How to change an LLC to a C corp: Guide for business owners

Ines Zemelman, EA
Ines Zemelman, EA
• 12.03.24 • 9 mins read
How to change an LLC to a C corp: Guide for business owners

When business owners reach a certain stage of growth or start planning for the future, they often consider changing their business structure to better suit their needs.

One common transition is to convert an LLC to a C corp.

This decision can have a significant impact on the company's financing options, tax obligations, and growth potential.

This guide is designed to provide business owners with a comprehensive understanding of the process, benefits, and considerations involved in converting from an LLC to a C corp, and to help them make informed decisions for the future of their business.

Reasons to convert from LLC to C corp

The decision to convert an LLC (Limited Liability Company) to a C corp is driven by several compelling reasons, each tied to the strategic goals and operational needs of the business:

  1. Attract investment. C corps can issue different classes of stock, making it easier to attract venture capitalists and angel investors, who typically prefer equity in exchange for their investment.
  2. Planning for an IPO. Companies looking to go public in the future may find the C corp structure more conducive to meeting the requirements of an initial public offering (IPO).
  3. Offer employee equity. Unlike LLCs, C corps can offer stock options or equity to employees, a powerful tool for attracting and retaining top talent.
  4. Tax planning. While C corps are subject to double taxation, they also have access to tax benefits not available to LLCs, such as lower corporate tax rates and tax-deductible business expenses.

Remember that an LLC is a type of business structure, while a C corporation is a tax classification. You are converting your LLC, which is currently taxed as a partnership, to S corporation tax status.

LLC vs. C corp comparison

For business owners considering conversion, it is important to understand the key differences between LLCs and C corps. Here's a quick comparison:

Feature LLC C corp
Ownership and structure - Flexible to own and manage.
- Members can manage the business or appoint managers.
- Rigid structure with a board of directors and officers
- Requires a board of directors to oversee policy and officers for day-to-day operations.
Taxation - Taxed as pass-through entities; profits passed through to owners' personal tax returns. - Subject to double taxation: corporate level and dividends to shareholders.
Regulatory requirements - Fewer compliance requirements, easier to operate from a regulatory standpoint. - Increased regulatory requirements, including annual meetings, detailed records, and annual reports.
Opportunities to invest - Cannot issue stock, which may limit the ability to raise capital through equity financing. - Can issue multiple classes of shares that are attractive to investors.

The choice between an LLC and a C corp structure depends on the specific needs, growth plans, and financial goals of the business. By carefully considering these factors, business owners can select the entity type that best supports their vision for the future.

The conversion process

Converting an LLC to a C corporation involves a detailed legal process that can vary significantly depending on the state in which your business operates.

To ensure a smooth transition, it is important to understand the different conversion methods and state-specific guidelines.

Here's a breakdown of the primary conversion processes and what business owners need to know about each.

Statutory conversion

Statutory conversion is the simplest method of converting an LLC to a C corporation. This process allows the LLC to convert directly into a C corporation without having to form a separate entity. Here are the main steps involved:

  1. Approval. The conversion typically requires the approval of the LLC's members according to the operating agreement or state law.
  2. Filing conversion documents. The LLC must file articles of conversion with the state secretary of state's office. These documents include a conversion plan that outlines the terms and effects of the conversion.
  3. Formation of the new entity. Upon approval, the state recognizes the LLC as a new corporation, specifically a C corporation. The entity retains its assets, liabilities, and EIN, but now operates under the C corp structure.
  4. Compliance. The newly formed C corp must then comply with all corporate formalities, including issuing stock, electing a board of directors, and adopting bylaws.

Statutory merger

A statutory merger is an alternative method used when a direct conversion isn't available or preferred. This process involves forming a new C corporation and then merging the LLC into that new entity. The steps include:

  1. Form a new C corporation. Form a new C corporation by filing articles of incorporation with the state.
  2. Merger agreement. Draft a merger agreement between the LLC and the newly formed C corp. This agreement must be approved by the members of the LLC.
  3. File merger documents. File the merger agreement and certificate of merger with the state, along with any other required documents. Upon approval, the assets and liabilities of the LLC are transferred to the C corp.
  4. Dissolve the LLC. The LLC is officially dissolved and the business continues as a C corporation.

Non-statutory conversion

A non-statutory conversion, also known as a non-statutory merger, is used when neither a statutory conversion nor a statutory merger is possible. This method is more complex and involves

  1. Creating a new C corp. Similar to a statutory merger, this process begins with forming a new C corporation.
  2. Asset transfer. Instead of merging, the LLC transfers its assets and liabilities to the new C corp through separate agreements.
  3. LLC dissolution. After all assets and liabilities are transferred, the LLC dissolves and the business continues under the new C corp structure.
    This method may have different tax implications, so it's important to consult with a tax advisor.

