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Tax Classification for LLCs: What You Need to Know

As an LLC, you have the option to choose how your business will be taxed. The most common options are to be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. LLCs can also be taxed as S corporations. The taxation option you choose will affect how your business is structured and how you file your taxes.

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An LLC, or limited liability company, is a business structure that can combine the best attributes of a corporation and a partnership. LLCs are relatively easy to form and maintain, and they offer their owners limited personal liability for business debts and claims.

Because an LLC is not a distinct legal entity like a corporation, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not treat it as a separate tax entity. Instead, the IRS allows LLCs to choose how they will be taxed. An LLC can elect to be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. The tax classification that an LLC chooses will have significant consequences for the business, so it’s important to understand the options before making a decision.

What is an LLC?

An LLC is a limited liability company. It is a business structure that combines the features of a corporation and a partnership. Like a corporation, an LLC has limited liability protection for its owners. Like a partnership, an LLC is easy to form and does not have to pay taxes at the corporate level.

An LLC can be formed by one or more people. The owners of an LLC are called members. An LLC can be member-managed or manager-managed. In a member-managed LLC, the members run the company. In a manager-managed LLC, the members hire one or more managers to run the company.

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An LLC can be classified as either a partnership or a corporation for tax purposes. The default rule is that an LLC with two or more members is classified as a partnership and an LLC with only one member is classified as a corporation. However, an LLC can choose to be taxed as a corporation by filing what is called an “electing statement” with the IRS.

The advantage of having your LLC taxed as a corporation is that you can then choose to have your LLC taxed as either an S corporation or a C corporation for tax purposes. S corporations are subject to special rules that allow them to avoid paying taxes at the corporate level. C corporations are subject to corporate income taxes, but they can also deduct the wages paid to their employees from their taxable income.

Tax Classification for LLCs

When you form a limited liability company (LLC), you must choose a tax classification for the business. The most common tax classifications for LLCs are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. The tax classification you choose will determine how your business is taxed.

Single-Member LLCs

A single-member LLC is an LLC that has only one owner. This owner can be an individual, a corporation, or another LLC. A single-member LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship, unless it files Form 8832 and elects to be taxed as a corporation.

A single-member LLC is fairly simple to set up and run, and it offers the same liability protection as a multi-member LLC. The main difference is that a single-member LLC is not required to file separate tax returns; instead, the sole member includes the LLC’s income and expenses on his or her personal tax return.

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If you are the only owner of your business, you may want to consider setting up a single-member LLC. This structure offers the same personal liability protection as a multi-member LLC, but with simplified tax reporting.

Multi-Member LLCs

Multi-member LLCs are taxed as partnerships by the IRS. This means that the LLC itself does not pay taxes on its income, but instead “passes through” the profits and losses to its members. The members of the LLC then report their share of the profits and losses on their individual tax returns.


In conclusion, it is important to consult with a tax professional when determining the tax classification for your LLC. While the IRS offers some guidance on this matter, there are many factors to consider and the decision is ultimately up to you. With the help of a tax advisor, you can make sure that you choose the classification that is best for your business.

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*This applies to Virginia residents too!

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