LLP, Limited Liability Partnership: a partnership where a partner's liability for the debts of the partnership is limited except in the case of liability for acts of professional negligence or malpractice. In some states, LLPs may only be formed for purposes of practicing a licensed profession, typically attorneys, accountants and architects. This is often the only form of limited partnership allowed for law firms (as opposed to general partnerships).
For federal tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service has separate entity classification rules. Under the tax rules, an entity may be classified as a corporation, a partnership, a cooperative or a disregarded entity. A corporation may be taxed as either a C corporation or elect to be treated as a Subchapter S corporation. A disregarded entity has one owner (or a married couple as owner) that is not recognized for tax purposes as an entity separate from its owner. Types of disregarded entities include single-member LLCs; qualified sub-chapter S subsidiaries and qualified real estate investment trust subsidiaries. A disregarded entity's transparent tax status does not affect its status under state law. For example, for federal tax purposes, a sole-member LLC (SMLLC) is disregarded, so that all its assets and liabilities are treated as owned by its single member. But under state law, an SMLLC can contract in its own name and its owner is generally not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the entity. To be recognized as a Cooperative for tax purposes Cooperatives must follow certain rules under Sub Chapter T of the Internal Revenue Code.
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
Versatile Tax Status One of the most advantageous aspects of the LLC is that it has the ability to choose how it is treated as a taxable entity. According to the IRS an LLC is, by default, federally taxed as a partnership (in the case of a multi-member LLC) or as a sole proprietor (in the case of a single member LLC). The LLC, however, may elect to be taxed as a C- or S-corporation at any time the members so choose.