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. This makes a business a separate entity apart from its owners, and, therefore, corporations can own property, assume liability, pay taxes, enter into contracts, sue and be sued like any other individual. One of the most common structures for small businesses, however, is the limited liability corporation (LLC). This hybrid structure has the legal protections of a corporation while allowing for the tax benefits of a partnership.
For businesses in industries like construction or real estate, where unforeseen circumstances and hazardous conditions may hold the owner responsible, consider starting an LLC. The protection gained means you will not be held personally liable, protecting you and your family from litigation or the debts of the business. An LLC may not be the best choice for business owners who plan on raising capital through outside investment. LLCs are not public structures and do not have shareholders, so taking a company public is not an option either. However, in the event that you'd like to take your business public you may switch to a public legal structure, like a C corporation, later on.
With the proper planning, limited liability companies can exist for generations. S-Corps continue to exist even if the owners or majority shareholders leave or pass away. C-Corps continue to exist even if the owners or majority shareholders leave or pass away. Non-Profit organizations and institutions survive after their directors leave. Sole Proprietorships do not exist when the owner quits or passes away.
General liability insurance is not typically a legal requirement, but it is very strongly recommended. This policy protects your business assets from lawsuits-without it, a legal claim could force your company out of business entirely. A general liability insurance policy covers injuries, property damage, personal liabilities, advertising liabilities, and legal defense and judgment.
Maryland For Corporations: "Company", if it is not preceded by the word "and" or a symbol for the word "and"; "Corporation", "Incorporated" or "Limited" or abbreviations; for Limited liability companies: "limited liability company", "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C.", or "LC"; for Limited liability partnerships: "limited liability partnership", "L.L.P." or "LLP"; for Limited partnerships: "limited partnership", "L.P.", or "LP"; for Limited liability limited partnerships: "limited liability limited partnership", "L.L.L.P.", or "LLLP"; for Professional corporations: "chartered", "chtd.", "professional association", "P.A.", "professional corporation", or "P.C." Maryland Code – Corporations and Associations § 1-502
After you register your business, you may need to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. While this is not required for sole proprietorships with no employees, you may want to apply for one anyway to keep your personal and business taxes separate, or simply to save yourself the trouble later if you decide to hire someone else. The IRS has provided a checklist to determine whether you will require an EIN to run your business. If you do need an EIN, you can register online for free.
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.
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Cooperative (aguda shitufit, אגודה שיתופית) – entity which may pursue profit, but with certain legal properties meant to facilitate greater participation by each shareholder, or member, in the entity's affairs. Shareholders usually have an additional relationship with the cooperative, such as employees or consumers. This type of entity is found mainly in agriculture (a kibbutz or moshav is often a cooperative), transportation, or certain types of marketing operations associated with agricultural products. Cooperatives are governed by the Cooperatives Ordinance (פקודת האגודות השיתופיות).
In the corporations of real estate law, the ownership or membership may be vested either in the real property or in a legal or natural person, depending on the corporation type. In many cases, the membership or ownership of such corporation is obligatory for a person or property that fulfils the legal requirements for membership or wishes to engage in certain activities.