July 8, 2021

Determine Your Legal Business Structure

By Yorachel

Before you can register your company, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong.

Sole proprietorship. If you own the business entirely by yourself and plan to be responsible for all debts and obligations, you can register for a sole proprietorship. Be warned that this route can directly affect your personal credit.

Partnership. Alternatively, a business partnership, as its name implies, means that two or more people are held personally liable as business owners. You don’t have to go it alone if you can find a business partner with complementary skills to your own. It’s usually a good idea to add someone into the mix to help your business flourish.

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Corporation. If you want to separate your personal liability from your company’s liability, you may want to consider forming one of several types of corporations (e.g., S corporation, C corporation or B corporation). Although each type of corporation is subject to different guidelines, this legal structure generally makes a business a separate entity from its owners, and, therefore, corporations can own property, assume liability, pay taxes, enter contracts, sue and be sued like any other individual. “Corporations, especially C corporations, are especially suitable for new businesses that plan on ‘going public’ or seeking funding from venture capitalists in the near future,” said Deryck Jordan, managing attorney at Jordan Counsel.

Limited liability company. One of the most common structures for small businesses is the limited liability company (LLC). This hybrid structure has the legal protections of a corporation while allowing for the tax benefits of a partnership.
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine which type of entity is best for your current needs and future business goals. It’s important to learn about the various legal business structures available. If you’re struggling to make up your mind, it’s not a bad idea to discuss the decision with a business or legal advisor.