes among owners

 Note:  An S-Corp is considered a corporation with different tax liabilities


Next up:  Limited Liability Company (LLC)

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