The acceptance of the limited liability company (LLC) in 1998 afforded business owners and their advisors with a more straight-forward and flexible way of doing business than was available at that time. Two decades ago, there were two organizational forms under which business owners could obtain pass-through taxation without vicarious liability for the obligations of the organization—the S corporation and the limited partnership with a corporate general partner. The LLC eliminated some of the limitations attendant to each of these forms. Unlike the S corporation, the LLC has no limitation on the number and types of owners, the inability to have special allocations and other sorts of economic relationships, and the necessity to comply with state-law corporate strictures. Unlike a limited partnership with a corporate general
partner, the LLC does not require the maintenance of two organizations, and unlike limited partners, members of an LLC are not subject to potential vicarious liability for participation in management or control of the organization. In some respects it is remarkable that the simplicity and efficiency of the LLC would only come into existence after decades of increasing complexity in both corporate and unincorporated worlds. As Lord Buckley has put it, “it was so simple it evaded me.” . . .
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