Biztip: LLCs offer advantages for startups

2013-12-02T00:00:00Z Biztip: LLCs offer advantages for startupsBy Diane Diamond For the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

One of the most common questions SCORE mentoring clients ask is why do so many startups choose a limited liability company, or LLC, for their corporate form, and how is it done?

An LLC blends elements of a partnership and corporate structures to shield its members (owners) from personal liability. It is a relatively new type of business entity that emerged in the early 1990s. An LLC is a popular way to start a business or a nonprofit because of its flexibility and because it:

— Provides its members (owners) with a statutory liability shield that is essentially identical to the legal shield afforded officers of a corporation.

— Offers better federal tax benefits than corporations: the advantage of pass-through income taxation. An individual owner would report the LLC’s income or loss on Schedule C of his or her individual tax return.

— Is much more informal than a corporation; for example, if you do business through a corporation, you need to maintain a minute book. If you do business through an LLC, you don’t.

— One person can form an LLC or unlimited members, including foreigners.

Here are the steps to form an LLC in Arizona:

— Choose an available business name through the Arizona Corporation Commission.

— File Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

— Create an operating agreement, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of the LLC members (not required, but advised).

— Publish the articles in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of the business. The city of Tucson requires a license.

— The LLC must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number, or EIN. This is so even if it has no employees.

No one should start a business unless he or she has at least a basic understanding of LLC law and taxes.

SCORE offers a more detailed examination of common types of business entities online at tinyurl.com/mehxqjm

Diane Diamond is a mentor and vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to www.southernarizona.score.org, send email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org, or call 505-3636.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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