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What's the difference between an LLC and a PLLC?

The terms LLC (Limited Liability Company) and PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company) refer to two types of business structures that share many similarities but also have key differences. Here's a breakdown:

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

  1. Scope: Suitable for various types of businesses, not limited to professionals.
  2. Liability: Members (owners) have limited personal liability for business debts.
  3. Regulation: Generally less regulated than PLLCs.
  4. Ownership: Can be owned by anyone, including individuals, trusts, or other LLCs.
  5. Management: Flexible management structures; no requirement for a board of directors.
  6. Taxation: Pass-through taxation by default, but can elect corporate taxation.
  7. Professional Licensing: Not required for the business itself, though individual employees may need it for their roles.

PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company)

  1. Scope: Designed for licensed professionals like doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.
  2. Liability: Limited liability for members, but not for malpractice claims against the individual professional.
  3. Regulation: Subject to state professional licensing boards and often more regulated.
  4. Ownership: Typically must be owned by licensed professionals in the same field.
  5. Management: Often subject to regulations that dictate management structures.
  6. Taxation: Similar to LLCs, usually pass-through but can elect corporate taxation.
  7. Professional Licensing: Required for the business and often subject to approval by a state licensing board.

Both LLCs and PLLCs offer the benefit of limited liability and are relatively flexible in terms of taxation and management, but PLLCs are specifically tailored for licensed professionals and come with additional regulations and restrictions.

What's the difference between a C-Corp and an S-Corp?

C-Corporations (C-Corps) and S-Corporations (S-Corps) are both types of corporate business structures, but they differ in several key aspects such as taxation, ownership, and regulatory requirements. Here's a breakdown:

C-Corporation (C-Corp)

  1. Taxation: Subject to double taxation—once at the corporate level and again when dividends are distributed to shareholders.
  2. Ownership: No restrictions on the number or type of shareholders. Can be owned by individuals, other corporations, or foreign entities.
  3. Stock Classes: Can issue multiple classes of stock, such as common and preferred shares.
  4. Management: Typically has a more complex management structure, including a board of directors and officers.
  5. Regulatory Requirements: Subject to more extensive regulations, including public reporting if publicly traded.
  6. Fringe Benefits: Can offer a full range of fringe benefits that are deductible by the corporation and tax-free to employees.
  7. Capital Raising: Easier to raise capital through the sale of stock.

S-Corporation (S-Corp)

  1. Taxation: Pass-through taxation, meaning profits and losses are passed directly to shareholders to be reported on their individual tax returns, avoiding double taxation.
  2. Ownership: Limited to 100 shareholders, and shareholders must be U.S. citizens or residents.
  3. Stock Classes: Can only issue one class of stock.
  4. Management: Generally simpler than a C-Corp but still requires a board of directors and officers.
  5. Regulatory Requirements: Fewer than C-Corps, but more than LLCs. No public reporting requirements unless shares are publicly traded (which is rare).
  6. Fringe Benefits: Some benefits are not deductible or are only partially deductible.
  7. Capital Raising: More restrictions on raising capital compared to C-Corps.

Both C-Corps and S-Corps offer limited liability protection and have formal management structures, but they differ significantly in taxation, ownership rules, and compliance requirements. The right choice depends on your specific business needs, including your plans for raising capital, distributing profits, and managing the company.

What type of business entity is appropriate for my business/profession?

The best business entity for your profession depends on various factors including liability protection, tax treatment, and regulatory requirements specific to your field. Below, you'll find a brief overview of common business entities and examples of professions that typically choose each type.

Business Entity Types:

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company): Offers personal liability protection and flexible tax options. Suitable for a wide range of businesses, including real estate agents and consultants.
  • PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company): Similar to an LLC but specifically for licensed professionals like physicians, lawyers, and accountants. Some states require professionals to form a PLLC instead of an LLC.
  • FP (For-Profit Corporation): A corporation organized to make a profit. Can be structured as a C-Corp or an S-Corp based on tax considerations. Common for larger businesses with external investors.
  • PC (Professional Corporation): Designed for licensed professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and architects. Offers similar benefits to a PLLC but follows a corporate structure.
  • PA (Professional Association): A business entity for certain licensed professions, typically in the healthcare sector, such as physicians and dentists. Not all professions are eligible to form a PA.

For more detailed information, including the permissible entity types for various licensed professions, please refer to our comprehensive guide: Guide for Determining Permissible Entity Types for Licensed Professions.

Give us a call today at (713) 562-6460 and we can help you decide which is best for you!

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