What Are LLC Tax Benefits?

LLC tax benefits are the taxation advantages for owners who form LLCs or limited liability companies. An LLC generally has great tax flexibility, including avoiding double taxation, tax deductions, and business tax loopholes, as well as having the potential to lower the tax rate and benefit from loan options.

Should I Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

Determining whether to start a business might seem like a headache because there are several options to consider. One such possibility is an LLC, which is also known as a limited liability company. It provides:

  • Some of the same control advantages as a sole proprietorship or partnership.
  • Taxation and liability benefits similar to a corporation.

What Is an LLC?

Compared to corporations and partnerships, a limited liability company is a more recent legal structure. To form an LLC requires following a process through the state where your business is located; the steps involve paying dues and submitting Articles of Organization.

A major distinguishing attribute of an LLC is the owner’s ability to separate personal property from business liabilities. This is called limited liability. The structure protects personal assets in case a court decision is made against the company in the future. Another benefit of choosing to form a limited liability company is that the business itself is not accountable for taxes on its profits, unlike with a corporate structure or C-Corp.

How Does an LLC Pay Income Taxes?

The payment process depends on whether the LLC is:

  • A sole proprietorship (one member)
  • A partnership (multi-member)

For a sole proprietor, the process is:

  1. Determine how much tax to pay using Schedule C within the tax return.
  2. Add the company net income to the owner’s other income on the tax return.

In a partner type of LLC:

  1. Submit Form 1065 for partnership-related tax.
  2. Each owner fills out Schedule K-1 for their own tax portion. File K-1 as part of the individual tax return.

This method is different than a corporation, in which the owners are employees in the eyes of the IRS if they work for the business. If they do not, then they are deemed as shareholders.

Tax Advantages of the LLC

How much tax does an LLC pay? It is dependent on the owner’s entire net income. A great benefit is that an LLC with a high total income in some cases can pay taxes at a lower rate than if it was a corporation instead.

Other tax advantages are:

  • There is no double taxation, unlike with a corporation. Corporate owners pay tax on both corporate net income and dividend income they accrue from the business.
  • The potential to save a state-required tax payment. Depending on the state you are in, corporations may have to pay specific finance taxes to the state. There are some states though that don’t require LLCs to pay these fees.
    • As the process is different from one state to another, consult your state tax agency for guidelines.

Tax Disadvantages of the LLC

Taxes must be paid by LLC members on their distributed piece of the income from LLC profits, even if they do not receive this distributed amount. This differs from a corporation, where owners only pay taxes on distributed profits that are typically organized as dividends.

Other LLC drawbacks are:

  • No exemptions from paying property tax, unlike some instances for corporations.
  • Self-employment taxes must be paid by owners of limited liability companies, including Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, owners of corporations pay only half this amount, and the corporation pays the rest.

Of course, every entity and tax situation is unique, so the exact advantages and disadvantages vary. Plus, the circumstances change as a business evolves, grows, and increases revenue.

Larger Contribution Limits

An LLC has bigger contribution limits for its owners or members when it comes to retirement funds and life insurance policies. This means that you can invest more money in both areas to have some more cushion to fall back on, when or if needed.

Leasing Assets

When forming an LLC, you gain the ability to lease property from others, including its owners. The LLC can pay for the rentals, but it is integral to consult your tax or insurance advisor regarding such points as tax requirements and implications. Also ensure that all involved parties, including the LLC, have proper insurance. Also, ensure you deduct appropriate business expenses, including the cost of erecting the LLC. Keep your receipts to remind you to do so come tax time and as proof for the IRS.

How Are LLCs Taxed Differently?

Unlike many corporations, LLCs are not subject to double taxation. LLCs won’t be taxed at corporate rates and then taxed a second time personally on any income earned while working at the company, although this is required for corporations. Thus, running an LLC can be cheaper than a corporate structure, which is a big tax advantage.

Here’s the difference:

  • LLC owners usually only get taxed via their individual tax returns, rather than at corporate level.
    • This is termed “pass-through taxation.”
  • LLC tax rates are often less than corporations.

How Does the IRS Treat an LLC?

For tax purposes, typically, an LLC is viewed as:

  • A partnership, or
  • A sole proprietorship

As a singular owner, your tax treatment is as a sole proprietorship. If two or more of you are owners of the LLC, the chances are that you will be taxed as a partnership. But if this default system does not work for you, you have the option to petition the IRS for a change. For the most effective process, it is advisable to speak with a tax lawyer or accountant.

LLC Tax Deductions and Business Tax Loopholes

It is in your best interest to learn how to save on tax. The structure of your organization can result in lower (or higher) tax rates, so choose wisely. The primary tax deductions for limited liability companies and tax loopholes are:

  • Entities
    • Your LLC is taxed by default as a sole proprietorship or partnership unless choosing to be taxed as a corporation.
  • Tax Advantages
    • Selecting a “C” corporation status come tax time means a 15 percent federal tax rate on the first $50,000 of taxable income.
    • Avoid personal service corporation tax status by giving 6 percent of LLC units (essentially stock) to someone who is not working for the LLC, such as a husband or wife.

Choosing Between an LLC and a Corporation

An LLC and a corporation both provide a benefit known as “limited liability.” This means that they are protected from judgments against and liabilities of the company or actions of their company partners, unlike if you instead formed a sole proprietorship or partnership.

