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What is A Multi-Member LLC?

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A multi-member LLC (MMLLC) is a limited liability corporation (LLC) with two or more members.

MMLLCs, like single-member LLCs, are business entities that combine a partnership’s flexibility with a corporation’s limited liability.

Limited liability protects the owner’s personal assets if the business is sued.

An LLC may not offer tax advantages, but it’s simpler for entrepreneurs.

LLCs are formed under state law and may be taxed as a corporation, partnership, or part of the business owner’s personal taxes for federal purposes. This is what the tax treatment of an LLC means. You can ask the IRS to change how your taxes are handled by filling out the correct form.

Married couples with small businesses, family-owned firms, friends establishing a business together, and multi-owner businesses often join this type of LLC for liability protection.

what are the advantages of forming a multi-member LLC?

The most significant benefit of starting a multi-member LLC is that the owners, called “members,” can protect their assets. That means that most of the time, if your business is harmed, its assets are at risk. 

A multi-member LLC liability protection applies to the business’s debt. If your firm is unable to pay its debts, creditors can only pursue the company’s assets. The only exception is if you sign a personal guarantee for the firm’s debt. Your personal assets are thus at stake. 

Here are a few more advantages to forming a multi-member LLC:

  • There is no limit to the number of members permitted; members may be people, LLCs, or corporations, and members may be non-US citizens.
  • The corporation does not pay corporate tax; businesses can choose whether to be taxed as an S or C corporation. 

The 20% pass-through deduction is also available to LLCs.

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what are the disadvantages of forming a multi-member LLC?

The most significant disadvantage of a multi-member LLC is that, in some cases, members might be held liable for other members’ business decisions and conduct. 

Members may be held accountable if they: 

  • Misappropriate business cash, including the bank account.
  • Knowingly engage in dangerous, illegal, or harmful behavior toward another individual.
  • Commit fraud, such as misrepresenting the company, lying on loan applications, or continuing to operate a company that is unable to pay its debts.
  • Failing to maintain adequate records, such as legal documents, financial records, or meeting minutes

here are a few more disadvantages of multi-member LLCs:

  • They necessitate registration, which includes deciding on a business name and submitting Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State. 
  • There is more documentation to file when doing business taxes. 
  • Members pay self-employment tax on their profits, and owners cannot be employees until they change their tax status.

how are multi-member limited liability companies and their owners taxed?

When it comes to taxes, multi-member LLCs are regarded the same as general partnerships. While this is the default tax classification for multi-member LLCs, they can request to be treated as an S corporation by completing Form 2553 or as a C corporation by filing Form 8832

Multi-member LLCs are pass-through businesses, which means the corporation does not pay taxes on its own. Profits and losses are instead transferred from the firm to each member’s personal income tax return

Profits and losses are distributed to each member regardless of whether or not they receive actual money. Even if members do not take money out of the firm, they must declare and pay taxes on their portion of the profit. 

The percentage of the company that each member controls determines how much money they receive. 

Let’s look at a simplistic example. Robert and Arnald own a multi-member LLC together. Robert owns 60% of the business, while Arnald owns 40%. The company makes $100,000 in profit per year. 

The profit will be distributed as follows:

Total Profit $100,000
Share of Robert (60%) $60,000
Share of Arnald (40%) $40,000


During tax season, the company must file Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income, which details its annual profit and loss. In addition, the corporation prepares a Schedule K-1 for each owner, which reports their part of the profit or loss. Members record profit and loss on Schedule K-1 on their federal tax returns.

Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) 

multi-member LLC owners pay the following taxes:

  • Self-employment tax (15.3% on 92.35% of the member’s profit share)
  • Federal income tax (based on the owner’s tax bracket).
  • Any applicable state and local income taxes

how can I pay myself as a member of a multi-member LLC?

Members can pay themselves by receiving a distribution of their profit share.

Remember that profit distribution differs from profit allocation. Members may receive a payout that is less than the amount designated for tax purposes.

The operating agreement for your LLC should specify how, when, and to whom profits are distributed.  

