What Is a C Corp?

define c corp

In many states, they don’t have to hold annual shareholder meetings, since there are no shareholders. They also don’t have to file the extensive financial statements that C corporations do. C corporations begin when founders file articles of incorporation and corporate bylaws with the government (typically the secretary of state) in the company’s home state.

A sole proprietorship is easy to form and gives you complete control of your business. You’re automatically considered to be a sole proprietorship if you do business activities but don’t register as any other kind of business. NerdWallet has rounded up some of our best information on starting a business, including structuring and naming your company, creating a solid plan and much more. We’ll help you do your homework and get started on the right foot.

What Is the Difference Between a C Corporation and an S Corporation?

Depending on the shareholders’ income level, the $79 dividend could be taxed at a rate of up to 23.8 percent ($18.80). Thus, of the original $100 profit, the after-tax income comes out to $60.20. Note that state and local taxes may apply at both levels too. As with other structures, however, owners of a C corporation receive limited liability protection, which guards their personal assets should the company incur debts or legal issues. In addition to S corporations and LLCs, C corporations are comparable to B corporations, which are taxed similarly but operate on different purposes, transparency and accountability. In addition, perhaps the largest negative of C corps is the prospect of double taxation.

B Corp: Definition, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Examples – Investopedia

B Corp: Definition, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Examples.

Posted: Thu, 18 May 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

In fact, they offer the highest level of protection from personal liability for the owners. LLCs can be a good choice for medium- or higher-risk businesses, owners with significant personal assets they want protected, and owners who want to pay a lower tax rate than they would with a corporation. Once the C corporation is up and running, it can sell stock to shareholders, who become co-owners of the company. In return for their investment, shareholders often receive profits from the company in the form of dividends. The taxpayers of a particular city or state are like the shareholders of a corporation. They provide the funding and ultimately call the shots by electing the leaders.


C corporations may be distinguished from other types of business organizations like S corporations and sole proprietorships. While a corporation is legally separate from its owner(s), a sole proprietorship is a business composed of and legally synonymous with the single individual who owns it. While a C corporation can have an unlimited number of shareholders, an S corporation can have no more than 100 shareholders. In addition, an S corp cannot be owned by a C corp, other S corps, or a limited liability entity. Many small business owners opt for S-corp status to save money on taxes. But, if you’re planning to raise investor money in the future or have plans to grow into a very large company, a C-corp might be the better option.

  • A C corporation often has more than one owner, referred to as a shareholder, but it can have just one, as well.
  • Designations like S corp and nonprofit aren’t strictly business structures — they can also be understood as a tax status.
  • The designation also allows you to deduct fringe benefits, like long-term care insurance premiums.
  • Nonprofit corporations are tax-exempt at both the federal and state levels.
  • Profits and losses can get passed through to your personal income without facing corporate taxes.
  • Generally, all for-profit corporations are automatically classified as a C corporation unless the corporation elects the option to treat the corporation as a flow-through entity known as an S corporation.

However, you’ll have to deal with what the IRS calls double taxation. And when you pay dividends out to your shareholders, they’ll be liable for taxes on those dividends, even though the earnings were already taxed at the corporate level. To visualize this, suppose a corporation makes a profit of $100 in a year. Under the corporate income tax (21 percent), corporations would first pay $21 at the entity level, reducing their income to $79.

How to Name a Business: 7 Keys to Pick the Perfect Moniker

Compare the general traits of these business structures, but remember that ownership rules, liability, taxes, and filing requirements for each business structure can vary by state. Please confer with a business tax specialist to confirm your specific business needs. A cooperative is a business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Profits and earnings generated by the cooperative are distributed among the members, also known as user-owners. Typically, an elected board of directors and officers run the cooperative while regular members have voting power to control the direction of the cooperative. Members can become part of the cooperative by purchasing shares, though the amount of shares they hold does not affect the weight of their vote.

define c corp

A limited liability company, or LLC, is another business structure that shields its owners from the liabilities of the business entity. However, an LLC is more suited to a small business or sole proprietorship. Unlike a C corporation, the profits of an LLC are not taxed directly but are passed on directly to the company’s members. C corps can be compared with S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), which also separate a company’s assets from its owners, but with different legal structures and tax treatment.

Where can I find examples of C corporations?

Various friends and family members support their idea to the extent that they buy shares in the business, raising capital to fund its operation. Shareholders of an S-corp must be United States citizens or resident aliens; C-corps are open to foreign investors. In addition to the articles of corporation, all C corps also have to file Form SS-4 define c corp to obtain an employer identification number (EIN). Your EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to American companies for the purposes of identification. Double taxes
If you choose to incorporate as a C Corp, your company will be subject to double taxes. Still, an LLC offers far fewer opportunities to raise funds and, so, grow.

  • Because their work benefits the public, nonprofits can receive tax-exempt status, meaning they don’t pay state or federal income taxes on any profits it makes.
  • For example, they can’t distribute profits to members or political campaigns.
  • In the case of C corporations, the business is responsible for its own liabilities — The owners don’t take on those liabilities.
  • This setup allows business owners to shield themselves from the liabilities (debts or other financial responsibilities) of the company.
  • In addition to electing board members, C corporations must assign someone to serve as a resident agent.

During the meetings, shareholders may approve the company’s bylaws and any merger proposals. One of the more common business structures company owners employ is a C corporation. C corporations – or C corps – can be a great choice because they offer owners more protection, but cost more.

How are C corporations taxed?

Finally, an LLC is a pass-through entity, meaning profits and losses are taxed at the member level but not the business level. In contrast, profits of a C corp are taxed at both the corporate and shareholder level, meaning a higher overall tax burden. So, when starting a C corp, it’s important to ensure you can raise enough capital to justify this double taxation. If your business’s earning potential under a C corp cannot justify the higher tax burden, an LLC may be a better choice. There are many advantages to being a corporation, such as the limited liability of owners and the ability to raise capital by selling shares of stock.

  • Increased amount of record keeping
    If your company is a C corp, there are initial and annual rules about record keeping.
  • Directors
    The Board of Directors is elected yearly by the shareholders and they have a more direct involvement with the running of the corporation.
  • Many business structures, such as sole proprietorships and limited liability companies, allow earnings to pass through to owners, who then pay taxes on them when filing their individual tax returns.
  • The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone.
  • But unlike C corps, S corp shareholders report the income and losses of the company on their own personal tax returns, which means the company isn’t subject to double taxation.

Here’s another look at the advantages and disadvantages of S-corporations vs. C-corporations. Let’s look at another example to understand what business taxes may look like for S-corps vs. C-corps. In addition to electing board members, C corporations https://www.bookstime.com/articles/accountant-for-freelancers must assign someone to serve as a resident agent. The resident agent is the person responsible for a summons or petition in any lawsuits brought against the business. For more e-file information, see e-file for Business and Self-Employed Taxpayers.

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