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Written by : Maranda Gould
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a friend graham cochran here one of the biggest questions I get as a business coach is really simple should I run my business as an LLC or as a sole proprietor maybe you've asked yourself that question if you're trying to figure out which entity makes sense to you from a tax perspective or maybe you're just thinking I don't know what the heck either one of those are or why I should care I'm just making money or trying to make money believe me I've been there and what I hope to do in today's video is explain what each one of those are and the differences and give you a simple and easy framework to understand which one is the right fit for you and your business - huge preface is before we begin number one is I am NOT a licensed tax professional I can only give general advice to you based off of my experience and what makes sense as a business coach I don't know your specific details so it might make sense to consult your CPA or your tax advisor if you have more detailed questions and second all of this content makes sense for you if you run your business in America this is the country I live in and work in and it's the tax code I understand so I'm gonna be speaking specifically to the American tax code make sense all right let's jump in sole proprietor LLC what the heck are these things in the plainest terms possible a sole proprietor is what you are by default when you start rendering a service or selling a product whether you know it or not the moment you open up shop as it were and start making money you are at least in the IRS --is eyes a sole proprietor there are no forms to fill out to become a sole proprietor there are no hoops to jump through it is just who you are by default and that phrase sole proprietor means simply this you are a one-person business or a one owner business sole meaning only and proprietor meaning or property owner easy-peasy so what does this mean for tax purposes by law if you make any money on the side with your side hustle you know I hate that word you must report that income on your tax regen if you want to be legal at least and you should because it's the right thing to do the many people run small side businesses whether it's cutting grass cutting hair designing websites whatever and they think they don't need to report that income if it's under a certain amount now if you make any money report that income on your personal tax return now the way the IRS views this income as side income is really simple they tax that income which is really your income minus your expenses so they attacks your profit like any income you make at your personal tax level so your personal tax bracket the same amount your tax on any paycheck you currently have so your tax at your same personal tax bracket plus something called self-employment tax which is at this moment 15.3% and this includes your FICA the Social Security Medicare all that kind of stuff so your personal tax bracket whatever that percentage is for you on the federal level and your extra fifteen point three percent self-employment tax now if you live in a state that charges state income tax you'll have to pay that as well not all states do but some do so you'll want to take a look at what that tax is for your state then we'll talk about how to file your taxes as a sole proprietor in a minute but in essence that is what you are by default you're making side income whether it's $10 or $10,000 you need to report it and there's a place for you to do it and that is how you're taxed on it now an LLC stands for limited liability company and it's exactly what it says it is a company that you form that has limited liability for the owner basically you're setting up a separate entity that runs the business that does the business that isn't you you own that entity and you might work in that entity but you are not it it is separate from you which comes in when things like lawsuits come about it keeps a separation a veil or a wall between what can be sued and what can happen over here and your personal life and your personal wealth and your personal assets and things like that now the big difference between the sole proprietor in the LLC besides having that separation the big difference as it relates to you and your taxes is that an LLC has to file its own tax return because it is its own entity separate from you so has to file its own return and then the profits which is all the income that business made - its expenses those profits are then passed through it's a pass-through entity passed through to you and you actually pay your taxes on those profits on your personal tax return at your personal tax rate so what's the difference between that and how your tax on a sole proprietor they sound almost the same at the end of the day let me explain the difference and which one is a better fit for you so should you run your business as a sole proprietor or should you form an LLC which one is the best one here is the back-of-the-envelope answer and then I'll unpack it easiest way to start on your business is as a sole proprietor and I would say forget even thinking about forming an LLC until you are making at least $50,000 or more in annual revenue here's why when you're just starting out as a business you're usually making little to no revenue right we'll have to start somewhere so the potential tax benefits of running your business through an LLC more on those in a moment don't outweigh the costs incurred by having an LLC things like having to file a separate tax return possibly paying a CPA or an accountant to handle all of that and do your bookkeeping as a sole proprietor you can do everything that an LLC can do you can set up a separate checking account for your business which you should be doing from day one by the way and you can do this at any bank of your choice you can set up a DBA or a doing business as where you can set up your bank account or accept checks or accept payment under your business name and not your personal name even though you're still a sole proprietor in the state of Florida this is called the fictitious name and it's the exact same thing and then filing your taxes at the end of the year is a breeze simply use something like turbotax.com or H&R block or whatever software you like and most of them are online these days to fill out your normal 1040 and follow the prompts when they ask if you've made any extra or side income or if you have a business answer the questions about your revenue how much you made your expenses how much you spent and it will calculate everything for you how much you actually are taxed on and what that tax should be based off of how much your overall income level is and all of the deductions therein all you have to do is keep good records of your income and your expenses including probably receipts at least take a picture of them save them the Dropbox or Evernote or wherever you like that way in case you get an audit it's really easy to show what your expenses were that they were valid expenses so the question is when does it make sense to form an LLC well I personally started my first business the recording revolution as
Thanks for your comment Ambrose Monges, have a nice day.
