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Small Business Encyclopedia

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Category: Business Structure

Corporation

Definition: A form of business operation that declares the business as a separate, legal entity guided by a group of officers known as the board of directors

Incorporation

Definition: To legally form a corporation

Partnership

Definition: A legal form of business operation between two or more individuals who share management and profits. The federal government recognizes several types of partnerships. The two most common are general and limited partnerships.

Limited Liability Company

Definition: A form of business organization with the liability-shield advantages of a corporation and the flexibility and tax pass-through advantages of a partnership

Limited Liability Partnership

Definition: A business organization that allows limited partners to enjoy limited personal liability while general partners have unlimited personal liability

Nonprofit Corporation

Definition: A business organization that serves some public purpose and therefore enjoys special treatment under the law. Nonprofit corporations, contrary to their name, can make a profit but can't be designed primarily for profit-making.

Sole Proprietorship

Definition: A business that legally has no separate existence from its owner. Income and losses are taxed on the individual's personal income tax return.

Subchapter S Corporation

Definition: A special form of corporation that allows the protection of limited liability but direct flow-through of profits and losses

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About Encyclopedia

No matter what business topic you're interested in, you'll find our category list is an easy way to navigate our small-business encyclopedia. From Accounting and Advertising to Location and Operations, every topic offers information on the terms that matter most. And if you can't find what you need here, our "Terms A - Z" list makes tracking down terms a snap.