Choosing a form for your business: the options have expanded

In the olden days – that is to say, as recently as the 1980s – people weighing their business-formation options had relatively few choices as to form.

The old standbys that had been there for decades were still pretty much the only game in town. There were corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships – and not a lot else.

Since then, however, the number of options has expanded in remarkable fashion. The array of choices for business owners who are setting up shop therefore requires careful consideration.

One relatively new business form that has become widely used is the Limited Liability Company or LLC. The Boston Celtics and many other Massachusetts companies are LLCs.

As the Small Business Administration explains on the SBA website, an LLC is essentially a hybrid form. It has limited-liability features that are comparable to a corporation. But it also has functional efficiencies and tax advantages similar to partnerships.

And of course partnerships themselves have expanded significantly in their types and scope in recent years. It is now possible not only to create a limited partnership, but also a limited liability partnership (LLP).

In short, the limited number of forms that were available for most of the 20th century has been supplemented by a newly-expanded range of additional options.

Of course, regardless of which form you choose there will be some common types of decisions to make. You will need to decide ona  name for your business, for one thing. You will also need to anticipate your likely tax obligations, which will vary according to your choice of entity.

If you are seeking to learn more about these options, please visit our page on business formation.