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Why is US LLC called tax-exempt?

Why is US LLC called tax-exempt?


The Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the USA is often regarded as a tax-advantageous Type of company considered. This article examines why an LLC is referred to as "tax-exempt", although this term is not entirely accurate. The focus is on explaining the conditions under which an LLC enjoys tax advantages and how these can be realized.

Basic features of an LLC

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a flexible form of company that combines features of both corporations and partnerships. It offers its owners Limitation of liabilitytax flexibility and relatively simple administration.

Tax advantages of an LLC

The tax advantages of an LLC make it an attractive choice for many entrepreneurs. The most important advantages are:

Pass-through taxation

One of the biggest tax advantages of an LLC is pass-through taxation. Profits and losses of the LLC are passed through directly to the members and taxed on their personal tax returns. The LLC itself does not pay federal corporate taxes.

Federal tax treatment of LLCs

Tax exemption at federal level

At federal level in the USA, an LLC does not pay corporation or trade tax. The profits are passed through to the members and only taxed at their personal level. This means that the LLC itself tax-free is the same as far as corporate taxes are concerned.

License fees (franchise tax) vs. tax liability

It is important to distinguish that the so-called franchise taxes levied by some states are not business taxes in the traditional sense. These fees are more like license fees and vary by state. They are not to be confused with the corporate taxes that might affect an LLC at the federal level.

All prices in US dollars
FeeNevadaDelawareNew MexicoWyoming
Annual list of managers and members150000
Business license fee200000
Annual franchise tax030000
Annual report fee005050

International scenarios for tax exemption

An LLC can qualify as tax-exempt if certain international conditions are met. Here are the most important scenarios:

Country of residence of the holder and tax exemption

A decisive factor for the tax exemption of an LLC is the country of residence of the owner. If the owner of the LLC lives in a country that does not tax income from foreign sources, the LLC may be effectively tax-exempt. In this case, the LLC's profits are not taxable either in the U.S. or in the owner's country of residence. taxable.

Income from abroad

If the LLC's income comes from sources outside the USA, this income may be tax-exempt in the USA. This applies in particular if the LLC has no physical business premises in the USA and generates its income exclusively from abroad

Tax advantages of an LLC for EU owners

Even if the income of a US LLC is taxed in the owner's country of residence in the EU, the LLC still offers significant tax advantages. These arise from the way in which the Income tax compared to corporate taxes:

  • Lower overall tax burden: In many European countries, including Germanyan individual owning a US LLC would only pay income tax at the personal level. This tax is generally lower than the combined burden of corporate income tax, trade tax and personal income tax that would apply to a European corporate structure such as a German LLC. Ltd. would be incurred.
  • Avoidance of double taxationTax treaties between the USA and many European countries make it possible to avoid double taxation. Income that is not taxed at company level in the USA can often be taxed at more favorable conditions in Europe.
  • Simpler administrationThe tax administration of an LLC can be less complex compared to a European company structure, which saves additional costs and administrative effort.

Specific examples of tax exemption

An entrepreneur from a country without foreign income taxation establishes an LLC in the US and earns profits that are not taxed in the US or in the country of residence. Here are some specific examples:

  • Example 1A German entrepreneur founds an LLC in the USA. Since Germany taxes worldwide income, the entrepreneur can still enjoy tax exemption if he lives in a country that does not tax worldwide income. Foreign income taxed, such as the United Arab Emirates.
  • Example 2An entrepreneur from Hong Kong who generates his profits exclusively in Europe uses a US LLC. Hong Kong does not tax foreign income, so the profits of the LLC are effectively tax-free.

Advantages of pass-through taxation

Pass-through taxation offers considerable advantages:

  • Avoidance of double taxationProfits are only taxed once, at member level.
  • Tax flexibilityMembers can benefit from individual tax concessions.
  • Simple administrationLess complicated tax requirements compared to corporations.

FAQ on US LLC and tax exemption

Why is an LLC called tax-exempt?
An LLC is often referred to as tax-exempt because it pays no federal corporate income tax and passes profits directly to members, who report them on their personal tax returns.

How is an LLC taxed?
An LLC can be taxed as a partnership, S corporation or C corporation, depending on the choice of members.

Can an LLC really be tax-free?
An LLC can be effectively tax-free if the owner lives in a country that does not tax foreign income and the LLC income comes from abroad.

What tax advantages does an LLC offer?
The main advantages are pass-through taxation, avoidance of double taxation and tax flexibility.

Is an LLC suitable for international entrepreneurs?
Yes, especially if the entrepreneur lives in a country that does not tax foreign income.

What are franchise taxes and how do they affect LLCs?
Franchise taxes are license fees levied by some US states. They are not corporate taxes and should not be confused with the LLC's general tax liability.


The US LLC offers a variety of tax advantages that make it a popular choice for many entrepreneurs. Although it is not completely tax-free, pass-through taxation allows for significant savings. Even if the LLC's income is taxed in the owner's country of residence in the EU, the tax burden usually remains lower than with European corporate structures. The flexibility in tax treatment and the possibility of avoiding double taxation make the LLC particularly attractive for domestic and foreign entrepreneurs. That's why you should consider forming an LLC!

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Disclaimer: Please note that the above dates, tax rates and regulations may change over time. Do not make any independent decisions without first consulting an expert for your individual situation. It is in your interest to always receive individual information from an experienced expert who knows your situation.

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