What Is an LLC - Ultimate Guide in 2023

Unlock the Benefits of an LLC: Learn What is an LLC. Discover the advantages of forming an LLC, its flexibility, and the steps involved in creating one.
2:30 PM, Jun 30, 2023
2:30 PM, Jun 30, 2023
What is an LLC, Sponsored

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Are you dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own successful business? Before you jump into the world of entrepreneurship, there's an important decision you need to make: choosing the right legal structure for your startup. In this blog post, we'll demystify one popular business entity: the Limited Liability Company, or LLC.

As you join us on this informative journey, you'll learn about the unique advantages that an LLC offers, how it can lay a strong foundation for your entrepreneurial dreams, and why this flexible and protective structure is the top choice for many smart entrepreneurs. So, get ready to explore the exciting world of LLCs, where business aspirations meet legal protection!



What Is an LLC?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a legal business structure in the United States that combines the benefits of a corporation and a partnership. It offers limited liability protection to its owners, known as members, while also providing flexibility in management and taxation.

In an LLC, members are shielded from personal liability for the company's debts and obligations, which means that their personal assets are generally not at risk if the business faces financial or legal issues. This limited liability feature is similar to the protection offered to shareholders of a corporation.

At the same time, an LLC allows for pass-through taxation, where the company's profits and losses are passed through to the members. They report these on their personal tax returns. This avoids the double taxation that corporations can face, where both the company and its shareholders are taxed on the profits.

LLCs are relatively easy to set up and have fewer regulatory requirements compared to corporations. They can be managed by the members themselves or by appointed managers. The company's operating agreement can outline the specific roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes.

What Is an LLC: Benefits of an LLC?

Every astute business person is aware of how critical it’s to thoroughly weigh the benefits and drawbacks before making a choice. This not only ensures that you make the greatest decision for your company, but it also enables you to anticipate prospective problems and avoid them altogether.



Asset Protection

The primary benefit of having an LLC is evident in its name: limited liability protection. By using an LLC for their business, owners can safeguard their personal assets from business debts and legal actions against the company. An LLC can be owned by a single individual (referred to as a "member") or multiple members. Both businesses and individuals have the option to become members of an LLC.

Taxation Options

Compared to other company kinds, LLCs provide more tax flexibility. Whether an LLC has one member or many, its tax structure will differ. It’s automatically taxed as a sole proprietorship if there is only one member and as a partnership if there are numerous members. 

Members pay personal income tax on their earnings and record their portion of company revenue and costs on their personal tax returns. Members who participate in the business are regarded as self-employed and are responsible for paying self-employment taxes on their share of the revenue.

However, an LLC may elect to be taxed as an S-corp or C-corp if it prefers not to be treated as a sole proprietorship or partnership. Corporate taxation enables LLC owners to earn compensation like business workers, take advantage of benefit plans, and perhaps reduce their tax burden. 

In a C-corp, both the business and the owners are responsible for paying taxes on dividends received. 

The owners of an S-corp, on the other hand, pay personal income tax on their individual shares of the company's earnings since it’s a pass-through corporation and does not pay corporate tax. But not all LLCs are eligible for S-corp taxes; they have to adhere to IRS guidelines.


LLCs have the flexibility to operate without the need for annual shareholder meetings or a board of directors. 

They’re not obligated to follow the administrative requirements typically associated with corporations. Instead, the members or managers of an LLC have the freedom to organize and manage the business as they deem appropriate.

Legal Name and Credibility

Typically, state regulations prohibit the creation of a new business using a name that’s already in use. 

By forming an LLC, you not only secure the exclusive right to use your chosen name as a business entity in your state, but you also establish a public record of your name usage. Moreover, adding the "LLC" designation to your company's name can enhance the credibility of your small business.

Profit Sharing Flexibility

The flexibility a multi-member LLC affords in terms of profit distribution among its members is one of its main advantages. 

