A sole member limited liability company or LLC is an LLC that's owned by one person instead of multiple. This is one of the most popular ways to do business. This type of business entity is registered in the same state that the company conducts business. This also means that there's one owner, also known as a member.

What is a Sole Member LLC?

There are two activities that make an owner of an LLC different than an owner of a corporation. The LLC owner doesn't get a salary and isn't an employee. Instead, they take out money as needed from the business. The owner will also put money into the business as is necessary by making a contribution from their own funds. If a couple that's married owns the LLC, it will still be treated as a sole-member LLC by the IRS for tax purposes. At the state level, the couple's LLC will be considered a multi-member LLC.

When the couple gets treated as sole member LLC, the IRS lets them take advantage of the status that a sole member LLC has. When another owner gets introduced to the LLC, it isn't considered a sole member LLC anymore. When the LLC has just one owner, they don't need to file their own taxes, but the LLC still gives its owner liability protection. If a sole owner wants to bring a partner into the mix, they'll need to get everything in order before they join the LLC.

This includes revising the operating agreement and stating in a written statement how the partner is acquiring the new member into the LLC. When couples run an LLC together, they need to have a strong operating agreement to cover issues such as a divorce, death, or incapacity.

How to Form a Single Member LLC

In order for a single member LLC to form, you need to go to the state's business division to get information on how the process works, as each state has different rules. You'll need to file either a certificate of organization or articles of organization and pay a fee. When the company has been registered, you should create an operating agreement, which is like by-laws for a corporation. This will define how the business will be run.

How a Single Member LLC is Taxed

Single members LLCs have several different state and federal taxes that they're subject to as a business entity. The taxes will be the same as other business types pay, but there's a different method to pay for them. The LLC isn't a taxing entity, so the IRS taxes single member LLCs as sole proprietors. That means they report their income taxes on Schedule C, which has net income from the business in addition to other income on the owner's tax return.

Sole proprietors and single member LLC owners aren't considered employees of the business and instead are self-employed individuals. This means they're required to pay self-employment taxes each year, such as Medicare and Social Security taxes, based on the net income their business made.

Role of a Sole Member of a Corporation

When you're the sole member of a business, you're responsible for every part of the company. There are advantages and disadvantages to becoming a sole member. When choosing to be this type of business entity, you should know what your purpose and goals are for the company. There are different structures based on the varying types of responsibilities from a single member. The two most common ones are the following:

  • Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs
  • S corporations

They both have their own benefits and rules. If you choose to be a single member LLC, it is your responsibility to decide how the IRS will treat your company for tax purposes. When they get treated like a disregarded entity, the member will be taxed for their income taxes as a sole proprietor. Most states allow an S corporation to have a single shareholder, and the sole member can also perform the role of all the officers. Being the only member has the advantage of simplifying how a business is formed and operated.

If you need help with a sole member, 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, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.