Types of companies in the USA: everything to know in 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

How many types of companies in the USA?

When opening a company in the USA, there are four main types of business structures to consider: Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and Corporations (C-Corp or S-Corp).

Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for your business will depend on a number of factors.

Sole proprietorships are the most common type of business in the US, and they are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up. However, sole proprietorships offer no personal liability protection, meaning that the owner is financially responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships, but they involve two or more owners. Like sole proprietorships, partnerships offer no personal liability protection to the owners.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) combine features of both sole proprietorships and corporations, offering personal liability protection to the owners while also providing flexibility in how the business is run. Finally, corporations are large businesses that are owned by shareholders. Corporations offer personal liability protection to the shareholders, but they also come with a number of complex legal and tax requirements.

Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship in the USA is a business that is owned by one person and is not incorporated. The owner of the business is personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common form of business in the United States. Most sole proprietorships are small businesses, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and hair salons. The owner of a sole proprietorship has complete control over the business and its operations. However, because the owner is personally liable for the debts of the business, they may have difficulty obtaining financing from banks or other financial institutions.

Generally, sole proprietorships are easy and inexpensive to set up and operate. The owner has complete control over the business and its operations. Additionally, sole proprietorships are not subject to the same regulations and reporting requirements as corporations and the owner can deduct business expenses from their personal taxes, which can save money at tax time.


Partnerships in the USA are a type of business structure in which two or more people share ownership of the company and individuals within the group can hold sole responsibility for business debts, regardless of the allocation of losses and profits.

There are many different types of business partnerships in the United States. The most common are limited partnerships, general partnerships, and limited liability partnerships. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your business. Limited partnerships are usually between two individuals with a defined roles and responsibilities. The General partnership is the most basic and presume equal ownership of all partners involved. All liabilities and management are equally divided between partners, unless otherwise stated in writing or agreed upon the creation of the company. This also means that all partners are responsible for their portion of the investment in the company.

Limited liability partnerships offer the most protection from personal liability but may have higher taxes and administrative costs. In addition to Partners, that manage the business accepting the company’s debts, there are one or more limited partners who contribute with capital and share in the profits, but they do not hold no responsibility beyond what they contributed and they do not manage the business.

When choosing a business partner, it is important to consider your individual goals and objectives. partnership will help you reach them.

Corporation (C-Corp)

Incorporating a business in the USA automatically makes it a regular, or “C” corporation. A C corporation (or C-Corp) is a separate taxpayer, with income and expenses taxed to the corporation and not the owners. Corporate profits are then distributed to owners as dividends.

Owners must pay personal income tax on the distribution, creating a “double taxation” (profits are taxed first at the corporate level and again at the personal level as dividends). C-corps offer limited liability protection for shareholders. This means that shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the corporation. C-corps can also raise capital through the sale of shares. This makes them an attractive option for businesses that need to raise money quickly.

Once incorporated the C-Corp, investors can choose S corporation status by filing a form with the IRS and with the state, if applicable, so that profits, losses and other tax items pass through the corporation to the investors and are reported on the personal tax return (the S corporation does not pay tax). This S-Corp status is available only to US citizens.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the USA generally offers liability protection to all the members. LLCs can be seen as a combination of the features of a partnership, with the liability protections of a corporation, but subjected to a different taxation system.

LLCs are created by state statute, and they can be structured in a variety of ways. An operating agreement among the members to define the affairs of the LLC and the conduct of its business is required.  The most common type of LLC is the member-managed LLC, in which all of the members (owners) participate in the management of the company. Another common type of LLC is the manager-managed LLC, in which one or more members delegate the management of the company to one or more managers. LLCs can have any number of members, and they can be formed for any lawful business purpose.

LLCs are popular because they offer the limited liability protection of a corporation, but they are much easier to form and operate than a corporation. In addition, LLCs are not subject to the double taxation that applies to corporations. Double taxation occurs when a corporation is taxed on its profits and then its shareholders are taxed again on the dividends they receive from the corporation.

There are some disadvantages to LLCs as well. One is that they can be more expensive to form than other business structures, such as sole proprietorships or partnerships. In addition, member-managed LLCs can be less flexible than manager-managed LLCs in terms of how the company is managed. Finally, LLCs may be subject to special tax rules, such as the “pass-through” taxation of income, that apply to other business structures.

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