Choosing a Business Entity: C-Corporation

office-659689_1280This is an excerpt from a presentation I give to college students and to prospective entrepreneurs about types of business entities.

A college professor (who’s also an attorney) told me that my presentation on this subject is the best, clearest and most-concise overview of the topic that she’s ever seen.

I’m flattered by the compliment, and will try to translate those positives into a series of blog posts.


In the previous segment in this series, we learned that the terms “C-corporation” and “S-corporation” are tax terms, not legal terms.

By default, all corporations start as C-corporations but can elect to be taxed as an S-corporation by filing paperwork with the IRS.

A C-corporation has the following characteristics:

  • It is a separate taxpaying entity that exists apart from its owners. The C-corp pays income taxes on its net profit at the corporate tax rates.
  • The reporting of income and expenses is basically the same as any other business entity, except … the final results do not pass through to the owners.

Advantages of C-corporations include:

  • Can have an unlimited number of shareholders
  • Ability to have multiple classes of stock
  • C-corporation tax brackets may make it easier to accumulate funds within the corporation to fund future projects
  • Tax treatment of benefits to the owners (in particular, health insurance) is more advantageous than any other entity

Disadvantages of C-corporations include:

  • Double taxation – C-Corp pays tax on income; shareholders pay taxes when corporate income is distributed as dividends to shareholders
  • Corporate losses don’t pass through to shareholders
  • Must comply with corporate formalities
  • Can be messy to get out of

Coming up in the next installment, we’ll cover S-corporations.