Selecting the right business structure is a critical step every business owner must take into consideration when going through the incorporation process. The following business structure chart provides a high-level comparison of the most popular forms of business structure and their attributes.

7 Popular Business Structures Compared

  Sole Proprietor General Partnership C-Corp  S-Corp Professional Corporation Nonprofit Corp Limited Liability Company
Formation No filing required No filing required State filing required State filing required State filing required State and federal filings required State filing required
Limited personal liability No No Yes Yes Yes, except for own malpractice Yes Yes
Transferability of interest No No Yes Generally Limited Generally Limited N/A Yes, Often Limited
Duration Until withdrawal or death of owner Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Pass-through taxation Yes Yes No Yes No Tax Exempt Yes, upon election
Ability to raise capital Not as separate entity Yes Yes Yes, but shareholder limits Yes Yes, through donations and grants Yes
Limitations on number of owners Yes No No Yes No, but all owners must be part of same profession N/A No

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