What Are the Key Differences Between an LLC and an Inc?

In the business world, two common methods of incorporating a company are through a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Corporation (Inc). While both options have similar benefits, they also have several key differences that are important to consider before choosing the best fit for your business.

In this article, we will discuss the fundamental differences between an LLC and an Inc and help you make an informed decision about which structure is best for you. Keep reading to learn more.

LLC vs. Inc

When starting a business, one of the most important decisions a business owner must make is choosing the appropriate business structure. The two most common types of business entities are limited liability companies and corporations. 

Although both LLCs and Incs provide liability protection for business owners, there are key differences in the management structure, tax structure, recordkeeping, ownership interest, and liability protection of these entities. Take a look at some of the most common distinctions between an LLC and an Inc. 


One of the main differences between LLCs and corporations is the tax structure. LLCs are classified as pass-through entities, which means that LLC income passes through the business and is reported on the personal income tax return of the LLC members. 

On the other hand, a corporation is either classified as a C corporation or an S corporation. C-corps are taxed twice – once on the corporate level and again on the individual level for shareholders through dividends or other distributions. S-corps are pass-through entities similar to LLCs, but only allow a limited number of shareholders with specific requirements. 


Another important difference is in terms of ownership interest. LLC members hold a membership interest in the company, while corporations issue shares of stock to their shareholders. LLC members have more control over the management and day-to-day operations of the company, while shareholders have more control over major business decisions such as electing the board of directors. 


Additionally, the management structure for LLCs and corporations also differs. LLCs allow for a more flexible management structure, where members can run the business or hire outside managers. Corporations, however, have a more rigid management structure with a board of directors overseeing major decisions and officers overseeing day-to-day operations. 

Reporting Requirements

LLCs and corporations also differ in terms of recordkeeping and ownership interest. LLCs are generally more lenient in recordkeeping and do not require a formal operating agreement, while corporations typically have stricter recordkeeping requirements and can have shareholder meetings. Ownership in LLCs is represented by membership interest, while corporations are represented by stock ownership. 


Both LLCs and Incs offer liability protection to the business owner, meaning their personal assets are not at risk in the event of a legal dispute or bankruptcy. An Inc. is a separate legal entity and its shareholders are not personally liable for the company’s debts or obligations. This means that in case of bankruptcy, legal disputes, or other financial problems, the shareholders’ assets are protected and cannot be seized to pay off the business debts.

In addition, an Inc. also offers liability protection to its directors and officers. These individuals may face lawsuits, but the Inc. is the one liable for any damages awarded, not the individuals themselves. This is known as the “corporate shield” and it is one of the main benefits of incorporating as an Inc.

Choosing Between an LLC or Inc

LLCs and corporations are two popular types of business entities that offer liability protection to owners. While both LLC and corporation entities protect from personal liability, they have their differences in terms of management, taxation, ownership structure, and more. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of LLCs vs incorporation:

Advantages of LLCs

Limited liability protection is the primary advantage of forming an LLC. LLC owners (known as members) can not be held liable for the company’s debts or legal problems. Another advantage is that LLCs offer more flexibility in terms of management and ownership structure than corporations. Members can choose to manage the company themselves or hire a manager or professional to do so. LLCs are also flexible in terms of profit sharing, enabling members to distribute profit based on the proportional ownership stake.

Disadvantages of LLCs

The main disadvantage is that LLCs may require more tax preparation work than a sole proprietorship or S corporation. Another disadvantage of LLCs is that the company’s members may face self-employment taxes on earnings. Additionally, LLCs may not be suitable for businesses that plan to go public or raise significant capital as investors prefer corporations.

Advantages of a Corporation

The main advantage of incorporation is that it provides shareholders with limited liability and protects them from personal liability if the company faces financial problems or lawsuits. Another advantage is that corporations may be more attractive to investors as it issues stocks and can go public. Additionally, corporations offer a clear management structure, formal procedures, and a board of directors.

Disadvantages of a Corporation

The main disadvantage of incorporation is that it’s complex and costly to set up and maintain. Corporations are subject to double taxation, which means that both the company’s profits and earnings that are distributed to shareholders are taxed. Furthermore, corporations are subject to formal regulations such as filing an annual report with the state, and shareholders have to appoint a board of directors and hold annual meetings.

Deciding Which Entity is Right for Your Business

When starting a business, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the legal structure of your company. The two most common options are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Corporations (Inc.). Both structures have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the nature of your business and your long-term goals.

You may want to consider an Inc if you’re planning on attracting investors or significantly growing your business. On the other hand, an LLC can be a better fit if you’re just starting, or already have a small business with few employees. 

When you’re ready, doola is here for you! We make it easy to form your business entity as an LLC or Inc and help you with your bookkeeping and business banking so that you can focus on the day-to-day of running your business. 


What is the difference between an LLC and an Inc?

An LLC, or a Limited Liability Company, is a type of business structure that offers personal asset protection and pass-through taxation for its owners. An Inc, or a Corporation, is a separate legal entity that offers limited liability protection for its shareholders and has a unique tax structure.

Which is better for my business, an LLC or an Inc?

Choosing between an LLC and an Inc depends on your business’s unique needs and goals. If you are looking for flexibility in management and ownership structures, an LLC might be a better fit. However, if you want to attract investors and have a clear path for growth, an Inc might be more suitable for your business.

How do I form an LLC or an Inc?

Forming an LLC or an Inc involves filing certain documents with your state’s Secretary of State office, paying a filing fee, and complying with certain regulations. 

What are the tax implications of forming an LLC or an Inc?

LLCs are pass-through entities, meaning that the profits and losses of the business are reported on the owners’ personal tax returns. In contrast, Corporations have their tax structure and file separate tax returns. Tax implications can be complex and depend on the business’s unique factors, therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a tax professional before making a decision.

How do I choose a name for my LLC or Inc?

Choosing a name for your business involves checking your state’s database to ensure availability and compliance with legal requirements. It’s also recommended to choose a unique and memorable name that aligns with your brand’s values and mission.

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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