Beginning in the late 1980s, various states began exploring a hybrid entity, one in which co-owners would enjoy the liability protection of limited partner status and the management participation feature of the general partners. Wyoming was the first state to enact its limited liability company statute and many states quickly followed suit. Indiana adopted its limited liability company statute, known as the Indiana Business Flexibility Act, in 1993.
Most of the characteristics of a partnership are shared by the limited liability company. The company is formed upon filing articles of organization with the Secretary of State’s office; rights and responsibilities are spelled out in a written operating agreement; the interests are freely transferable (though again, the transferee does not automatically become a member in the company); and the entity itself usually does not pay any tax, although some states other than Indiana do subject limited liability companies to franchise taxes.
A major difference between a partnership and a limited liability company is that each of its members enjoys liability protection. Another major difference is that in recent years, most states have recognized limited liability companies with only one owner. This means that you can protect yourself from personal liability and yet still operate your business, in many ways, as you would a sole proprietorship (presuming you comply with the formalities of the limited liability company). These so-called “single member LLCs” offer an important tax advantage—annual information can be reported on the owner’s individual tax return, and no separate tax return or identification number is required.
A limited liability company can either be managed by its members, or the members may select one or more managers (e.g., a board of managers similar to a corporate board of directors) to run the business. Most states will require you to decide upfront how the company will be managed. All things being equal, most business owners will choose the limited liability company form over the partnership form. However, things are almost never equal and nuances do exist. It is important to discuss these details with your attorney.
The Law Office of Brian V Powers works with new and prospective business owners to aid in the purchase, structuring and formation of a new business. We also provide convenient, fixed pricing for certain business formation legal services. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for help forming your Indiana Limited Liability Company.