20th Anniversary SAC Attorneys
Elite Lawyers
Lawyers of Distinction
Avvo Rating 10.0
Santa Clara County Bar Association
Association of American Trial Lawyers
Elite Lawyers Business James Cai 2017
Best Litigation Attorneys in San Jose
Expertise - Best Employment Lawyers in Santa Clara 2021
Expertise - Best Employment Lawyers in Santa Clara 2022

3 Reasons to Convert Your Business into a Limited Liability Company

Many people begin a tech start-up or other small business as a sole proprietorship or simple partnership. But as a business grows, you may begin to wonder whether it is time to think about a more formal business structure, such as a limited liability company or corporation. Here are three questions to consider when deciding whether your business should become a limited liability company (LLC).

1. To What Extent Are Your Personal Assets at Risk if You Are Sued By a Customer, Creditor, or Employee?

Sometimes, the money starts flowing in a business and seems like it will never stop. But when your business spending or borrowing reaches six or seven figures, you need to think about what will happen if you run short of cash. You do not want to risk the chance of losing your home or other personal assets to creditors.

Another risk is that of civil litigation. Suppose a customer discovers a serious defect in a product that your business delivered, and the customer sues for damages. Or, you could become the target of a lawsuit filed by a current or former employee related to wrongful termination or discrimination.

One of the main benefits of a LLC is the separation and protection of your personal assets from the assets of the business. Creditors and liability lawsuits can only go after the assets of the business.

2. Do You Have Partners?

Another major benefit of forming an LLC is protection of the business from internal disputes amongst the partners. Partnership disputes are unfortunately common, and they can destroy a business just as fast as a negative cash flow.

Some, but not all, partners write up some kind of partnership agreement at the time they go into business together. But when you form a LLC, California and many other states require the business to have an operating agreement, either oral or written.

There are many benefits to developing and signing a formal, customized operating agreement–a legal contract designed to prevent disputes among the partners down the road. A well-written LLC operating agreement will spell out details such as:

  • Each owner’s responsibilities for the day-to-day operation of the business.
  • The formula for distributing profits and losses amongst the partners.
  • A process for making key decisions if the partners cannot agree, for example, through mediation or arbitration.
  • Procedures for handling a partner’s death, divorce, or desire to exit the business.
3. Do You Want to Avoid the Double Taxation Involved in Becoming a Corporation?

Taxation is one main reason that many small businesses choose to become LLCs rather than corporations. An LLC is advantageous when the owners want to take all or most of the profits out of the business each year.

A LLC has the option of being a “pass-through entity,” meaning that the business itself does not pay income taxes. The owners simply report all of the business’s end-of-year profits, as well as any separate salary payments they take throughout the year, as income on their personal tax returns.

In the case of a corporation, which is a unique legal entity, the corporation itself must file a tax return and pay taxes on its profits. And then, when the owners take profits out of the corporation, they must pay taxes for those profits on their personal tax returns–essentially causing the same earnings to be taxed twice. This means the owners may net substantially less from the business.

While most LLCs choose the “pass-through entity” approach to taxes, a LLC does have the option to handle their taxes the same way a corporation does. A business’s accounting and tax advisor can explain the various pros and cons of each option.

Consult a Skilled San Jose Business Law Attorney

As your business grows, you may want to consider implementing a more formal business structure. When it is time to take that next step, talk to an experienced Silicon Valley business lawyer. At SAC Attorneys LLP, we have extensive experience helping both start-ups and established businesses grow and thrive, and we can provide the advice and assistance you need to convert your sole proprietorship or general partnership into a LLC or corporation. Contact us today at (408) 436-0789 to arrange a free consultation.


Client Reviews
Mr. Cai Is a Diligent Attorney. My sister and I were defendants in a civil litigation case. We hired James Cai and his law firm, SAC Attorneys LLP. Mr. Cai is a diligent attorney and responded to our questions in a timely fashion. He and his staff were very helpful in keeping us informed of the proceedings of the case and in explaining each step. Mr. Cai is also very conscientious of fees and costs, and avoided unnecessary charges. The results of the Summary Adjudication sided with us. The Court Trial resulted in the “Final Statement of Decision” and “Judgment after Court Trial” overwhelmingly siding with us. Cynthia F.
I Am Truly Impressed. After spending a significant amount of time, money and efforts with my previous counsel at a larger law firm without getting meaningful results, I transferred my employment matter to SAC Attorneys LLP. The attorneys there were able to understand the complex situations of my case and put together an aggressive litigation strategy. We were able to file a compelling complaint within a week and forced the opposing party, which was represented by one of the largest law firms in California, to make a substantial settlement offer shortly thereafter. I am truly impressed by the no nonsense and results oriented approach by SAC Attorneys LLP attorneys. A job well done! X. Gao
They Took Time to Understand Our Technology. I am the founder of a bioinformatics start-up in the Silicon Valley and chose SAC Attorneys LLP as our corporate counsels. Their attorneys have great experience with high tech start-ups and were able to offer a highly competitive service plan while not sacrificing a bit of their quality of services. They took time to understand our technology and provided value added services by introducing investors and job candidates to us. We regard our attorneys at SAC Attorneys LLP not only as our legal advisors but also our venture partners. Dr. Pete S.