If you own a home that you rent out or other investment properties, you might want to consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). There are several benefits to using an LLC to handle the business activities of your investment properties.
Protecting Your Personal Assets
One of the primary reasons property owners choose to set up an LLC is to protect their personal assets. As much as you would like to trust your renters, you cannot control everything that goes on at the properties you rent 24 hours a day. For example, if your renter had guests over for a party and a guest was hurt, there is the possibility that you could be personally sued because of their injuries. An LLC limits your personal vulnerability to this type of lawsuit and insulates your risk exposure. Your personal assets would be protected any claims would go against assets that are owned by the LLC.
If you are a single proprietor or have partners in an LLC, you get the benefit of pass-through taxation, which avoids the double taxation you would be subject to if you had another type of corporation, like a C corporation. As a single proprietor, you are able to avoid double taxation of your rental income and the appreciation on the property when you sell it. An added benefit is that you get to deduct your mortgage interest. As a sole proprietor with an LLC, your profits and losses are passed directly through to you and you would be required to pay taxes as an individual. A multimember LLC is treated as a partnership, and you would be required to file an informational return to the IRS. The profits and losses would also be passed through to members and reported on their individual tax returns.
An LLC can give you greater flexibility with other business aspects, in comparison to other types of corporations. The best way to decide if an LLC is right for you is to discuss it with your tax advisor.
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