The ongoing pandemic has had one unexpected result: New business openings soared to record highs in 2021. Witness the following:
- In 2019, the year before the onset of coronavirus hit, 3.5 million new business applications were filed nationwide.
- In 2020, this number increased to 4.4 million.
- In 2021, the number topped out at 5.4 million.
While many entrepreneurs started a new business after they lost their job due to the pandemic, many others became part of the Great Resignation, walking away from an existing job to chase their self-employment dreams.
If you believe that there’s no time like the present to start a new business, good for you! However, are you fully prepared to do so? Do you even know what kind of business you want to start? We’re not talking about the kinds of products or services you intend to sell. Rather, we’re talking about what type of business entity you want to create.
The Small Business Administration advises that you have four basic options when choosing your business entity type:
- Sole proprietorship
- Partnership, including a general partnership, limited partnership and Family Limited Partnership (FLP)
- Corporation, including a B corporation, C corporation, S corporation and close corporation
- Limited liability company
If you intend to own your business all by yourself, a sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure and the easiest to establish. Basically, you simply choose a business name and start selling your product or service. You can use your Social Security number as your business ID number, but you may wish to apply to the IRS for a free Employer Identification Number (EIN) even if you don’t anticipate hiring any employees. When tax time comes, the IRS considers you and your sole proprietorship as one, so you pay taxes on your company’s profits by virtue of adding a Schedule C to your 1040 tax return. You are also responsible for all of your company’s debts.
If you intend to own your business with one or more additional people, you may wish to form some type of a partnership. In a general partnership, each partner has unlimited control over the company and unlimited liability for its debts. In a limited partnership or FLP, only the general partner, if any, has unlimited control and liability. The limited partners have whatever control and liability the partnership agreement sets forth. Either way, the partnership itself files only an informational tax return each year. The company’s profits are passed through to the partners in their respective proportions, with each paying his or her share of taxes.
A corporation is a legal entity in its own right, separate and apart from any of its owners, i.e., its shareholders. As such, it pays its own income taxes. However, each shareholder pays taxes on the amount of dividends he or she receives. On the other hand, no shareholder has personal liability for the corporation’s debts.
Limited Liability Company
An LLC is a hybrid between a corporation and a partnership. You get the limited liability of a corporation, but avoid its double taxation. Instead, profits pass through to the company’s owners, just like they do in a partnership.
Getting the Help You Need
Starting a business is exciting, but can also be difficult, especially when it comes to choosing your entity structure. You should know that AmeriEstate Legal Plan, Inc. provides business formation services as well as estate planning services. Contact us today. We’ll be happy to help you get your new business up and running.