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.
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.
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.