Meet with other department members, using the Discussion Board. Talk about the differences in organizational structures and how they can impact a company's bottom line. Use examples from your own previous work experience.
The following are the basic forms of business ownership in the United States. It's important to note that there are variants from state to state.
Sole Proprietorship. The individual owner of an unincorporated business operates the business as an extension of himself. The profits and losses of the business are reported on the tax return of the owner - there is no separate business filing. The owner is personally responsible for any liabilities of the business. If someone sues the business for breach of contract, personal injury, or to collect a debt, the court can directly levy the personal bank account and other property of the owner. The major advantage of sole proprietorship is that it is the simplest and least expensive structure, as there is really nothing to set up and maintain, except perhaps a fictitious business name (aka DBA, or Doing Business As).
General Partnership. Two or more people own the business jointly and share profits and losses of the business as spelled out in the partnership agreement. Each partner is potentially responsible for the full amount of all liabilities of the business, i.e., a creditor can collect the full amount of a debt of the partnership from the partner that is the easiest to collect from. Distribution of profits and losses is determined by the partnership agreement and passes through to the individual partners. It does not have to match the ownership percentages. The partnership itself is not subject to any income or franchise tax. Control of the business is determined by the partnership agreement, but unless stated otherwise, the partners control the business jointly, with each partner having an equal vote. An advantage of partnerships is that, like a sole proprietorship, no state filings are required to create the business entity, nor are there any ongoing reporting requirements.
Limited Partnership. The basic structure and tax implications are the same as for a general partnership, but the limited partnership allows for one or more limited partners, or "silent partners", to own ...
Examples of basic forms of business ownership in the United States are embedded.