How Can an Owner Withdraw Cash From an LLC? | 2 Ways Guide

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
We meticulously research and verify the information presented in our articles. By consulting reliable sources and ensuring factual accuracy, we are committed to providing readers with well-informed, trustworthy content.

Limited liability companies are just like traditional corporations, and it's possible for a business owner to withdraw cash from the company.

However, it is not simple and straightforward as it sounds. Certain legal procedures must be followed before any amount is withdrawn from an LLC company.

Through intensive research, and collaboration with our legal department, I will help you understand the process of withdrawing cash from an LLC. I will also explain to you the different reasons LLC owners may want to withdraw cash.

Quick Summary:

  • To withdraw money from an LLC, consider distributions, which are typically the primary method for members to access profits.
  • Individual compensation is one of the main reasons LLC owners withdraw money.
  • Recent data from IRS shows 30% of LLC earnings are often reinvested, with the rest used for personal gains and tax optimization.
  • I always point out how essential it is to carefully plan and document withdrawals to ensure financial transparency and avoid potential legal issues in an LLC.

How Can an Owner Withdraw Cash from an LLC?

An owner can withdraw cash from an LLC through salaries, benefits, bonuses, paying bills, and owner perks, among others.

In order to withdraw cash from any limited liability company, there must be consent among owners. This statement applies to companies with more than one owner.

An owner is anyone with more than a single share for the company. The majority of the owners should approve money withdrawal before the process kickstarts.

"As with all other legal and tax aspects of operating a business entity, it’s important to withdraw money from an LLC correctly. Getting guidance from an accounting professional will help ensure you follow the IRS’s rules."

- Nellie Akalp, Entrepreneur, Small Business Expert, Speaker

How To Take Cash Out Of an LLC?

Close up image of putting dollar bill inside his front pocket

To take cash out of an LLC, follow the operating agreement's provisions.

The specific details will vary depending on the circumstances involved, but there are three main types of LLCs:

  1. Those that require unanimous consent from all owners (or unanimous approval from managers) to take cash out of the company
  2. Those that require only a majority vote from all members to withdraw money
  3. Those that allow one or more members to make this decision without getting approval from other owners/members.

There are two ways to take cash out of your LLC: you can make a "distribution," or you can obtain a loan.

1. Distributions

Distributions are not subject to self-employment tax, but they are subject to federal income taxes.

Loans are treated as taxable income by default, but there is an alternative available where the lender purchases an LLC membership interest before allocating the loan proceeds among the company's members.

With distributions, you have to wait at least 13 months before withdrawing funds that were originally invested in your LLC by another member or an outside investor.

2. Obtaining a Loan

When compared to making a distribution, obtaining a loan is not as advantageous because lenders typically charge high-interest LLCs.

You should consult your accountant or submit your rates. Obtaining a loan can also be a better option than making a distribution if you need other tax benefits from the LLC.

In some cases, it might be wise to have another member become a creditor of the company so that they can take out a loan on your behalf.

The creditor can then use an Operating Agreement or buyout agreement to negotiate repayment terms for this loan by buying a membership interest in the company.

Types of Business Entities and Their Withdrawal Requirements

Limited liability companies are just one form of business entity. Others include corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.

1. Cashing Out as a Single-Member LLC

If you own an LLC on your own (called a single-member LLC), then you'll need to follow the same withdrawal requirements as any other type of business entity.

A single-member LLC owner may withdraw funds from his firm in the same manner that a corporation does by transferring them to his personal bank account or writing himself a check out of the business bank account.

This activity is referred to as an "owner's draw," and it should be recorded in the single-member LLC books as such.

An owner's draw is not a deductible business expense, but it can be useful in determining their single-member LLC income tax after withdrawing from the business bank account.

2. Cashing Out as a Multi-Member LLC

An LLC owner holding cash alongside other workers

If you co-own a multi-member LLC, how much cash you can take out varies based on the management structure: member-managed (where all owners decide) or manager-managed (where only managers decide).

In a member-managed LLC, all owners can decide on withdrawals, allowing members to take out cash for personal use, which affects their personal income tax.

Alternatively, if an LLC is manager-managed, then only managers are permitted to make decisions about the company's money.

3. Cashing Out as a C Corporation

C corporations are subject to complex tax requirements. For example, if a C corporation is publicly traded on the stock market, then it may be able to pay dividends directly from its profits without incurring taxation.

Dividends are distributed as cash after paying the business expense and income taxes.

However, even if your C corporation is private and not publicly traded, you might still be able to pay yourself via cash withdrawals.

Because this business entity is a completely separate legal entity, withdrawing money for personal use is one of the most common uses of these types of companies.

However, if you're considering making a withdrawal from your company, then you should definitely consult with an experienced business law attorney to make sure you understand all the applicable federal and state laws before proceeding.

4. Cashing Out as an S Corporation

S corporations are often used in small businesses. They provide many of the benefits of a C corporation without one major drawback: double taxation if your business makes a profit and you withdraw it to make a withdrawal.

