Which Business Structure is Right For You?

Which Business Structure is Right For You?Before going ahead with that new business plan for your start-up, ensure you know all legalities involved, especially the different types of business structures available. The law surrounding each entity can differ from state to state (and country to country!) but generally the rules and regulations are quite similar. However, it is a good idea to seek legal advice beforehand so you are fully aware of the risks involved.  Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of starting up a business as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership.

Starting up as a… Corporation (equivalent to a limited company)

Setting up a corporation can be the preferred (and most beneficial) structure for employers looking to take on a large team of staff and have maximum legal protection. This type of business structure is owned by shareholders and has a board of directors.

Pros: A corporation is its own separate legal entity and is responsible for its own debt in insolvent situations, like administration or liquidation. This means, you, as a director, are protected if the corporation struggles financially.

It’s important to remember that the business owes money, not the director. If, however, directors have acted fraudulently, they will be exposed to the corporation’s liability.

Cons: There can be a lot of paperwork and filing of accounts when setting up a corporation, however this ensures everything is kept up to date and regulations as well as compliance are met. There are also higher tax fees which leads to more expensive accountancy fees.

Starting up as a… Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a business structure that has more flexibility when it comes to taxes and regulations and is usually a good fit for small businesses. LLCs are owned by its members.

Pros: Like a corporation, you are protected against personal liability if the company enters insolvency. There is less paperwork to do as the structure is based around an informal agreement can be made when starting up and often adapted later on. An LLC can also choose how the business should be taxed

Cons: This type of entity is a fairly new structure and could be less favored than that of the ‘wise’ corporation structure. With perhaps an unfamiliar set up, investors may be more reluctant to lend.

Starting up as a… Partnership

As the name suggests, this business structure is set up with two or more partners and follows different common laws across the nation. However, there are some general rules that apply.

Pros: As structures get smaller in business size, so does the paperwork and filing of accounts. There are also fewer taxes to pay.

Cons: The big disadvantage of being in a partnership is you are personally liable for the partnership’s debt if the business falls in financial difficulty. Every partner is responsible for the entire debt, so if one partner is unable to afford the debt, creditors will look to the next partner and so on. Before going into this kind of business, drawing up a contract deeming who is liable for what is essential.

There is the option of setting up a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). This type of formation can differ in law from state to state but is similar to a partnership. It does, however, offer more legal protection to partners if LLP becomes insolvent, hence limited liability. An LLP is essentially a cross between a partnership and a limited liability company.

Remember, you can change structures down the line if you want to. If you are unsure what the best plan of action is, be sure to get legal advice specific to your situation.

Keith Steven of KSA Group Ltd has been rescuing and turning around businesses for over 20 years and has worked with insolvency firms, turnaround funds and venture capital investors. He is also author of the site www.companyrescue.co.uk.  You can follow Keith on Google+.

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What Goes into an Operating Agreement?

Operating agreements are one of the most vital, and overlooked, tools in running a limited liability company. We’ve actually covered operating agreements as part of our ‘ABCs of MyCorp’ series, but we never delved into what an operating agreement should actually say. operating agreement As a quick refresher, an operating agreement is essentially a document that defines how the LLC will be run, and the SBA recommends that every LLC draft one. The trouble is that only a couple of states, like Missouri and New York, legally require new LLCs to have an operating agreement. But without the rules, structure, and regulations an operating agreement provides, your LLC could be in serious trouble if partners disagree, a member wants to leave, or if the state starts questioning the validity of your LLC. Operating agreements are also pretty easy to draft and only need to cover a few key areas.

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LLC vs. LLP vs. Inc: How to Decide What Business Formation is Best for Your Company

LLC vs. LLP vs. Inc: How to Decide What Business Formation is Best for Your CompanyHave you ever wondered what those letters and abbreviations you see behind business names stand for? They are business formations meaning they help define the nature, taxation, and overall financial structure of a company. If you are planning to open your own business, you will need to define it as an L.L.C., L.L.P, or Inc.  Today’s post will help to define the differences between the three main types of business formations.

L.L.C. – Limited Liability Company

An LLC is a company that blends parts of a partnership and corporation structure. LLCs combine the liability nature of a corporation and the taxation structure of a partnership company. LLCs have less corporate regulations like a Board of Directors or necessary shareholders meetings. LLCs also have fewer ownership restrictions and have more choice in deciding a tax structure. LLC and LLPs are considered “pass through” tax entities, meaning that taxation is levied through the income tax of the owners as their profits are considered the income of the individuals. LLCs, like corporations, allow the benefit of separating the proprietor’s personal and business assets. This means that any personal assets not invested in the LLC will not be at risk of loss in case of bankruptcy.

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Business Basics: Limited Liability Partnership

A Limited Liability Partnership is a very interesting type of business structure. Limited Liability Companies already combine the ease of running a partnership with the protection of a corporation, and the IRS originally ruled that LLCs would be taxed as partnerships. So what is the difference between a Limited Liability Partnership and a Limited Liability Company? And which one would be the best structure for your company?Limited Liability Partnership

What is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)?

