LLC's, Corporations, Partnerships & other
- Protection of personal assets. One of the most important legal benefits is the safeguarding of personal assets against the claims of creditors and lawsuits. Sole proprietors and general partners in a partnership are personally and jointly responsible for all the liabilities of a business such as loans, accounts payable, and legal judgments. In a corporation, however, stockholders, directors and officers typically are not liable for the company’s debts and obligations. They are limited in liability to the amount they have invested in the corporation. For example, if a shareholder purchased $100 in stock, no more than $100 can be lost. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) may hold assets such as real estate, cars or boats. If a shareholder of a corporation is personally involved in a lawsuit or bankruptcy, these assets may be protected. A creditor of a shareholder of a corporation or LLC cannot seize the assets of the company. However, the creditor can seize ownership shares in the corporation, as they are considered a personal asset.
- Transferable ownership. Ownership in a corporation or LLC is easily transferable to others, either in whole or in part. Some state laws are particularly corporate-friendly. For example, the transfer of ownership in a corporation incorporated in Delaware is not required to be filed or recorded.
- Retirement funds. Retirement funds and qualified retirements plans, such as a 401(k), may be established more easily.
- Taxation. In the United States, corporations are taxed at a lower rate than individuals are. Also, they can own shares in other corporations and receive corporate dividends 80% tax-free. There are no limits on the amount of losses a corporation may carry forward to subsequent tax years. A sole proprietorship, on the other hand, cannot claim a capital loss greater than $3,000 unless the owner has offsetting capital gains.
- Raising funds through sale of stock. A corporation can easily raise capital from investors through the sale of stock.
- Durability. A corporation is capable of continuing indefinitely. Its existence is not affected by the death of shareholders, directors, or officers of the corporation.
- Credit rating. Regardless of an owner’s personal credit scores, a corporation can acquire its own credit rating, and build a separate credit history by applying for and using corporate credit.