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Basic Business Legal Structures

Options for Forming a Retail Business


Several factors should be considered when choosing the best form of business ownership when starting your retail business. The type of business structure you choose can have an impact on multiple aspects of your business, including taxes, liability, and your exit strategy.

Here are some basic forms of business ownership in the United States.  There are variants from state to state, so be sure to check with your state's Secretary of State Office for specific requirements and details. It is recommended to consult with a lawyer and/or accountant to discuss your situation before filing the necessary paperwork.

1. Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietor is an individual who owns an unincorporated business. Learn more about this business structure, including the advantages and disadvantages of starting a retail business as a sole proprietor.

2. Partnership

A partnership is a business relationship between two or more persons. Each person in this business structure contributes labor, capitol and shares in both the profits and losses of the business. Read on to decide if this structure is right for your retail business.

3. Corporation

A corporation is chartered by the state where it is headquartered and is considered by law to be a unique entity that can be taxed, it can be sued, and it can enter into contractual agreements. But is it right for you?

4. Limited Liability Company

This type of business ownership combines several features of corporation and partnership structures. Learn more about the pros and cons of forming an LLC.

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