An LLC may select how its earnings are divided or even decide not to distribute them at all, unlike corporations that pay dividends depending on the number of shares held and partnerships that normally divide revenues equally. 

The IRS has certain regulations surrounding the distribution of profits, which may call for the alignment of profit sharing with ownership percentages or the demonstration of a valid economic necessity or condition. This prevents profit sharing from being used as a way to avoid paying taxes.

Minimal Compliance Requirements

LLCs are commonly regarded as less complicated and more adaptable since they’re not obligated to adhere to the same state laws and regulations as corporations.



What Is an LLC: Disadvantages of an LLC

Even if the benefits listed earlier may have all but persuaded you, shrewd company owners should be aware of the drawbacks of creating an LLC.

Self-Employment Taxes

Individuals may be required to pay more since personal income taxes are usually greater than corporation taxes when they’re submitted.

Careful Personal Records

As an LLC owner, it’s essential to diligently maintain accurate records of all your business expenses. These records must be kept entirely separate from your personal finances.

LLC Termination

An LLC is dissolved and ceases to exist if a member departs. A company, on the other hand, would endure despite changes in its shareholder base.


Separating your business and personal finances can feel overwhelming. Banks typically impose various fees and monthly costs to manage business accounts for this purpose.


In particular, for smaller enterprises, an LLC may be fairly pricey. Since the establishment and registration of an LLC are handled at the state level, the costs and regulations may vary significantly from one state to another. 

Several hundred dollars may be needed to form an LLC. In addition, several states require LLCs to submit annual reports and pay fees and taxes on a yearly basis that may run anywhere from $10 to $800 or even more.



What Is an LLC: Best LLC Formation Services


ZenBusiness is one of the best LLC services that specializes in assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners in establishing and expanding their companies. 

They provide reasonably priced and all-inclusive packages for forming limited liability companies (LLCs), which include registered agent services, annual report filing, and additional features. Additionally, ZenBusiness offers continuous assistance and valuable resources to ensure businesses remain compliant and achieve success.



Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings is a company that focuses on helping individuals form LLCs quickly and effortlessly. They provide a variety of services related to LLC formation, such as incorporation, compliance, and registered agent services. 

Swyft Filings also offers personalized assistance to guide businesses through the process of forming an LLC and ensuring they meet all state and federal requirements.



Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands is a convenient online service that assists businesses in establishing a strong and unified brand identity. With a variety of branding packages available, including logo design, business card design, and social media branding, Tailor Brands provides businesses with all the necessary tools to create a professional and cohesive brand. 

Additionally, Tailor Brands offers a comprehensive suite of design tools and resources, empowering businesses to customize and create their own branded assets.



Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent offers individualized support and a range of business solutions, including document filing, compliance management, and registered agent services. 

They’re professionals at creating LLCs and provide continuous assistance as well as beneficial tools to assist companies in thriving while abiding by the law. For LLC creation services, Northwest Registered Agent is a reputable and trustworthy option.




Incfile offers quick and cost-effective services for forming LLCs. They have various packages available, which consist of registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. 

Incfile's platform is user-friendly and simplified, making the process of forming an LLC simple and trouble-free. Moreover, they provide continuous support and access to resources to assist businesses in staying compliant and achieving success. With an emphasis on affordability and convenience, Incfile is an excellent choice for LLC formation services.



What Is an LLC: Examples of LLCs?

LLCs are really fairly common, despite the fact that many individuals are unaware of this. Large firms with LLC structures include Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., and Alphabet (the parent company of Google). 

The number of smaller LLCs, such as single proprietorship LLCs, family LLCs, and member-managed LLCs, is substantial as well. In reality, a lot of medical organizations choose to incorporate LLCs in order to protect individual doctors from being held personally liable for medical negligence.

What Is an LLC: Is Starting an LLC Right for You?

Selecting the appropriate business entity is crucial as it determines the regulations and tax implications for your company. For Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), there are specific business organizations that are best suited.

