In the United States, a limited liability company is a business entity type that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation, creating the best of both worlds for business owners. LLCs have rapidly become one of the most popular business structures for new and small businesses, largely because they are considered to be simpler and more flexible than a corporation.
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Some businesses are prevented from forming an LLC, however. Typically financial companies such as banks, financial trust companies and insurance agencies can't file as an LLC. LLCs are sometimes limited for industries in certain states, too. For example, if you live in California, you can't form an LLC if you're an architect, accountant or licensed health care provider. Check out our LLC information by state for more details on your state.
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
After you've completed the steps described above, your LLC is official. But before you open your doors for business, you need to obtain the licenses and permits that all new businesses must have to operate. These may include a business license (sometimes also referred to as a "tax registration certificate"), a federal employer identification number, a sellers' permit, or a zoning permit. For more on business licenses and permits, see the Licenses & Permits for Your Business area of Nolo's website.
A limited-liability company ("LLC") is commonly referred to as a "hybrid" business structure, meaning that it shares characteristics of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship. It allows its owners to insulate themselves from personal liability for business debts, does not require the payment of separate business taxes (the tax "passes through" to its owners), allows for a great deal of flexibility with regards to its organizational structure, and is subject to fewer regulations and restrictions than are other types of business structures. Establishing such a company in Wisconsin is a rather straightforward process.
Where the equipment you use in your business was acquired as a gift, you may report your estimate of its current market value on the Business Property Statement (that is, what you think it would sell for in the open market place). Enter that estimated value in the most current year's cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is an estimate.