Please note: We believe accurate, plain-English legal information should help you solve many of your own legal problems. But it's not a substitute for personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you want the help of a trained professional-- and we'll always point out situations in which we think that's a good idea-- consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
PLLC, Professional Limited Liability Company: some states do not allow certain professionals to form an LLC that would limit the liability that results from the services professionals provide such as doctors, medical care; lawyers, legal advice; and accountants, accounting services; architects, architectural services; when the company formed offers the services of the professionals. Instead those states allow a PLLC or in the LLC statutes, the liability limitation only applies to the business side, such as creditors of the company, as opposed to the client/customer service side, the level of medical care, legal services, or accounting provided to clients. This is meant to maintain the higher ethical standards that these professionals have committed themselves to by becoming licensed in their profession and to prevent them from being immune (or at least limit their immunity) to malpractice suits.
If your business will have employees, you will, at a minimum, need to purchase workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. You may also need other types of coverage depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability (GL) insurance, or a business owner's policy. GL covers property damage, bodily injury and personal injury to yourself or a third party.
LLC, LC, Ltd. Co., Limited Liability Company: a form of business whose owners enjoy limited liability, but which is not a corporation. Allowable abbreviations vary by state. Note that in some states Ltd. by itself is not a valid abbreviation for an LLC, because in some states (e.g. Texas), it may denote a corporation instead. See also Series LLC. For U.S. federal tax purposes, in general, an LLC with two or more members is treated as a partnership, and an LLC with one member is treated as a sole proprietorship.
Since limited liability companies can be a pass-through entity, owners are taxed on their personal income. S-Corp shareholders are taxed personally. The S-Corp, however, is not. C-Corp income is taxed at the corporate level first, then again at the personal level. This is called "double taxation." Non-Profits are only taxed once and can write off most of their expenses. Sole Proprietors are taxed only on their personal tax return.
LP, Limited partnership: a partnership where at least one partner (the general partner, which may itself be an entity or an individual) has unlimited liability for the LP's debts and one or more partners (the limited partners) have limited liability (which means that they are not responsible for the LP's debts beyond the amount they agreed to invest). Limited partners generally do not participate in the management of the entity or its business.
While limited liability companies have less compliance requirements than other entity types, there are reports and licenses that need to be filed and maintained. S-Corps usually will need to file reports and pay compliance fees on an annual or semi-annual basis. C-Corps generally must file reports with their state, as well as a host of other regulatory and compliance fees. Non-Profits have more compliance responsibilities than other entities as they must continually preserve their tax-exempt status. Sole Proprietors do not have ongoing compliance fees.
Charity company (khevra le'to'ellet ha'tzibur, חברה לתועלת הציבור) – company generally governed by the Companies Act, except it is a nonprofit. A charity company must have pre-defined goals, rather than engage in any lawful activity. Some provisions in the Companies Act apply specifically to charity companies. The letters "CC" (חל"צ) must be appended to such company's name.