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Picking the right business structure is key for new businesses

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Firm News |

Business structure affects the amount of taxes you pay, the level of risk your personal assets are exposed to, the ability to raise capital, and the amount of paperwork your business must do. If the founder makes the right decision, it can provide numerous benefits, including legal and financial protection, as well as tax benefits. Conversely, if they make the wrong decision, the choice could make success even harder to achieve.

The pros and cons of the 4 common types

Here are the four most common types of business structures, along with their strengths and weaknesses:

  1. Sole Proprietorship
    • Strengths: It’s the simplest structure, easy to set up and gives you complete control over your business.
    • Weaknesses: You’re personally liable for your company’s debts and obligations, which can put your personal assets at risk.
  2. Partnership
    • Strengths: Easy to establish, allowing for shared responsibility and financial commitment.
    • Weaknesses: Partners are personally and jointly liable for the actions of the other partners. Disagreements among partners can affect the business’s success.
  3. Corporation (C Corp)
    • Strengths: Offers the most protection against personal liability, and it’s easier to sell the business or part of it.
    • Weaknesses: Forming a corporation is expensive and involves a lot of paperwork. Corporations are also subject to double taxation—the corporation pays taxes on its earnings, and shareholders also pay taxes on dividends.
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    • Strengths: It provides limited liability protection, and profits and losses can pass through to personal income without facing corporate taxes.
    • Weaknesses: It’s more complex than a sole proprietorship or partnership, and there are additional regulations that can vary by state.

Each business (and its founder) will have unique elements and needs, and this list is a general synopsis of benefits and limitations.

Business and legal guidance go together

The right business law attorney can be invaluable when deciding on a business structure. They can provide legal advice tailored to your specific situation, help you understand the potential legal and financial implications of each business structure, and guide you through the process of setting up your business. They can also help you navigate any legal issues while doing business.