The LLC is typically the best choice for smaller entities. The LLC structure provides a great deal of ownership flexibility in that an LLC may have any number of Members (owners) including non-US citizens and subsidiary companies. LLCs are also able to distribute several different classes of stock or ownership interest. However, their owners are typically required to pay a self-employment tax.
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Another option is to open a franchise of an established company. The concept, brand following and business model are already in place; all you need is a good location and the means to fund your operation. Regardless of which option you choose, it's vital to understand the reasoning behind your idea. Stephanie Desaulniers, director of operations and women's business programs at Covation Center, cautions entrepreneurs from writing a business plan or worrying about a business name before nailing down the idea's value.
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.
It may seem daunting to leave your 9-to-5 grind and start your own business, but by doing so, you are giving yourself a newfound level of freedom while doing something that feeds your passion(s). The internet has made it increasingly possible for you to brush up on your skillset or even learn new ones, leaving you with the opportunity to start a business easily and cheaply.
Please note that the database does not include corporate or other business entity assumed names filed pursuant to General Business Law, §130. Assumed name filings are filed and maintained by the Division of Corporations for corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships. Although maintained by the Division of Corporations, searches of records of assumed names used by corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must be made by a written, faxed or e-mail request to the Division. All other entities such as general partnerships, sole proprietorships and limited liability partnerships file an assumed name certificate directly with the county clerk in each county in which the entity conducts or transacts business.
Unlike in many other Western countries, Canadian businesses generally only have one form of incorporation available. Unlimited liability corporations can be formed in Alberta "AULC", British Columbia "BCULC" and Nova Scotia "NSULC". The aforementioned unlimited liability corporations are generally not used as operating business structures, but are instead used to create favorable tax positions for either Americans investing in Canada or vice versa. For U.S. tax purposes the ULC is classified as a disregarded entity.