How to File Business Taxes for an LLC? (Complete Guide)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 19, 2024
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Filing business taxes for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is based on the structure and organization of the company as each business category has different tax classifications and requirements.

With years of experience as a business consultant and a thorough investigation into the subject, I have delved into the intricacies of filing business taxes for an LLC.

I’ve also consulted with our legal advisors and lawyers with many years of experience in this field to provide you with all the necessary information on this topic.

Quick Summary

  • To file business taxes for a limited liability company, identify the structure of your company and file for the corresponding tax.
  • LLCs need to file an LLC-12 form that identifies the business as either sole owner, partnership, or corporation.
  • LLCs electing S Corp taxation can circumvent the 15.3% self-employment tax by allocating income between salary and dividends, thereby diminishing the sum exposed to elevated taxes.
  • From my professional experience, a corporation has the option to be taxed as a C or S corporation.

How To File LLC Taxes by LLC Type

A man about to file LLC taxes for the first time

To file LLC taxes by LLC type, you need to identify the classification of your company.

Generally speaking, all LLCs need to file an LLC-12 form. This is a document that identifies your business as either sole owner, partnership, or corporation (S corporation or C corporation).

Drawing from my experience, if you're a first-time filer you need to go through a checklist, although you have to keep in mind that these requirements may vary depending on state taxes where your business is registered.

The next step is to file the appropriate LLC tax forms per the type of entity you designated on the LLC-12 form. Consult with a tax professional to address your concerns.

Let's get into more detail about how LLC owners pay taxes depending on the type of their limited liability company.

1. Single-Member LLCs

A single person holding a thick documents

As a single-member LLC, the entity is taxed like a sole proprietorship in that all income flows directly to the solitary member or owner. The member is required to report any income or net profit, expenses, or loss on their personal income tax return.

Based on my practical experience, this can be accomplished by filing your tax using the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form Schedule C (form 1040). The deadline for filing is April 15th.

In taxation, a single-member LLC is also referred to as a disregarded entity.

You will also have to complete an Internal Revenue Service Schedule C as a single-member LLC owner, which is the same form sole proprietors use when filing their taxes.

If you want to minimize your self-employment tax burden, opt for electing corporate taxation for the disregarded entity.

2. Multiple Member LLCs

A small group of business people discussion

Some limited liability companies which have two or more members pay income tax like partnerships.

With multiple-member LLCs, income flows directly to the members in the same way as a single-member company.

In our case, our multi-member company had to:

  • Report all income and expenses using the US IRS form 1065. 
  • The LLC then issued Schedule K-1 forms to all the members of the entity to reflect their share of the company’s profits.
  • Each individual member is required to report their share of the profit or loss on Schedule E (form 1040) of their personal tax returns.

The deadline for filing Form 1065 along with your personal tax returns is March 15, whereas Schedule E is due before April 15.

In addition to your personal tax return, multi-member LLC must submit form K-1.

Form K-1 is a partner's personal tax return. It's due on the same date as your individual income tax return and applies to each LLC member. It should be included in Schedule E.

3. Filing Taxes as a Corporation

A wide group of people in a corporate office

LLCs are offered flexibility in filing taxes as a corporation. A company may choose to be taxed either as an S corp or a C corp.

"If you are considering incorporation with your business partner(s), be sure that everyone agrees on the type of corporate income tax structure before you file."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

I recommend consulting with a tax professional to determine if your limited liability company will benefit more as a C corp or S corp.

LLCs Taxed as C Corporations

An LLC filing tax as a C corp can be accomplished by submitting form 8832 (Entity Classification Election) with the IRS. An LLC taxed with a C corp status must file corporate income taxes as well as personal income taxes for the members.

Drawing from my experience running several corporations, corporate income or business tax returns must be filed on Form 1120 of the IRS, while individual income tax returns are filed using Form 1040.

Form 1120 is due before March 15 and the deadline for Form 1040 is April 15.

LLCs Taxed as S Corporations

An LLC opting to be taxed as an S corp must file an IRS form 2553 (Election by a Small Business Corporation). The purpose of this is to avoid being subjected to federal corporate income tax.

The LLC must first file form 1120-S with the IRS to declare all business income and losses. It must then issue K-1 forms to every member and report that income on their individual tax returns using Schedule E.

The Same deadlines apply, March 15 for Form 1120-S, and April 15 for Schedule E.

LLC S corporations are pass-through entities, like partnerships or sole proprietorships.

As a result, they pay tax on their net income and losses to the individual owners as if those profits were personal.

Related Articles:

What Other Taxes Do LLCs Pay?

Other taxes that LLCs pay include self-employment tax, state income tax, and quarterly tax.

1. Self-Employment Taxes

For members of a limited liability company (LLC), which is not itself subject to taxation, there is an obligation to pay self-employment tax. This tax, which totals 15.3%, is comprised of Social Security taxes at 12.4% and Medicare taxes at 2.9%.

As a pass-through entity, LLC members must report their share of profits and pay the corresponding taxes on their personal tax returns.

2. Estimated Quarterly Taxes

If a limited liability company expects to earn more than $1,000 during the year, it must make quarterly estimated tax payments on pass-through income. Estimated taxes are reported using form 1040-ES (Estimated Tax for Individuals).

Estimated tax payments are deducted from the annual tax due.

3. State Income Taxes

Some states require LLCs to pay state income tax based on the company’s annual profits. Verify with local tax authorities to make sure your LLC complies with the state’s requirements and deadlines.

How To Change Your Tax Classification?

To change your tax classification, you can file IRS form 8832 (Entity Classification Election) [1].

From my experience, the IRS classifies LLCs based on its organizational structure and imposes taxes by default.

An LLC categorized as a corporation may choose to pay taxes either as a C corp or an S corp.

How to File LLC Taxes - Choose Your State:


Is LLC Taxed Quarterly?

LLCs can be taxed quarterly if the entity is expected to earn more than $1000 during the year. The enterprise must submit form 1040 ES to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What Can I Write Off With an LLC?

You can write off business expenses including travel, supplies, and equipment costs, as well as personal expenditures such as home mortgage interest or property taxes.

Does LLC Pay Federal Income Tax?

An LLC does not pay federal income tax because it’s a pass-through entity. The members pay personal income taxes instead.



About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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