For tax purposes, an LLC may elect to be classified as a C corporation or an S corporation. LLCs taxed as C corporations or S corporations must pay their owner-employees “reasonable compensation.” 

Owner-employees are LLC members who work in the business’s daily operations and are paid a salary through payroll software. When this occurs, the firm pays you employee wages rather than a payout.

Because there is no federal standard for reasonable remuneration, it is best to consult with an accountant when considering owner-employee salaries.

A basic rule of thumb is that an owner-employee should get 60% of the company’s profit in pay and 40% in distribution.

The business pays Payroll taxes on the owner-employee earnings (7.65%), while the owner-employee pays payroll taxes on their business owner’s compensation (7.65%). Owner-employees have federal income tax deducted from their paychecks as well. 

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what is the distinction between a multi-member and a single-member LLC?

The number of owners is the most noticeable distinction between the two LLC forms.

multi-member LLC vs. single-member LLC


Type of LLC Number of Owners
Single-member LLC 1
Multi-Member LLC 2 or more

However, a single business owner may want to form a multi-member LLC in some circumstances. For asset protection, a person beginning a business could form a multi-member LLC and add their spouse, parent, or children as members. 

Asset protection means that anyone who is a member of the LLC cannot have their personal assets confiscated in the event of a lawsuit, such as their car, house, or savings. While the individual is the one running the firm, their family members will be protected from liabilities. 

Another distinction is how a single-member LLC and a multi-member LLC are taxed. Single-member LLCs are treated as disregarded entities and are taxed like sole proprietorships until they request otherwise. Unless they modify their tax treatment, multi-member LLCs are automatically taxed as general partnerships.

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Unlike multi-member LLCs, single-member LLCs do not require additional forms or a Schedule-K-1 at tax time. Profit and loss are instead reported directly on the owner’s personal tax return, which simplifies the filing process. 

Finally, in terms of business management, the owner of a single-member LLC does not share managerial responsibilities. The individual is both the owner and the manager. 

The owners of a multi-member LLC decide how the firm will be run. 

  • Member-Managed LLC, in which all members participate in the business
  • Manager-Managed LLC, in which the members appoint one member or a third party to handle the operations.

what is the distinction between a multi-member limited liability company and a general partnership?

A multi-member LLC and a general partnership differ primarily in two ways. 

The first is that, unlike a multi-member LLC, a general partnership does not need to be registered with the state. If you run a business with another individual, you are automatically a general partnership until you incorporate a formal body. 

The second distinction is liability insurance. The owners of a general partnership have no liability protection between their personal assets and the firm. If the company is sued or unable to pay its debts, partners will be required to pay their own legal bills and creditors.

Partners in a multi-member LLC have limited liability protection. In most circumstances, only the company’s assets can be utilized to pay claimants and creditors. 

Because multi-member LLCs are automatically treated as general partnerships until they request otherwise, they are taxed similarly to general partnerships.

what distinguishes a multi-member LLC from other types of partnerships?

A multi-member LLC, a limited liability partnership (LLP), and a limited partnership (LP) all have significant differences.

llp vs. multi-member LLC

  • In many states, only particular professionals, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and architects, can form LLPs. In most states, any business can incorporate a multi-member LLC. 
  • LLP partners are immune from the conduct and debts of their fellow partners. In a multi-member LLC, members can be held accountable for the activities of other members. 
  • An LLP cannot change its tax classification. Multi-member LLCs have the option of being taxed as a general partnership, S corporation, or C corporation.
  • Only individuals may own LLPs, which are subject to the same taxation as general partnerships. Individuals, other LLCs, and corporations can all own multi-member LLCs.

LP vs. multi-member LLC

  • LP general partners are personally liable for the business, while limited partners are protected from responsibility. In most circumstances, all partners enjoy personal liability protection in a multi-member LLC. 
  • Only LP general partners can be involved in business management. If a limited partner becomes involved in business management, they may lose their liability protection. All members of a multi-member LLC can control the firm without jeopardizing their liability protection.

Now that you’re familiar with multi-member LLCs, you can start thinking about the best business structure for you and your plus one (or two or three).

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