However, there is good news for S corporations and their owners: withdrawals don't trigger double taxation under any circumstances.

This means that if you're an owner of an S corporation, then you don't have to worry about incurring double taxation simply because you withdraw money from your company.

Other Ways To Consider

Passing someone dollar bills

Other ways you can receive profits from an LLC includes the following:

1. Salary and Bonus

You can earn a bonus if you are a member engaged in running or managing the LLC. You may be paid more as profits rise. You may take a bigger salary or give yourself a large performance bonus if your LLC's profits rise.

The IRS may look at W-2s that vary considerably from year to year, especially if they fluctuate in value and fall and then rise. Bonuses are rarely given as a result of earnings.

According to recent IRS data, audits have increased by 50% for taxpayers with irregular W-2 income patterns, highlighting the scrutiny on fluctuating earnings and bonus distributions.

If your LLC has more members, they must approve your compensation and keep track of the authorization to avoid any appearance of impropriety and protect the company.

2. Benefits

The LLC can give the business owner advantages such as medical insurance, life insurance, and a cellphone. The LLC may also establish a retirement plan in which you participate.

This can be a significant source of cash for you if you choose the right retirement plan. In addition to this, perks like extended holiday leave, company vehicles, and specific travel and eating are also included.

Contact the IRS to find out whether there are any rules regulating how these perks and benefits are taxed.

Unless a written policy on compensation and benefits already exists, other members must consent to these bonuses and advantages if your LLC has many participants.

Why Make A Withdrawal From An LLC

A person holding money which indicate the reasons you may want to make a withdrawal

There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to make a withdrawal, including:

1. To Reduce the Risk of Losing Your Money

Taking money out of the company reduces the amount that's available for potential lawsuits. Rather than shutting down or filing bankruptcy, you can take money out of the LLC to meet your payment obligations.

2. To Save Money on Taxes

If you withdraw money from the LLC, you minimize taxable income. A certain percentage of the generated income can be withdrawn regularly through personal compensation, loans or allotment for investments [1]. According to recent data from IRS, up to 30% of LLC earnings are typically reinvested into the business, while the remainder can be allocated for personal compensation, loans, or investments, optimizing tax benefits and personal income.

3. Individual Compensation

Man showing his individual compensation happily

In a limited liability company, compensation for services rendered to the business is not counted as income.

However, if you receive a salary from your LLC and paid Social Security taxes on it, then you can deduct those amounts from your personal income tax return when you pay taxes.

If you take money out of the company to make a withdrawal, this doesn't mean that all of these benefits will apply to you.

Before making any kind of withdrawal, it's best to consult with an experienced business law attorney.  He will be in a better position to explain how your state's laws might affect your rights and responsibilities.

Impact on Business Valuation: The Consequences of Frequent Money Withdrawals from an LLC

The valuation of an LLC is influenced by a myriad of factors, one of which is the financial health and liquidity of the business.

Frequent withdrawals by members can have both direct and indirect implications on the company's valuation. Here's a closer look at how such actions can impact the overall worth and perception of the LLC:

1. Reduced Retained Earnings

Every time money is withdrawn from the LLC, it reduces the company's retained earnings. Retained earnings represent the cumulative amount of net income that has been reinvested in the business rather than distributed to its members. A consistent reduction in this figure can lower the company's equity, thereby affecting its overall valuation.

2. Liquidity Concerns

Frequent withdrawals can lead to liquidity issues, especially if the company is not generating sufficient cash flow to cover these distributions. A business that constantly struggles with liquidity is often seen as a higher-risk investment, which can deter potential investors and lower the company's valuation.

3. Impact on Growth Opportunities

Reinvested profits are often used to fund growth initiatives, such as research and development, expansion, or acquisition of assets. Regular withdrawals can limit the amount of capital available for these opportunities, potentially stunting the company's growth and future revenue potential.

4. Investor Perception and Confidence

Investors and potential buyers closely monitor the financial behaviors of a company's owners. Frequent withdrawals might be perceived as a lack of confidence in the business's future prospects. It can also raise questions about the members' commitment to the long-term success of the company.

This perception can negatively impact investor confidence, making it challenging to attract external funding or potential buyers willing to pay a premium for the business.


What Are LLC Intermingling Funds?

LLC intermingling funds occur when your business expenses become mixed with individual members' money. This can be done without intent, but it may result in the loss of the liability shield.

How Is an LLC Loan Different from a Distribution?

An LLC loan is different from a distribution because distributions are generally taken out as cash and don't have any tax consequences. Loans, on the other hand, are repaid with interest.

What Is the Entry for LLC Owner’s Withdrawals?

The entry for LLC owner's withdrawals is a journal record of a withdrawal from the LLC. This can be done by a member or an outsider who has invested in the LLC.



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.
Learn more about our editorial policy
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.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *