Your initial capital contribution LLC is important to not only provide your business with the capital it needs but also create an established separation between the individual owner and the LLC. When you contribute money to your LLC, you are making a capital contribution, which will help to determine your share of the LLC and in turn the percentage of profits, losses, and ownership. If you are the only member of the LLC, you will retain 100 percent ownership.

Different Forms of Contribution

If an LLC has multiple owners, you can determine each member's portion or share of the business by laying it out in a formal operating agreement. Each member can make a capital contribution either by cash or non-cash forms, such as property. When a property contribution is used, all of the members must agree on what the fair market value of those contributions will carry.

Since non-cash contributions can be harder to value, they can be more complicated especially when it comes to tax consequences. The key issue is determining the appropriate dollar amount that the contributed property will be valued at. One example regards members who are contributing property that has increased in value since they first acquired it. They will need to determine how much the value of the property has increased before making it a capital contribution. In the event you sell your membership interest in the company, you will be responsible for paying taxes on the increased value.

You can also have similar tax issues if you take out profits from your company within the first two years that the property was contributed to the company. The IRS may view the profits taken as the same as a disguised sale on the property.

In addition to non-cash property, you can also make a capital contribution in the form of services. If this is how you choose to contribute:

  • You will need to make sure you record the value of all those services on your company's balance sheet.
  • You will need to pay taxes on the value of the services in the same manner that you would if you were a paid employee of the company.

When drafting your operating agreement, you will need to create a schedule of capital contributions that the members have committed to making throughout the life of an LLC. It is important to meet these capital commitments on the timetable they were agreed on.

How Is the Ownership of an LLC Recorded?

After you have made your capital contributions to the business, each member's contribution should be recorded on the balance sheet as an equity account. You should have a capital contribution account for each member's contributions and record their initial contribution as well as additional contributions there. This account will also be used to:

  • Record each member's portion of the profits and losses of the LLC
  • Record the amount of money that the owner takes out of the business, which is allowed under their operating agreement.

How Much Do Members Have to Contribute to an LLC?

Your initial contributions upon forming an LLC can be any amount. The typical amount that members will contribute is enough to pay the startup expenses and assets. Making an initial contribution, no matter what the amount, is essential to avoid tax and legal problems that can arise from having no personal risk in starting up the business. If there is an insufficient capital invested in an LLC, there is a risk of the LLC being disregarded and the owners assuming personal liability for the debts and obligations incurred by the LLC. Many owners start an LLC to protect them from liability but there needs to be a distinguished separation from the business and owners for this to occur.

How Much Can Members Take Out From an LLC?

You are allowed to take out as much money as you want from an LLC as long as the operating agreement allows. If you are the only member of an LLC you can take any amount you want but will need to leave enough in the business to perform normal operations.

If you need help with your initial capital contribution LLC, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.