Hi, there are very slight differences between an LLC and an incorporation or corporation status and most of those are tax differences, not legal ones. Both, for example, provide their owners limited liability protection. This means that the owners of LLCs (who are called "members") and the owners of corporations (who are called "shareholders") are not normaly held liable for the debts or other financial obligations of an LLC or corporation. Both LLCs and corporations are creatures of state, meaning that the state laws of the states in which they are created will cover their business practices. For example, state laws normally require corporations to maintain corporate documents such as annual shareholder and board of directors' meeting minutes, at a minimum, a list of shareholders with addresses and number of shared owned, and some states require bylaws. State mandatory record keeping and record creation for LLCs also exists. For both of these, however, it varies by state. What does not vary by state is the fact that both LLCs and corporations, to be formed, must have Articles of Organization (for an LLC) or Articles of Incorporation (for a corporation) filed with their state's Secretary of State or other state office that manages business filings (they go be different names in different states). Both LLCs and corporations are considered "legal persons," meaning that they are their own person for activities and actions and it is necessary for business matters and accounts to be separate from personal matters and accounts for things such as limited liability protection to exist. A large difference between an LLC and a corporation is taxation - a corporation must pay its own corporate income tax and file a separate tax return. An LLC can be taxed as either a corporation or a partnership or a single proprietorship such that any earnings from the LLC are reported on the personal tax return of the member(s). NOTE, however, that the option on how to be taxed, and which form is best for any person's particular situation for tax reasons, would need to be discussed with a certified public accountant as there are time where an LLC or a corporation may be better to the unique features of the business, the owner(s), and other factors.
As for cost, it depends on the state. It may cost any where from about $100 to as much as $500 or even more depending on the state filing fees. There may also, depending on the type of business being conducted, be a need to obtain a license or permit from the state, county, or city where the business operates which may require payments. Further, documentation, such as bylaws or operating agreements and other documents that state laws require or that may be prudent to create, which should be done by an attorney in your state who practices in this area, may be a few thousand dollars. This, further, assumes that the business will not seek investment from the public through sales of shares through the stock market or within the state to investors, as that would require other actions, documentation, and costs.
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