September 24, 2021

Factors to consider before choosing a business structure

By cr1pt022

For new businesses that could fall into two or more of these categories, it’s not always easy to decide which structure to choose. You need to consider your startup’s financial needs, risk and ability to grow. It can be difficult to switch your legal structure after you’ve registered your business, so give it careful analysis in the early stages of forming your business.

Here are some important factors to consider as you choose the legal structure for your business. You should also plan to consult with your CPA for his or her advice.

Flexibility
Where is your company headed, and which type of legal structure allows for the growth you envision? Turn to your business plan to review your goals, and see which structure best aligns with those objectives. Your entity should support the possibility for growth and change, not hold it back from its potential.

Complexity
When it comes to startup and operational complexity, nothing is more simple than a sole proprietorship. You simply register your name, start doing business, report the profits, and pay taxes on it as personal income. However, it can be difficult to procure outside funding. Partnerships, on the other hand, require a signed agreement to define the roles and percentages of profits. Corporations and LLCs have various reporting requirements with state governments and the federal government.

Liability
A corporation carries the least amount of personal liability since the law holds that it is its own entity. This means that creditors and customers can sue the corporation, but they cannot gain access to any personal assets of the officers or shareholders. An LLC offers the same protection, but with the tax benefits of a sole proprietorship. Partnerships share the liability between the partners as defined by their partnership agreement.

Taxes
An owner of an LLC pays taxes just as a sole proprietor does: All profit is considered personal income and taxed accordingly at the end of the year.

“As a small business owner, you want to avoid double taxation in the early stages,” said Jennifer Friedman, chief marketing expert at Expertly.com. “The LLC structure prevents that and makes sure you’re not taxed as a company but as an individual.”

Individuals in a partnership also claim their share of the profits as personal income. Your accountant may suggest quarterly or biannual advance payments to minimize the end effect on your return.

A corporation files its own tax returns each year, paying taxes on profits after expenses, including payroll. If you pay yourself from the corporation, you will pay personal taxes, such as for Social Security and Medicare, on your personal return.