Many business owners are usually faced with deciding whether to incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or S Corporation (S Corp) due to the nature of their business, ownership, employees etc. It’s advisable to contact an accountant to help you with making the right choice depending on your organization’s situation. We however have a few pointers here to help you understand how they both work to help you make an informed decision.
LLC and S Corporations both have limited liability protections for their owners. Owning a business as a sole proprietor gives an opportunity for business creditors to reach your personal assets that do not have anything to do with your business. As an LLC or S Corporation, your business is a separate entity, responsible for its debts, liabilities and obligations.
S Corps and LLC’s both offer their owners pass-through taxation with federal income taxes. This means the income and losses of the business are not taxed at the company level, but passed through to the owners to be reported on their individual tax returns. This avoids “double taxation” which is typical for C Corporations, since the corporations and shareholders are taxed at the company level.
There’s some additional flexibility when it comes to managing an LLC. S Corps and C Corps have corporation laws that have more guidelines regarding the management of the company compared to LLC’s. LLC’s have more flexibility to split and allocate financial interests among its members, S Corp’s profits however must usually be allocated based on ownership percentage. S Corporations can only have certain types of shareholders and are usually restricted to having less than 100 shareholders. Violating these rules can lead to many unwanted issues.
LLC’s can however achieve pass-through taxation status without those restrictions and offer more income tax choices in how your company is taxed. There’s an option to have your LLC taxed as a C Corp or S Corp, but we’d recommend discussing with your accountant.
S Corp Advantages
S Corporations offer the options to receive both salary and dividend, which could keep your taxes lower. LLC owners however pay self employment taxes, which can result in higher taxes. S Corps are also easy to convert into C Corps, with the process simply involving the filling of a form with the IRS. LLC’s on the other hand have a more complex process to convert into C Corp. S Corps typically also get outside funding more than LLC’s, as some investors and banks prefer to invest in corporations over LLC’s.
LLC’s and S Corporations both have their advantages, you may prefer to have more flexibility in running the company and allocating profits as you wish, which would lead to you to incorporate as a LLC. Contrarily, you might want earnings distributed proportionately to members, prefer to earn a salary instead of self-employment income and plan to seek funding later on. This would lead you to incorporate as an S Corporation.
The best way to determine what best suits you is to talk to an accountant like one of our professionals at Motl Accounting.