Steps to take after conversion

After successfully converting your LLC to a C corporation, several critical steps must be taken to finalize the legal structure, adjust operations, and ensure compliance with new reporting requirements.

These post-conversion steps are essential to fully transition to the C corp structure and take advantage of its benefits while maintaining legal and financial integrity.

Complete the legal structure

One of the first steps after conversion is to adopt corporate bylaws, which outline the rules governing the internal management and operation of the corporation.

These bylaws should address the responsibilities of the board of directors, shareholder meetings, the roles of officers, and other corporate governance matters.

The newly formed C corp must elect a board of directors to be responsible for making major decisions and overseeing the strategic direction of the corporation. This board will play a critical role in shaping the future of the corporation.

As a C corporation, you can now issue shares of stock to shareholders. This process involves determining the number of shares authorized for issuance, setting the par value, and distributing stock certificates to the initial shareholders.

Depending on your business activities and location, you may need to update or obtain new licenses and permits in the name of the corporation. Ensure that all legal requirements are met so that your business can operate without interruption.

Operating adjustments

  • Transition all business financial accounts, including bank accounts and lines of credit, to reflect the new C corporation entity. This may involve opening new accounts or updating existing accounts with your bank.
  • Review and, if necessary, revise contracts, leases, and agreements to reflect the corporate name and structure. Ensure that all legal documents are consistent with your new corporate status.
  • If part of your strategy for becoming a C corp was to offer equity compensation to employees, now is the time to implement those plans. Establish policies for stock options, restricted stock units (RSUs), or other equity incentives by your corporate bylaws and board resolutions.
  • Inform your employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders about the transition. Clear communication will help manage expectations and maintain trust during the transition.

Regulatory compliance and reporting

Federal and state tax filings. As a C corporation, you'll face different tax filing requirements, including filing a corporate tax return (Form 1120) and potentially dealing with double taxation of dividends. Consult with a tax advisor to ensure compliance and explore tax planning strategies.

Annual reports and fees. Most states require C corporations to file annual reports and pay a filing fee. These reports typically include information about the corporation's directors, officers, and registered agents. Be sure to file on time to remain in good standing with the state.

Regular board and shareholder meetings. Schedule and conduct regular board and shareholder meetings as required by your bylaws and state law. Maintain detailed minutes of these meetings to document decisions and actions taken.

Maintain corporate records. Maintain comprehensive records of all corporate activities, including financial statements, board meeting minutes, shareholder communications, and stock transactions. Proper recordkeeping is critical for regulatory compliance and can be useful in the event of an audit or litigation.

Completing these post-conversion steps is essential for a smooth transition to a C corporation and for laying a solid foundation for your company's future growth and success.


Converting your business from an LLC to a C corporation can be a transformative step that opens up new possibilities for capital, talent acquisition, and growth, along with managing the business tax preparation cost.

By effectively accessing new capital, offering employee equity, and taking advantage of growth and expansion opportunities, you can maximize the benefits of your C corp structure.

This transition requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and ongoing management to fully realize the benefits.

With the right approach, your C corp can serve as a powerful tool to achieve your business goals and set the stage for long-term success.

Your business structure is the key to tax savings.
Get a tax planning consultation.

Learn more


1. Does the EIN change with an LLC to C corp conversion?

Yes, when an LLC converts to a C corporation, it is usually necessary to obtain a new Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This is because the conversion is considered the creation of a new tax entity.

The IRS treats the newly formed C corporation as a separate entity from the original LLC, requiring a new EIN for tax purposes.

However, special circumstances may affect this requirement, so it's advisable to consult with a tax professional or refer to IRS guidelines to fully understand your situation.

2. Can an LLC own a C Corp?

Yes, an LLC can own a C corporation. This ownership structure is sometimes used for strategic business purposes, such as separating different business activities, minimizing liability, or optimizing tax results.

However, it's important to consider the legal and tax implications of such an arrangement. The IRS and state laws have specific rules governing the relationships between different types of business entities and how profits, losses, and liabilities are treated in these scenarios.

3. Are there any disadvantages to becoming a C corp?
  • One of the main disadvantages of the C corps is double taxation. Profits are taxed at the corporate level, and dividends paid to shareholders are taxed again on their personal income tax returns.
  • C corps are subject to more stringent regulatory, compliance, and reporting requirements than LLCs.
  • Unlike LLCs, which offer flexibility in how profits are distributed among members, C corps have a more rigid structure. Profits must be distributed according to share ownership, which may not always reflect the intentions of the founders or managers.
  • Because C corps can issue different classes of stock to raise capital, there's a risk that the original owners could dilute their ownership percentage and potentially lose control of the company's direction if a significant portion of the equity is sold to outside investors.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Always consult with a tax professional regarding your specific case. 

Further reading

Tax classification for LLC: 4 options for small business
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Tax classification for LLC: 4 options for small business
What's the difference between an S corporation and C corporation?
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