Lowering the Tax Rate

  • Advantage of a tax shelter
    • The LLC can be taxed as a corporation and gain a “tax shelter.” Thus, the first $50,000 taxable income earned has a 15 percent tax rate.
      • If the LLC is part of a controlled cluster, then its low rate and exemption must be equally doled out or otherwise decided by the controlled group.
  • Avoid the personal tax rate
    • Possible if your LLC offers personal or consulting services. No need to pay the 39.6 percent personal tax rate on taxable income.
      • Do so by giving 6 percent minimum of units to someone not working for the LLC, such as a relative.

Allowable Tax Deductions

  • Claim charitable tax credits
  • Health insurance
  • Kids can be seen as tax shelters
  • Disability insurance
  • Business insurance
  • At-home office
  • Section 179 property
  • Retirement plans
  • Awards, such as productivity
  • School-related expenses
  • Fees and subscriptions
  • Symposiums

Other Monetary Considerations

  • Select a fiscal year
    • If you are a taxable LLC, then you can elect when the fiscal year is that will connect to the personal income tax year (New Year’s Eve). Thus, your income before December 31 is deductible after being paid as compensation after that date but prior to the finished fiscal year. Choose the end of any month, as long as it is within 12 months after creating the LLC.
      • If the LLC doesn’t choose to be taxed as a corporation then its fiscal year finishes December 31 every year.
  • Loans
    • Opt for loans free of interest or with low rates, if possible.
    • Earnings accrued can be lent to LLC owners.
    • Up to $10,000 interest-free is lendable to every member. The smallest interest percentage is 6 percent if it is a loan above $10,000.
    • If the owner secures the loan with a house mortgage, then the interest is deductible as treated as a home equity loan, but only for the first $100,000 of the total amount borrowed.
    • An owner can secure a loan to the LLC if working capital needs to be raised, following the first capital payment (Note: Delaware, Nevada, and Florida do not require a minimum capital amount be given). The loans can be repaid by the LLC at the lower rate and funds aren’t stuck in an LLC. Just ensure the loan is not above 5-10 times the capital given by owners so that it is not a considered a dividend by the IRS. Best practice is to document loans with Promissory Notes.

Other Operating Considerations

  • Money owed by an LLC to its clients and money owing to its creditors
  • Name of the limited liability company
  • Signature text
  • Appropriate license to get
  • Guidelines in state and federally
  • Name or trademark protections
  • Physical location
  • Banking facility
  • Yearly gathering

Tax Advantages of Filing as LLC, S-Corp, and More

How you structure your small business affects its monetary gains and losses. With tax time coming close, it’s important to pay attention to this. There is a sole proprietorship, limited partnership, S-corporation, and nonprofit corporation.

Sole Proprietorship

Crafting a sole proprietorship is a popular choice for the entrepreneurial crowd. A major benefit is having full reign over decisions, schedules, and any other business feature. Work when and how you want, within legal limits.

Limited Partnership

With a limited partnership, you can have as many limited or “silent” partners as you like. Their liability is contained to how much they invested in the company in total. They are silent because they contribute money to the business but cannot vote or govern any of its daily activities.

A limited partnership is chosen by several organizations in these industries:

  • Accounting
  • Law
  • Finance

Advantages of limited partnerships include:

  • Safe personal property
    • Owners have liability protection up to the amount invested in the business.
  • “Pass-through” tax structure
    • No tax is incurred at the company level.
  • Control by the general manager over business activities
  • Gains in investments
    • More silent partners in the future can mean more investments.

S-Corporation

An S-Corp or S-Corporation is like a limited liability company in that it provides federal tax status that lets companies “pass through” their taxable gains or losses to company owners and investors, depending on how much they have invested in the organization.

Top tax benefits of selecting S-Corp status are:

  • Having limited liability
    • Directors, officers, and other parties within the S-Corporation.
  • Pass-through method of taxation
    • Each owner declares monetary highs and lows on individual tax return.
  • Gets rid of double taxation
    • Otherwise pay twice; once on corporate income and second on shareholder dividends.
  • Attracts investors
    • Offer shares and bring on new investors, growing the business.
  • Ongoing structure
    • Even if owner passes away, the S-Corp continues to exist.
  • Infrequent reporting
    • Only file taxes one time each year, rather than every four months as C-Corporation.
  • Select a fiscal year

C-Corporation

Advantages of forming a C-Corporation include:

  • It divides personal assets from judgments made against the business, thereby protecting personal property.
  • Guards against liability of people within the organization (officers, shareholders, directors, and employees).
  • Specific tax benefits, such as deductible company expenditures.
  • Increases credibility within network.
  • Even if the owner passes away, the C-Corp continues.

The primary disadvantages are:

  • Double taxation
    • Taxed both on corporate income and shareholder dividends.
  • No financial losses can be declared

Given these drawbacks, many businesses select an S-Corp rather than a C-Corp.

Nonprofit Corporation

Typically, the benefits for non-profit corporations are:

  • Exist even after death of an owner
  • Contained liability of officers and directors, keeping their personal assets safe
  • Able to apply for grants (private or public)
  • If it is deemed by the IRS to be a 501(c)(3) organization, then it can:
    • Apply for tax-exempt status at state and federal levels
    • Potentially deduct donations
    • Gain more support from donors with IRS status
    • Possibly avoid specific taxes on property

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