Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 10, 2020

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A limited liability company (LLC) is a corporation and partnership hybrid that allows owners the freedom of decision-making of a partnership along with the liability protection of a corporation. Each state interprets this hybrid status differently and has different requirements for ownership. 

Most states require that an LLC have at least one member (owner). This member provides a contact for legal purposes. The sole member is also responsible for filing the business’s tax and making all decisions associated with the LLC. 

Every state requires that LLC owners file articles of incorporation. This document provides contact information for the business as well as the business name and the names of all owners. Each state provides a form to be filled out by the owners. If you look at this form, it will state if two or more owners are required. 

You may wish to have only one owner when your state requires at least two. The simplest solution to this problem is to include your spouse or a trusted family member to be the second owner. As long as this other member remains silent and never profits from the business, they will not have any liability or be required to file any taxes related to business income. If you cannot think of a single person you would trust to be a named member, then you may wish to consider filing a corporation instead. In most states a corporation only needs one owner. Even if your state has different requirements, your corporate paperwork can be filed in a different state such as Delaware or California that only requires one owner.

If you are trying to decide on the type of business to file and are having trouble navigating your state’s business laws, contact a business attorney for assistance.