Business Organizations & Transactions Information Center

Tax consequences and personal liability for your business's obligations and debts are two main issues that may affect your decision about which business structure to select.

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Business Organizations - An Overview

Choosing the proper business organization structure is one of the most important decisions that a business owner must make. The type of organization will determine how the business handles tax matters and whether there is protection against personal liability.

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Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by one person. It is a popular business structure because it is simple, easy to form and operate and subject to few rules and regulations.

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A partnership is an agreement between two or more persons to engage in business, for profit, on negotiated and mutually agreed upon terms.

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A corporation is a separate legal entity from the business owners, also known as the stockholders or shareholders, and is created by filing incorporation papers with the appropriate state official.

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Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are non-corporate entities that provide members with limited liability protection and the right to participate in the management and control of the business.

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Choosing a Business Structure

When forming a new business, selecting the business structure is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Business structures, including the sole proprietorship, partnership (general or limited), corporation and limited liability company (LLC) each have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

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Business Organizations Resource Links

State laws on corporations 
Links to state corporate statutes, provided by the Legal Information Institute (LII).

Tax information for partnerships 
Tax information for partnerships and partnership-related articles, provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tax information for corporations 
Tax resources for corporations, including tax forms, provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

LLCs, corporations and partnerships 
Terms and concepts relevant to LLCs, corporations and partnerships, provided by the Legal Information Institute (LII).

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