Choose a company structure

The first thing you'll need to do is choose a company structure. For the vast majority of new companies, the best choice is a corporation taking an S election (called an "S corporation"). They protect their owners from liability, pay lower taxes, and have very little paperwork.

LLCs are a good choice for some businesses, because they have even less paperwork than S corporations. But it can be difficult to add or remove owners from an LLC and can be harder to raise investment, so they're only a good choice if are sure ownership changes will be rare and you won't need to raise investment. If you start an LLC, you can (and should) have your LLC taxed as an S corporation, as it lowers your taxes.

If your business will offer services of state-licensed professionals, purchase real estate, or operate in a highly-regulated industry, you should probably talk to a lawyer or accountant about the best company structure.

If you'd like to learn more about the different company structures, we've provided a longer explanation here.

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