LLC vs. S Corp in South Dakota 2024: A Comprehensive Comparison

LLC vs. S Corp in South Dakota: Understanding the Differences

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey in South Dakota, also known as The Mount Rushmore State, is an exciting and transformative experience. South Dakota LLC and S Corporation are two popular options that often top the list of considerations for entrepreneurs. This article serves as your comprehensive guide, comparing LLC vs. S Corp in South Dakota and ultimately assisting you in determining the best fit for you.

Dive into business formation with confidence and clarity as LLCBase expert analysis simplifies the complexities of LLCs and S Corps, shedding light on their unique advantages and drawbacks. So, let’s explore the fascinating world of LLCs and S Corps and set your business on the path to success in South Dakota.

What are an LLC and an S-Corp

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular legal business structure that offers a combination of benefits from both corporations and partnerships. It is specifically designed to provide personal asset protection to its owners, known as members. This protection ensures that the owner’s personal assets are separate from the business liabilities, such as debts and lawsuits.

In South Dakota, forming an LLC involves several steps, including paying an initial filing fee. Additionally, LLCs in South Dakota are required to pay an annual fee of $50 to maintain their legal status and stay compliant with the state regulations.

An LLC in South Dakota offers an attractive option for entrepreneurs seeking a flexible business structure with added liability protection and favorable tax treatment.

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On the other hand, an S-Corporation, or S-Corp, is not a separate legal business entity like an LLC. Rather, it is a tax classification that existing corporations and LLCs can elect. A business can bypass double taxation by opting for this tax status, as the profits and losses are directly passed through to the owner’s personal tax return. Starting an S Corp in South Dakota  allows business owners to report and pay taxes on their business income as part of their individual income tax filings, eliminating the need for separate corporate taxes.

In South Dakota, it is crucial for business owners considering this tax classification to fully understand the implications and requirements of being an S-Corp in South Dakota. This includes adhering to specific rules and regulations related to ownership, shareholder limits, and tax filing deadlines. If you want to start an S-Corp, LegalZoom will help you every step of the way!

LLCs and S-Corporations Comparison

Let’s explore the comparison between LLCs and S-Corporations to help you make an informed decision.

1. Taxation Differences in South Dakota

One of the main differences between LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota lies in how they are taxed. LLCs are typically subject to pass-through taxation, meaning the business profits and losses are reported on the owner’s personal tax return. In contrast, S-Corporations must adhere to specific tax requirements, including distributing salaries to shareholders and adhering to the state’s income tax rate.

  • Federal Taxes: When choosing between an LLC or S-Corporation in South Dakota, it’s essential to consider several federal tax factors. These factors include differences in Pass-Through Taxes and Self-Employment Taxes.
  • Pass-Through Taxes: Both LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota benefit from pass-through taxation at the federal level. Due to pass-through taxation, these entities do not pay federal income taxes as separate legal entities. Instead, their owners are required to pay federal income taxes on their share of the business income. This type of taxation prevents the company from being taxed twice. In contrast, C-Corporations in South Dakota are subject to double taxation, meaning they must pay federal taxes at the entity level and their owners’ taxes.
  • Self-Employment Taxes: Many LLC owners in South Dakota opt for S-Corporation taxation to reduce their self-employment taxes. An S-Corporation owner is not considered self-employed; they can become an employee of the company and receive regular salary benefits. Conversely, an LLC member must include their guaranteed payments and a portion of the LLC’s earnings when calculating their self-employment tax. Share distributions determine the corporate income of S-Corporation shareholders. For example, suppose you are the sole owner of an LLC in South Dakota with an annual profit of $150,000 and a fair wage for someone in your location doing the same job as you is $100,000. Under the default LLC taxation, you must pay self-employment taxes on the $150,000 profit. However, if your company is taxed as an S-Corp in South Dakota, you would be responsible for paying payroll taxes only on the $100,000 standard wage. Income tax would still apply to the remaining $50,000.
  • South Dakota State Taxes: No major tax differences exist between regular LLCs and S-Corporation LLCs at the state level. For filing an annual report in South Dakota, it costs $50, which can be paid to the TN Secretary of State. Additionally, before forming the LLC, you must pay $165 (by mail and $150 online).

On the other hand, if you form an S-Corporation in South Dakota, you will also need to pay taxes. This includes the S-Corp filing fee and an annual report fee after establishing your S-Corp for one year. You must also go to the TN Secretary of State to make these payments.

2. Liability Protection

LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota provide liability protection for their owners. This means that the owner’s personal assets are protected from business debts and lawsuits. However, S-Corporation status does not offer the same level of protection as an LLC, as it is primarily a tax designation.