LLCs are ideal for sole proprietors or companies with multiple owners who wish to safeguard their personal assets and minimize tax burdens compared to C-corporations.

At Incfile, we assist businesses of all sizes and varieties in establishing LLCs. This includes real estate agents, financial advisors, coffee shops, and food trucks, as well as individual entrepreneurs like personal trainers, bloggers, authors, influencers, and even cannabis-related businesses. Home-based businesses have also experienced significant growth and are well-suited for LLC formation.

What Is an LLC: Who Shouldn’t Form an LLC?

Due to federal rules, several company kinds, including banks, financial trusts, and insurance firms, are not permitted to establish an LLC. 

Additionally, businesses in the architectural, accounting, and healthcare sectors cannot incorporate an LLC in several jurisdictions, including California. To understand the limitations in your area, it's vital to do a state-specific LLC study.

Aside from legal limitations, certain firms are also ineligible for the LLC form. Depending on the kind of company and how it operates, these may change.


It’s not suggested that entrepreneurs register an LLC since it might complicate tax obligations. This is because certain laws make it difficult for many investors to fund pass-through corporations. 

Additionally, they often like to keep their business and personal taxes separate, which is required for LLCs.


Although a nonprofit organization may choose to incorporate an LLC, doing so is often not advised owing to the complicated nature of the procedure. There are laws in several states that prevent nonprofit LLCs from being formed. Additionally, nonprofit LLCs must adhere to particular rules set out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Take our quiz on business entities or consult our in-depth guide on business structures to help you decide which entity type is best for your firm if you're not sure whether to create a limited liability company or go with another one.



What Is an LLC: How to Form an LLC?

Although the specific guidelines for creating and managing an LLC can differ depending on the state, there are some common steps and ongoing responsibilities that apply to most LLCs. Here is a general summary of the typical requirements for establishing and maintaining an LLC in the United States.

Choose a Name

It's crucial to choose a name for your LLC that’s distinctive and instantly identifiable. Make sure the name you choose complies with the naming guidelines established by your state. Typically, this entails adding a defined phrase to the name of your business, such as "Limited Liability Company," "LLC," or "L.L.C."

Registered Agent 

Ensure you designate a registered agent to handle all legal documents and official correspondence for your LLC. It’s essential that the registered agent has a physical address within the state where your LLC was formed.

File Articles of Organization

You must complete and submit the Articles of Organization (also known as the Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization in certain states) in order to establish your LLC. 

The appropriate state agency usually receives this documentation; it’s often the Secretary of State's office. It provides crucial information about your LLC, such as its name, objectives, registered agent, and main office location.

Create an Operating Agreement

It’s highly encouraged to create an operating agreement for your LLC, even if it’s not legally required. This written agreement outlines the members' responsibilities, roles, methods of decision-making, and strategies for allocating profits. 

Potential disputes may be avoided by having an operating agreement in place, and it also acts as a useful manual for managing the company successfully.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your business and where it operates, you might be required to acquire different licenses, permits, or registrations from local, state, or federal authorities. These could encompass professional licenses, sales tax permits, or permits related to zoning and land use.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You must get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if your LLC employs people or you decide to be taxed as a corporation. Even if it’s not necessary, getting an EIN might be helpful for establishing credit or creating a company bank account.

What Is an LLC: Types of LLCs

Although the fundamental framework of an LLC remains consistent, there are several variations of LLCs available to suit different business requirements and circumstances. A few examples of commonly found types of LLCs include:

Single-Member LLC

A single-member LLC refers to an LLC that has just one owner, called a member. This kind of LLC is easier to handle and maintain since there is only one person making decisions. Despite having one owner, single-member LLCs still offer the advantages of limited liability protection and pass-through taxation.

Multi-Member LLC

In a multi-member LLC, there are two or more owners or members. This type of LLC offers limited liability protection and pass-through taxes, similar to a single-member LLC. 