We’ll answer the easiest question first. An LLP is very similar to an LLC – both protect the company’s owners from lawsuits and debtors, and both have a pass-through tax structure, meaning anything the company earns passes through it, directly to the owners, without being subject to any corporate income tax. However, a Limited Liability Partnership offers an extra bit of liability protection to each partner. So, just like in a Professional Corporation, the other partners in an LLP will not necessarily be liable for the consequences stemming from another partner’s actions.

Do all states recognize LLPs?

Yes, though the laws recognizing LLPs vary from state to state. The majority of the states have adopted the Revised Uniform Partnership Act, which includes a provision for LLPs stating ‘An obligation of a partnership incurred while the partnership is a limited liability partnership, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, is solely the obligation of the partnership.’ In layman’s terms, that essentially means that the company, and not the individual partners, is responsible for any obligations stemming from contracts or torts. The states that haven’t adopted the RUPA instead opted for their own laws to recognize LLPs, but all follow the same basic pattern.

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How to Avoid Losing a Friend when You Become Business Partners

How to Avoid Losing a Friend when You Become Business PartnersMany of life’s burdens – big and small – are lightened with a friend for support and this lesson has not been lost in business. If you’re thinking of starting a business with a friend or family member, you’re not alone. Some of the most enduring and positive American companies were founded by a couple of friends who had an idea. They didn’t always have a lot of start-up cash, but they had each other.

  • UPS was started in 1907 by two teenagers with a single bicycle and a hundred dollars borrowed from a friend. Back then the U.S. Parcel Post wasn’t around and there was plenty of opportunity for the American Messenger Company of Seattle, Washington.
  • Ben and Jerry met in seventh-grade gym class in 1963. A decade later, they took a five-dollar correspondence course in making ice cream.
  • In 1978 two 20-something friends, John and Rene pulled together $45,000 to open what started as SaferWay and later became Whole Foods Market. Times were so hard on the friends they lived in the store and reportedly bathed using the hose disconnected from the dishwasher.

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How to Boost Consumer Trust When Launching an Online Business

Online businesses have a distinct cost advantage over brick and mortar businesses – they don’t need to rent out a storefront at a good location. Their owners can save on rent overheads by running their business out of their homes.

Businesses that have a physical presence, though, have a distinct advantage in another way – people trust them more because they can see them. People buying from physical stores know that they are there for them, should a problem turn up.

They can look at the store assistants and the manager to see if they trust them through the buying process. If there’s a quality issue, it’s always easy to go back to the store for a return or exchange. They know that storefront retailers are serious businesses. They’ve invested money in launching a store and hiring people.

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50 States of Incorporation: Arizona

Nicknamed The Grand Canyon State and infamous for its deserts and national parks, our state of the week in our 50 States of Incorporation series is Arizona. The 48th state to be admitted into the Union with Phoenix as the state capital, Arizona is also the 15th most populous of the 50 states. Companies including US Airways, PetSmart, and Cold Stone Creamery call Arizona home for their headquarters, but as revealed on CNNMoney Arizona also ranks as the most entrepreneurial state in the country, with tech, software, retail and tourism start-ups sprouting up all over the state.

With so many companies staking ground there, what’s the allure of starting a business in Arizona?  While forming an incorporation isn’t without its requirements, with the most distinctive one being that all Arizona LLC’s must have a registered agent service, some of the benefits of creating an LLC in Arizona include the following:
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How Much Capital Do You Need to Start Your Company?

The process of starting a business is usually associated with that of accumulating large sums for start-up capital and marketing campaigns. Businesses have now moved away from that sort of thinking and have found easier and more innovative ways to get their companies up and running without having to find an outrageous sum of money. This calls for a total change in the mindset of the budding entrepreneur and a level of commitment to the process.

Starting a Business with Zero Capital

This will be a challenging task with many hurdles to jump, but once you are dedicated to the process you will make it. Here are a few tips.

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Guest Post: How to Do Your Taxes if You’re a Freelancer

This article was originally printed on LearnVest.com.

You’re free! Free to sleep in until 11 a.m., free to work while your adorable toddler plays at your feet, free to … keep really good records of all your expenses for your taxes.

We know. Not so fun. The reality is, being self-employed can be awesome for 11 months out of the year, and then come crashing down on your head in the form of lost receipts and unpaid estimated taxes in April. We want to save you from that sinking feeling. Read on for what every freelancer needs to know for your taxes.

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MyCorp Presents: Notable Changes in 2013 Tax Law

What taxes will go up and what kinds of tax breaks for small business can you expect to see extended in 2013? We did the legwork for you today on notable changes you can expect to see for 2013′s tax law.

For some, Income Taxes will go up in 2013 – Small businesses that have a pass through structure – an LLC, S-Corp, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship – may be affected by the increase in income tax as whatever profits the business takes in translates into their income. However, this will only affect those in the highest income bracket.

  • If you are single and make more than $400k a year, or married and make more than $450k, you will be subject to a rather large tax rate increase from 35% to 39.6%. All other income brackets will be taxed at previous, Bush-era tax rates. Continue reading
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