There are several types of small business structures to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of business structures include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), S corporations, and C corporations.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common type of business structure, where a single individual owns and operates the business. This structure has the advantage of being easy and inexpensive to set up, but the owner is personally liable for the business's debts and obligations.
A partnership is a business structure where two or more people share ownership and profits of the business. There are two types of partnerships: general partnerships, where each partner is equally responsible for the business's debts and obligations, and limited partnerships, where there is at least one general partner and one limited partner, with the limited partner having limited liability for the business's debts and obligations.
An LLC is a hybrid business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits of a partnership. It is a separate legal entity from its owners, which means that the owners are not personally liable for the business's debts and obligations. Additionally, the LLC is taxed like a partnership, which means that the income and losses of the business are passed through to the owners and taxed on their personal tax returns.
An S corporation is a tax status that a corporation can elect to be treated as, allowing it to avoid double taxation. Like an LLC, an S corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, which means that the owners are not personally liable for the business's debts and obligations. However, an S corporation has more restrictions on who can be an owner and how many owners it can have than an LLC.
A C corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, which means that the owners are not personally liable for the business's debts and obligations. Unlike an LLC or an S corporation, a C corporation is taxed as a separate entity, which means that it is subject to double taxation. However, it also has the advantage of being able to issue multiple classes of stock and raising capital through public offerings.
It is important to choose the right business structure for your small business, as it can have significant implications on your personal liability, taxes, and ability to raise capital. It is recommended to consult with a professional advisor to determine the best structure for your specific business needs.