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Why are LLCs so Popular? | The Rise of LLCs

By: Jack Nicholaisen author image
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Over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the formation of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in the United States.

article summaryKey Takeaways

  • LLC Growth LLCs in the U.S. grew from 200,000 in 1993 to over 2.4 million in 2018, showing their increasing popularity.
  • New Business Preference In 2017, 69% of new U.S. businesses were LLCs, indicating a strong preference for this structure.
  • Industry Dominance Over 80% of U.S. real estate firms and many in professional services and retail are LLCs, favoring their liability and tax benefits.
  • LLC Benefits LLCs offer limited liability protection, tax flexibility, operational ease, and enhanced credibility.
  • Entrepreneurial Advice Entrepreneurs should consider LLCs for their business structure due to their foundational benefits for success.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners are choosing this structure for their ventures due to its numerous advantages, such as flexibility, liability protection, and tax benefits.

This article delves into the world of LLCs, providing a statistical overview of their growth, the industries where they are most popular, and the specific advantages that make them an attractive choice for businesses.

popularity of llcs

Since their inception in the late 1970s, LLCs have grown in popularity among entrepreneurs and business owners.

According to the IRS, the number of LLCs in the United States has increased dramatically from approximately 200,000 in 1993 to over 2.4 million in 2018.

This growth can be attributed to the unique benefits offered by LLCs, such as limited liability protection, pass-through taxation, and operational flexibility.

The rise of LLCs can also be observed by looking at the percentage of new businesses choosing this structure…

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) accounted for approximately 69% of all new businesses formed in the United States in 2017.

This highlights the popularity of the LLC structure due to its liability protection and tax advantages, making it a preferred choice among new business owners.

➤ DISCOVER: Learn about the historical events leading up to the creation of LLCs

why are llc so popular

LLCs are a popular choice for businesses across various industries.

Some of the most common industries where LLCs are prevalent include:

  • Real Estate:

Many real estate investors and developers choose LLCs for their ventures due to the liability protection and pass-through taxation benefits.

They are easy to manage, cost less to maintain than corporations, and boost professional credibility.

Plus, LLCs separate personal and business finances, making them a popular choice for real estate firms.

  • Professional Services:

Law firms, accounting firms, and consulting firms often opt for LLCs to separate personal and professional liabilities.

The American Bar Association reports that the majority of law firms in the United States are organized as LLCs or similar structures.

  • Retail and E-commerce:

Many small business owners and online entrepreneurs choose LLCs for their retail and e-commerce ventures.

The flexibility and simplicity of the LLC structure make it an attractive choice for those looking to start or grow their businesses in this sector.

Advantages of Forming an LLC

are llcs a popular business structure

There are several reasons why entrepreneurs and business owners are increasingly choosing to form LLCs.

Some of the key advantages include:

1. Limited Liability Protection:

LLCs provide personal liability protection for their owners, shielding them from the company’s debts and obligations.

This protection is especially important for businesses in industries with higher risk, such as real estate or construction.

2. Tax Flexibility:

LLCs enjoy pass-through taxation, meaning that profits and losses are reported on the owner’s personal tax return.

This avoids double taxation, which can occur in other business structures like corporations.

3. Operational Flexibility:

Unlike corporations, LLCs are not required to have a board of directors, hold annual meetings, or adhere to other formalities.

This allows business owners to focus on growing their businesses without being bogged down by administrative tasks.

4. Credibility:

Forming an LLC can add credibility to a business, as it shows potential customers, investors, and partners that the company is a legitimate, structured entity.

➤ EXPLORE: How do LLCs compare to Sole Proprietorships?

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions About the Popularity of LLCs

popular llcs

What is an LLC?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits of a partnership.

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An LLC is a legal entity separate from its owners, known as members, which means that the members are not personally liable for the company's debts and liabilities.

This structure allows for pass-through taxation, where the company's income is only taxed once at the individual members' level, avoiding the double taxation faced by corporations.

LLCs are flexible in management and can have one or multiple members.

Read more here.

How does an LLC protect personal assets?

An LLC provides limited liability protection, meaning members' personal assets are protected from the company's debts and legal obligations.

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In the event of legal action against the LLC or if the company cannot pay its debts, the members' personal assets, such as their homes, cars, and personal bank accounts, are usually not at risk.

This protection is a key advantage over sole proprietorships and partnerships, where owners are personally liable for business liabilities.

However, this protection is not absolute, and members can still be held personally liable in cases of fraud, personal guarantees, or negligence.

What are the tax benefits of an LLC?

LLCs offer pass-through taxation, meaning the company's income is only taxed once at the individual members' level.

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This avoids the double taxation faced by corporations, where the company's income is taxed at the corporate level and then again at the individual shareholder level when dividends are distributed.

Members of an LLC can also choose how they want to be taxed, either as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, providing flexibility to optimize tax liabilities.

LLCs can deduct business expenses, such as rent, salaries, and equipment costs, before distributing income to members.

Read more here.

Can an LLC have multiple owners?

Yes, an LLC can have multiple owners, known as members, and there is no limit to the number of members it can have.

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LLCs with multiple members are treated as partnerships for tax purposes by default but can elect to be taxed as a corporation.

Members can have varying levels of involvement in the company's management and can decide on the distribution of profits and losses in the LLC's operating agreement.

This flexibility makes LLCs a popular choice for businesses with multiple stakeholders.

Read more here.

How is an LLC formed?

Forming an LLC involves filing Articles of Organization with the state, creating an operating agreement, and paying the necessary fees.

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The process includes choosing a unique name for the LLC, appointing a registered agent, and obtaining any required licenses or permits for the business.

The operating agreement outlines the management structure and member roles, though it's not always required by the state.

The cost and specific requirements vary by state, so it's important to check with the relevant state agency.

Read more here.

What are the ongoing requirements for maintaining an LLC?

Ongoing requirements for an LLC typically include annual reports, tax filings, and maintaining accurate records.

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LLCs must comply with state-specific regulations, which may include filing an annual or biennial report with the state and paying any associated fees.

They must also keep up with federal, state, and local tax obligations, including income, employment, and sales taxes.

Maintaining accurate financial records and holding regular meetings, though not legally required, can help protect the LLC's limited liability status.

Can an LLC operate in multiple states?

Yes, an LLC can operate in multiple states, but it may need to register as a foreign LLC in each additional state where it does business.

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To register as a foreign LLC, the company typically needs to file a Certificate of Authority with the state, pay a filing fee, and appoint a registered agent in that state.

This registration allows the LLC to legally conduct business outside its home state while still maintaining its limited liability protection.

Each state has its own rules and fees for foreign LLC registration, so it's important to check with the state's business agency.

In Summary…

The meteoric rise of LLCs over the past few decades has transformed the landscape of business structures in the United States.

Their unique benefits, such as limited liability protection, tax flexibility, and operational freedom, have made them a popular choice across various industries.

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner considering your options for structuring your venture, take the time to research and understand the advantages of forming an LLC.

It could provide the perfect foundation for your business’s success.

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These sources provide valuable information and insights into the growth, popularity, and advantages of LLCs across various industries.

By exploring these resources further, you can gain a deeper understanding of why entrepreneurs and business owners are increasingly choosing to form their ventures as Limited Liability Companies.

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About the Author

jack nicholaisen
Jack Nicholaisen

Jack Nicholaisen is the founder of After acheiving the rank of Eagle Scout and studying Civil Engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), he has spent the last 4 years disecting the mess of informaiton online about LLCs in order to help aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners better understand everything there is to know about starting, running, and growing Limited Liability Companies and other business entities.