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Limited Liability Company

Taxation

Prior to 1997, the IRS generally treated an LLC as a partnership for federal INCOME TAX purposes. If an LLC is taxed as a partnership, its members are taxed only on their share of the LLC profits. Any gains, losses, credits, and deductions flow through the LLC to the members, who report them as income and losses on their personal tax return.

The IRS developed a system for determining whether an LLC was formed more like a corporation or more like a partnership. Under prior regulations, if the IRS determined that the LLC's operation was more similar to a corporation, the LLC is taxed as a corporation, meaning that both the LLC and its members were taxed. Specifically, the IRS observed whether the LLC had such characteristics as limited liability, centralized management, free transferability of interests, and continuity of life.

However, the IRS passed regulations in 1996, effective in 1997, that allowed LLC members to elect whether the company is a corporation or a partnership for taxation purposes, 26 C.F.R. § 301.7701-3 (2002). The regulations, known as "check-the-box" regulations, generally freed LLC owners from worrying about whether their method of operation would require them to pay corporate taxes instead of partnership taxes. Accordingly, many LLCs may operate similar to a corporation (centralized management with member owners), yet the members may enjoy taxes that flow through the entity.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Legislative Veto to Lloyd'sLimited Liability Company - History, Formation, Structure, Operating Agreement, Membership Interests, Member Contributions, Liability, Records And Books