Compare Business Types | Starting a Business | Swyft Filings
Compare Business Types

Choosing the Right Business Type

Compare the important differences of each business structure to decide
which one is right for your company

BizCompare

LLC

C Corp

S Corp

DBA

Nonprofit

Protection

Limited liability protection

LLCs provide personal asset protection, which shields you from being personally liable for business debts.

C Corps provide personal asset protection, which shields you from being personally liable for business debts.

S Corps provide personal asset protection, which shields you from being personally liable for business debts.

Owners have no personal asset protection, which makes them personally liable for business debts.

Nonprofits provide personal asset protection, which shields you from being personally liable for business debts.

Managing Your Business

Flexibility in management

LLCs must be member or manager managed according to the terms of the operating agreement. Member managed means the owners of the company manage the company. Manager-managed means the members (or owners) elect one or more managers to manage the company.

C Corps are required to have shareholder elected directors who oversee and elect officers to run the day-to-day operations of the company. The business owner(s) can be the shareholder(s), the director(s) and officer(s).

S Corps are required to have shareholder elected directors who oversee and elect officers to run the day-to-day operations of the company. The business owner(s) can be the shareholder(s), the director(s) and officer(s).

The DBA owner may manage the business without restriction.

Nonprofits are managed by their board of directors following the regulations set forth in their Bylaws.

Ease of ownership changes

Varies

Varies

Changes in ownership of an LLC are dependent on the terms of the operating agreement.

Ownership changes in a C Corp are easily made through the sell of stock to new or existing shareholders.

Ownership changes in an S Corp are easily made through the sell of stock to new or existing shareholders.

DBAs cannot make ownership changes.

Nonprofits have no owners.

Business perpetual existence

Varies

The life of the LLC is dependent of the terms of the operating agreement. Its existence may be short term or perpetual that survive the death or transfer of the membership interests of the original founders.

C Corps are separate entities that survive the death or transfer of stock of the owners and/or major shareholders.

S Corps are separate entities that survive the death or transfer of stock of the owners and/or major shareholders.

DBAs end upon closure of the company or the death of the owner.

Nonprofits are entities that survive any change in their board of directors.

Ongoing corporate formalities

Depending on the state of incorporation, an LLC may be required to file an annual report and/or pay franchise fees.

After formation, C Corps have many ongoing formalities such as writing bylaws, selecting directors, holding initial and annual shareholder meetings, and issuing stock.

After formation, S Corps have many ongoing formalities such as writing bylaws, selecting directors, holding initial and annual shareholder meetings, and issuing stock.

There are no ongoing corporate formalities.

After formation, Nonprofits have many ongoing formalities such as writing bylaws, selecting directors, and seeking tax exempt status.

Ability to raise capital

Varies

LLCs are not allowed to sell stock but may be able to raise capital via bank loans, from its members and various other avenues. Any equity to sales to third parties needs to be done in compliance with SEC regulations.

C Corps may issue many types of stocks, which may be sold to an unlimited number of shareholders. Any equity sales to third parties needs to be done in compliance with SEC regulations.

S Corps may issue one type of stock, which may be sold to a maximum of 100 shareholders. Any equity sales to third parties needs to be done in compliance with SEC regulations.

DBAs are not allowed to sell stock but may be able to obtain bank loans.

Nonprofits may obtain bank loans, grants, venture capital, and tax-exempt donations. In some states, Nonprofits may sell stock.

Tax

Pass-through taxation

LLCs are not taxed at the corporate level. Instead, all profit and losses are reported with the personal income taxes of each member.

The income of the C Corp is taxed at the corporate level and then again at the shareholder level.

S Corps are not taxed at the corporate level. Instead, all profit and losses are reported with the personal income taxes of each shareholder (owner).

DBAs are not taxed at the company level. All profit and losses are reported on the personal income tax return of the owner.

The income of Nonprofits is taxed at the corporate level unless they apply for and are granted tax-exempt status.

Double taxation

LLCs are not taxed at the corporate level.

The income of the C Corp is taxed at the corporate level and then again at the shareholder level.

S Corps are not taxed at the corporate level.

DBAs are not taxed at the corporate level.

The income of Nonprofits is taxed at the corporate level unless they apply for and are granted tax-exempt status.

Tax Exempt

LLCs are not eligible for tax-exempt status.

C Corps are not eligible for tax-exempt status.

S Corps are not eligible for tax-exempt status.

DBAs are not eligible for tax-exempt status.

The income of Nonprofits is taxed at the corporate level unless they apply for and are granted tax-exempt status.

State Filing Fees

State formation fees

LLCs are required to pay formation fees to the state. Fees will vary based on the state of incorporation.

C Corps are required to pay formation fees to the state. Fees will vary based on the state of incorporation.

S Corps are required to pay formation fees to the state. Fees will vary based on the state of incorporation.

There are required filing fees for DBAs. Fees will vary based on the county and state in which the DBA is filed.

Nonprofits are required to pay formation fees to the state. Fees will vary based on the state of incorporation

Ongoing compliance fees

Depending on the state of incorporation, reports and fees may be required.

An annual report and franchise fees are generally due each year along with other reports and fees, which varies depending on the state of incorporation.

An annual report and franchise fees are generally due each year along with other reports and fees, which varies depending on the state of incorporation.

There are no ongoing compliance fees.

For Nonprofits this varies from state to state.

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