Limited Liability Companies – 4 Things to Consider When Preparing For Tax Time

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

A Limited Liability Company has four potential business forms to operate under. Some of the highlights are listed below.

• As a sole proprietorship

• As a partnership

• As a C corporation

• As an S corporation

For Federal Taxes the LLC is a pass-through entity in three of the four potential options above. A pass-through entity pays income taxes at the owner level. The C Corporation pays taxes at the Company Level and at the Owner Level.

Sole Proprietorship

When there is only one member in the company, the LLC is treated as a “sole proprietorship” for tax purposes. The individual owner reports the LLC’s income or loss on Schedule C of his or her individual tax return.

One advantage of this type of entity is the return is easy to prepare. A sole proprietor reports profit/loss on a relatively simple Schedule C. This permits the owner to organize the traditional (shoebox) listing of revenue and expenses.

One disadvantage of this type of entity is the earnings from a sole proprietorship are subject to self-employment taxes, which are currently 13.3% on the first $106,800 of income. Operating the company as a corporation, only salaries are subject to self-employment taxes.


When the company has more than two members in, the default tax status for LLCs is a partnership. Each member of the LLC annually receives a Form K-1. Form K-1 reports the member’s distributive share of the LLC’s income or loss. The member includes the K1 on their annual tax return.

An advantage of this type of entity is the option to split profits and losses for the owners. Taxes treat corporations and LLC’s differently. Corporations earning’s are divided based on each owner’s respective equity percentage. Partnerships permit owners to calculate the split however they want. This should be in writing. For example, a partner who has a 50 percent equity stake in the business could get 25 percent of the profits and 60 percent of the losses.

A disadvantage of this entity is the earnings from a partnership are subject to self-employment taxes, which are currently 13.3% on the first $106,800 of income. With a corporation, only salaries (and not profits) are subject to such taxes.

C Corporation

To be taxed as a Corporation the LLC needs to choose to be taxed as a Corporation. Form 8832 is used for this purpose.

One advantage of the C Corporation type of entity is the availability of more fringe benefits. This type of entity offers owners of the business better fringe benefit options.

One disadvantage of the C Corporation is that corporate profits will be subject to “double taxation”, first as corporate income and second as income to the ultimate recipient. For example, if a corporation issues dividends from its income, it has paid taxes on that income, the dividends also remain taxable as income to the shareholders.

S Corporation

To be taxed as a S Corporation the LLC needs to two things. First, choose to be taxed as a Corporation, Form 8832 is used for this purpose. Second, make a Small Business Election, Form 2553 is used for this purpose.

An advantage of the S Corporation is that like the LLC it receives pass through taxation. Pass through taxation simply means no federal income tax at the company level; the owners only pay tax rate at the individual level.

A disadvantage of the S Corporation are the ownership limits. In an S corporation, for example, all the owners (shareholders) need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The number of owners is limited to 100 persons. Families, can often be counted as a single owner for the 100 person rule. The S corporation may have only one “class” of stock; no preferred stock, for example.

The following information is not intended to replace the services of a professional. Please consult a CPA or an Attorney who can better understand your particular circumstances. Trying to set up and/or operate a corporation of any kind without competent professional guidance is asking for serious trouble. Please contact us.

CPA Deerfield Beach

954 596 1120

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