Types of Business Structures in Illinois

Starting a new Illinois business can be both exciting and challenging. Whenever you start a business, you will have to select one organizational type from out of all the different business structures. This choice determines how your business will be set up and organized. Making the right choice for your business will generally depend upon the type of business, how you want the business to be run, how many owners the business will have, and the financial situation of the business.

Below are the types of business structures in Illinois that you can organize your new business, along with a brief description of each.

Sole Proprietorship and General Partnership

When a business name is different from the owner(s) full legal name(s), the Illinois Assumed Name Act requires sole proprietorships and general partnerships to register with their local county clerk’s office for registration under the Assumed Name Act. Sole proprietors must have a Federal Employer Identification Number if they pay wages to one or more employees, or file any pension or excise tax returns including those of alcohol, tobacco or firearms.

Limited Partnership

A Limited Partnership is an organization made up of a GENERAL PARTNER, who manages a project, and limited partners, who invest money, but have limited liability and are not involved in day-to-day management. Typical limited partnerships are in real estate, oil and gas, and equipment leasing and family partnerships.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the non-corporate form of doing business that provides its owners with limited liability, flow-through tax treatment and operating flexibility through participation in management of the business. The LLC is well suited for every type of business venture, except banking and insurance, which are prohibited by Statute. Examples of acceptable businesses are: farming, agricultural services, mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation, wholesale and retail trade, investment companies, insurance agents, real estate brokers, all types of real estate ventures, hotels, personal and business services, automotive sales and services, amusement and recreation, health services, accounting, architecture and other professions…

Limited Liability Partnership

If organized as a Limited Liability Partnership under a specific section of the General Partnership Act, partners are not liable for the debts, obligations and liabilities of, or chargeable to the partnership arising from negligence, wrongful acts, omissions, misconduct or malpractice committed while the partnership is a Limited Liability Partnership.

“C” Corporation

A corporation is a distinct legal entity and is the most complex form of organization. A corporation may sell shares of stock, which are certificates indicating ownership, to as many people as is desirable. The shareholders then elect a board of directors, which elects a president and other officers who run the company on a day-to-day basis. Among the advantages of corporate formation are limited liability of the shareholder and ease of transferring ownership. If the name of the business includes the word “Corporation,” “Inc.”,”Incorporated” or “Corp.”, then the business must be incorporated.

“S” Corporation

Electing S Corporation status is an option that must be made through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when starting a business. In general, an S Corporation passes through income and expenses to its shareholders, who then report them on their own income tax returns. To qualify for S Corp. status, a corporation must meet several requirements, one of which limits the number of shareholders.

Before selecting a business structure for the business you’re planning on starting, it is highly recommended to consult an attorney with business law knowledge and/or accountant for assistance in determining which Illinois business structure is best suited for your business objectives.

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