To ensure clarity regarding the responsibilities, obligations, and profit-sharing arrangements among the members, it’s often necessary to have an operating agreement with more specific language for a multi-member LLC.

Member-Managed LLC

In a member-managed LLC, every member plays an active role in the business's day-to-day operations and management. This type of LLC is more prevalent among small businesses and startups, where the owners prefer to have direct involvement in running the business.

Manager-Managed LLC

In an LLC that’s managed by a manager, the management duties are assigned to specific individuals who may or may not be part of the LLC. This setup is ideal for businesses whose members prefer a less involved role or want to bring in external professionals for effective management.

Professional LLC (PLLC)

One or more managers, who may or may not be LLC members, are given management responsibilities in an LLC that’s administered by a manager. This kind of organization is perfect for companies whose owners desire to play a more passive role or who want to bring in outside experts for efficient management.

Series LLC

A series LLC is an exceptional arrangement that enables the formation of distinct LLCs under one main LLC. Each "series" within the series LLC operates autonomously, having its own assets, liabilities, and members. This structure proves especially beneficial for businesses with multiple divisions or projects that require segregation for liability reasons.

L3C (Low-profit Limited Liability Company)

A unique sort of LLC called an L3C was created to blend standard LLC capabilities with non-profit organizations' social and environmental objectives. Instead of focusing on increasing profits, L3Cs operate with the main objective of attaining a socially useful purpose. They’re able to draw funding from both private and charitable sources.



What Is an LLC: LLC vs Partnership

An LLC and a partnership differ primarily in how they separate business and personal assets. With an LLC, the owner's personal assets are protected from the company's debts and liabilities. 

Both LLCs and partnerships can distribute profits to their owners, who are responsible for paying taxes on them. Losses can be used to offset other income, but only up to the amount invested. If the LLC is structured as a partnership, it must file Form 1065 (or Form 1120 if treated as a corporation by members). 

In an LLC, a business continuation agreement can be used to ensure a smooth transfer of interests when an owner departs or passes away. Without such an agreement, the remaining partners must dissolve the LLC and establish a new one.

What Is an LLC: Understanding LLC Requirements

While corporations are obligated to hold annual meetings and keep detailed minutes, limited liability companies (LLCs) do not have the same requirement. However, it's important to remember that there are specific filing requirements that LLCs must adhere to.

1. Every LLC should have an LLC Operating Agreement.

2. LLCs are required to file annual or biennial reports with their Secretary of State.

3. There are various filing fees associated with forming an LLC.

4. When determining what to call your new company, you’ll need to follow state rules for naming your LLC.

What Is an LLC – Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Register an LLC?

Nope. To file and establish an LLC in any state, you don't need a lawyer. However, hiring one could be an excellent option if you have a complicated company structure or want to prevent any mistakes. To create an LLC, however, you often don't need to engage a lawyer. 

You should look into the best LLC services if you want legal assistance but don't want to spend a fortune.

Is an LLC Different From Having Liability Insurance?

Due to the fact that an LLC does not provide the same benefits as commercial liability insurance, it’s different. While most commercial debts are protected from personal responsibility by an LLC, liability insurance is crucial to protect yourself against claims of personal injury or property damage brought against your company. 

In addition to any legal safeguards that your personal assets may obtain from an LLC form, it’s recommended to acquire liability insurance for your company.

What Kind of Tax Flexibility Does an LLC Provide?

LLCs have the flexibility to be taxed as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, or S corporations, giving members the opportunity to reduce their tax obligations.

What Is an LLC: The Bottom Line

Due to their capacity to provide legal protection, limited liability corporations (LLCs) are essential in the establishment of enterprises. The concept of "limited liability" refers to the separation of the company's assets and liabilities from the owners' individual assets and liabilities.

In the unfortunate case of bankruptcy, creditors are only permitted to go for the company's assets and not the owners' personal ones. LLCs also have other benefits, such as easy establishment and streamlined taxes. Due to these factors, LLCs are the most common kind of corporate form in the US.



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