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LLC or Corporation for a single owner?

Asked by: Enrique - 28 April, 2011
I'm trying to open an online business, just me, what is a better a llc or a s corporation? Now, if a i choose the llc, can i call my llc MY NAME + CORPORATION, LLC.? or just MY NAME, LLC?
Answered by: Alex Zehn - 1 May, 2011
Dear Enrique,

As a single owner of a small business, you can open an LLC or start a corporation. The main difference for you will be in the employment tax savings. This is a tax question that you should definitely discuss with your accountant.

Although we are not accountants, we can offer you some general knowledge on the subject. What you should be most concerned about is the self-employment tax. If you were to form an LLC, because you would be the single-owner, the IRS would treat your company as a "pass-through" entity. Meaning the company's income would be accounted for on your personal tax returns. With this setup, you would still be subject to the roughly 15% self-employment tax.

On the other hand, if you form an S-Corporation, what you can do is pay yourself a reasonable salary (that cannot be too small), pay the payroll taxes on that salary and distribute the remaining company income without being subject to the employment tax. The big caveat here is that you will have to do a serious amount of paperwork in order to pay the payroll tax on your salary. Payroll tax is a pay-as-you-go tax that must be paid to the IRS regularly throughout the year. It has to be paid on time, or you will incur interest and penalties. If you hire someone to do that for you, consider that your expenses may overshadow your savings.

As for your question about naming your company, here's the answer. All corporations have to have the words Corporation or Incorporated, or abbreviations Corp. or Inc. after the name of the company. All LLCs must have the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC after their proper name. You cannot use the word Corporation in the name of an LLC. You also don't have to use your proper name, but can choose a different, fanciful, name for your new company.

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