Can I have 3 businesses under 1 LLC, like a Company that owns 3 different businesses?

Would this be wise and/or easier on taxes? How would I go about doing this? I still want each business’s name to be protected and registered if possible (I don’t want someone else trying to take my name and registering it for themselves).

Asked on July 13, 2015 under Business Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, one LLC can conduct multiple different business, which business can themselves be LLCs owned by the main LLC, or they can simply be names used by main business. Multiple business names and multiple trademarks can be registered or owned by one business. There is no legal impediment to this.

Tax-wise, there is no real difference, if they are all "pass-through" entities (taxed as partnerships), other than that multiple entities would require multiple tax returns. Liability-wise, if there is one LLC, and not three, then the assets of all are at risk if there is a lawsuit, a major breach of contract, etc.; on the other hand, it is easier to move money from one to another if  it is only one LLC. 

There is no simple answer: there are many ways to set up three business, and which is best (one LLC, two LLCs, three LLCs, etc.; or maybe corporations, instead) depends on your exact goals and priorities. Speak with a tax professional and also a lawyer who does business formation, expalin what you want to accomplish, and let them guide you.

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