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How to Choose a Business Entity

How to Choose a Business Entity

Once you make the decision to start your own business, there are several steps to take early in the process. These include creating a business plan, figuring out how you will finance the business, and selecting a business name. Another one of the initial steps of starting a business is choosing a business structure.

There are several different business forms — also called business structures or legal structures — each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This article provides information to help you choose a business form.

Legal Structures for Businesses

Choosing a business structure is very important because it will determine your personal liability as the business owner and tax obligations. There are several types of business structures, the most common being sole proprietorships, general partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs). A sole proprietorship is the most simple business form and enjoys pass-through taxation, but doesn’t protect the business owner from personal liability. A general partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship, except that there are two or more owners.

A corporation, on the other hand, is probably the most complex business form but provides the owners with the most protection from liability. Aside from being complex, a corporation is also subject to double taxation. A limited liability company is a more recent development and has some of the best aspects of sole proprietorships and corporations; LLCs provide protection from liability and enjoy pass-through taxation. While LLCs do not require as many formalities as corporations, there are still certain requirements to forming and maintaining LLC status.

Here are some things you should do. Do know the tax and personal liability consequences of a business entity before making your choice. DO develop a business plan. Your business plan may dictate the options you have in choosing a business form. DO strictly meet the state requirements if your business entity is required to file organizing documents with the state. DO ask your attorney if something doesn’t make sense. Your attorney works for you, and should help you understand every part of the business start-up process.

Here are things you shouldn’t do. Don’t begin operating your business before determining its form. Operating as a sole proprietorship with the intention of forming a limited liability company or a corporation will not shield you from being personally liable for any obligations or debts prior to the formation of a limited liability company or a corporation. DON’T assume that the business entity you choose is authorized to do business in other states as well. While a sole proprietorship and general partnership may be able to do business in other states fairly freely, other business entities may not even be recognized outside of their home state. This strips away the protections that the business entity provides its owners. At a minimum, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations need to register in the states where they will conduct business. DON’T panic. Choosing a business form can be complicated. An attorney can make sure that you choose a business entity that is right for you. Remember, you can always call a business lawyer for help.

Business Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help for your business or to start a business, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.