- Maranda Gould, Staff Member
hey there crystal a cpa here and a common question i hear all of the time from new business owners is should i be a sole proprietor or an llc as a business owner you might be wondering which entity type will save you the most in taxes right or you just might be confused on the entire idea of selecting an entity type for your business and why you should actually care either way i completely understand and in today's video i plan on breaking down the key differences and similarities between operating your business as a sole proprietorship or operating your business as an llc let's go ahead and dive in so let's start with sole proprietorship what is it well according to the irs a sole proprietorship or sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by him or herself but more simply a sole proprietor is one person who earns money by selling a product or rendering a service it is what you are by default when you start your business so there aren't any forms to file or any additional steps you need to take when operating a sole proprietorship furthermore sole proprietorships aren't required to have a separate bank account or pay filing fees to get started so in the eyes of the irs if you own a business by yourself you are automatically a sole proprietor now from a tax perspective sole proprietors are treated as the same entity as their business which means sole proprietorships are taxed at the same individual tax rate as its owner and this also means that all of the earnings the sole proprietorship made is 100 entitled to the owner and should be paid out and it is for this reason sole proprietorships are required to report all of the income they've earned on their owner's individual tax return and pay taxes on all of the business profits there is not a separate business return for sole proprietorships but sole proprietors also get to report all of their business related expenses as tax write-offs which would lower profits and the taxes do in addition you would report all of these business-related income and losses on an additional irs form schedule c and attach it to your personal income tax return now in order to complete schedule c you would need your business name social security number or ein if you have one a business profit and loss statement for the tax year and also any receipts or other source documentation for the tax write-offs you're planning to claim in addition to schedule c if you're a sole proprietor and earned more than 400 during the year you are required to file schedule se and pay social security and medicare taxes this form would also be attached to the owner's personal tax return but once you figure out your total self-employment income after all of the business expenses have been deducted from your revenue you can expect to pay about 15.3 percent in self-employment taxes up to the first 142 800 of self-employment income so up until now you've learned that sole proprietorships are the default entity structures for individuals operating a business and no paperwork is required to be filed to form them and sole proprietorships are not considered separate entities from their owners and pay income taxes based on the owner's individual income tax rate and in addition to those taxes sole proprietors pay self-employment taxes if their income was over 400 did you catch all of that now let's move on to llc's llc stands for limited liability company and according to the irs an llc is a business structure allowed by state statute so there aren't any federal forms that you need to file to form an llc instead each state has different rules and regulations regarding llc's and for this reason business owners who wish to have an llc must file the appropriate paperwork including filing fees to the secretary of state so unlike sole proprietorships becoming an llc is an active process it is not an entity structure by default and you can also have more than one owner in an llc unlike sole proprietorships another fun fact is that an llc owner is called a member not a sole proprietor another difference is that llc owners enjoy what's called limited liability limited liability is a type of legal protection where the liability of the business is limited to the amount the business owner invested in the business also meaning that the personal assets of the business owner are not at risk if the company is sued or fails and the reason is because the llc and the owner are considered two separate entities from a legal perspective so if someone decides to sue your business they are suing your business and not you the individual this also means that when you own an llc you should have a separate bank account for your business to keep your business and personal funds clearly separated the opposite is true for sole proprietorships remember sole proprietorships are treated as the same entity as their owner so if someone sues your sole proprietorship they are also suing you the individual in which case your personal assets like your house are potentially at risk all right that was a lot of legal talk but let's get into some of the tax implications of llcs now if you are one person who owns an llc and you don't make any tax elections the irs considers your llc to be a disregarded entity by default this means that the llc's business activities should be reflected on the owner's federal tax return very much similar or the same as a sole proprietor the business activities would be reported on schedule c and the taxes owed would be based on the owner's individual tax rate and the owner would still be liable for self-employment taxes on the llc's income however and here's where another major difference happens between llcs and sole proprietorships llcs that do not want to accept their default tax classification can use form 8832 to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes so llc owners can actually choose if they want their llc to be taxed as a partnership or corporation or llc owners can use form 2553 to elect their llc be taxed as a s corporation now deciding on whether to elect a certain tax treatment or go with the default method for llcs is a personalized decision and depends on a number of different factors such as your business income your goals for the profits of the business and investor involvement but for the purposes of this video you just need to understand that you have more flexibility in how you want to be taxed when you are an llc you just have to file the right forms to recap here some of the pros and cons of a sole proprietorship are starting with the pros no cost or formal process required to start simple tax filing and owner is entitled to all profits the cons of sole proprietorships include owner is personally liable for losses and lawsuits and it may be harder to raise money from investors because of the lack of legal separation between owner and business the pros of llcs include owners enjoy limited liability or protection of their personal assets flexible tax treatment and possible to have multiple owners the cons of llcs include filing fees a form and annual renewal fees paperwork to file with the stat
Thanks Beau your participation is very much appreciated
- Maranda Gould
About the author
I've studied environmental chemistry at New England College in Henniker and I am an expert in expert systems. I usually feel mellow. My previous job was biology professor I held this position for 6 years, I love talking about parkour and mushroom hunting. Huge fan of MrBeast I practice lacrosse and collect first editions.
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