The following factors exclude certain individuals and entities from becoming shareholders in an S-Corporation in South Dakota:

  • Insurance businesses
  • Domestic international sales corporations
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Unauthorized immigrants
  • Specific financial institutions

While understanding the ownership requirements of LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota is essential, seeking legal counsel when establishing your business is still advisable. For assistance with your South Dakota LLC or South Dakota S-Corp, consider consulting with professionals.

3. Ownership Requirements and Restrictions

LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota have specific ownership requirements and restrictions. For instance, an LLC can have unlimited members, while an S-Corporation is limited to 100 shareholders. Additionally, S-Corporations can only have one class of stock and must follow strict rules regarding shareholder eligibility.

Easier to File in South Dakota: LLCs or S-Corporations

While filing an LLC or S-Corporation in South Dakota requires time and preparation, proper planning can make the process manageable. Both LLCs and S-Corporations can be filed through the South Dakota Registered Agent.

To start an LLC in South Dakota, you must submit the Articles of Organization to the South Dakota Secretary of State. This document should contain all the necessary information for your LLC, along with the payment of the associated filing fee.

On the other hand, if you want to elect S-Corporation status for your South Dakota LLC, you will need to submit additional paperwork. First, file Form 8832 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to indicate your preference to tax your LLC as a corporation rather than a partnership. Next, submit Form 2553 to choose S-Corporation status.

Remember, maintaining legal compliance is crucial for your LLC. This means submitting annual tax returns and reports after establishing your business entity.

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Filing Process for LLCs vs. S-Corporations in South Dakota

Forming an LLC in South Dakota involves several crucial steps. To start, you must file Articles of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State and pay the associated filing fee of $165 (by mail and $150 online). Once your LLC is established, you must comply with annual reporting and tax requirements.

On the other hand, if you want to elect an S-Corporation status for your existing LLC or corporation, the process is slightly different. Firstly, you must file Form 8832 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to classify your LLC as a corporation for tax purposes. Then, you must submit Form 2553 to the IRS to choose S-Corporation status. In South Dakota, the S-Corporation filing fee is $150 for online filing, and $165 for filing by mail..

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The LLC formation and S-Corporation election processes can be completed through two methods, online and by mail. Online incorporation is available at Create an account/Log in to the SOS site, get the online form, fill it, and submit online, while offline incorporation can be done at Send the form by mail to Secretary of State Office, 500 E Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501. It is essential to stay up-to-date with any ongoing reporting and tax requirements for your chosen business structure.

The filing process for LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota varies slightly, with each requiring specific forms and fees. It’s essential to consider the unique requirements of each business structure before making a decision. Consulting with a legal or financial advisor can provide valuable guidance on which structure best suits your business in South Dakota.


What is an LLC in South Dakota?
An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a type of business entity in South Dakota that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax structure of a partnership.
What is an S Corp in South Dakota?
An S Corporation is a type of corporation that allows the business’s income to flow through to the owners’ personal tax returns, minimizing the overall tax liability.
Is there a difference between the two in terms of how they are taxed in South Dakota?
Yes. LLCs in South Dakota can choose to be taxed as a partnership or a corporation, whereas S Corps are only taxed as a pass-through entity.
Can LLCs and S Corps both protect the business owners’ personal assets in South Dakota?
Yes, both LLCs and S Corps make the owner’s personal assets separate from those of the business, offering liability protection.
Does South Dakota provide any specific tax incentives for LLCs or S Corps?
South Dakota doesn’t typically offer tax incentives specifically for LLCs or S Corps, but the state does have a favorable business tax environment overall.
Can a South Dakota LLC issue stock?
No. LLCs in South Dakota aren’t allowed to issue stock options, unlike S Corps.
How many people are typically allowed to own an LLC in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, an LLC can be owned by a single person or by multiple parties.
Are the owners of an S Corp allowed to be made up entirely of foreign shareholders in South Dakota?
No. All S Corp owners must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or certain trusts.
In South Dakota, can an LLC have partners?
Yes. LLCs can choose to have partners, but they aren’t required to.
Are there limits to the number of shareholders an S Corp can have in South Dakota?
Yes. In South Dakota, S Corps are allowed to have no more than 100 shareholders, who must all be individuals.
Is it more expensive to establish an LLC or S Corp in South Dakota?
Generally, S Corps have more formalities and requirements than LLCs, and therefore can be more expensive to establish in South Dakota.
Can an LLC in South Dakota elect to be taxed as an S Corp?
Yes. An LLC in South Dakota can choose to be taxed as an S Corp for U.S. tax purposes.
Can an S Corp in South Dakota be converted to an LLC?
Yes. It is possible to convert an S Corp in South Dakota to an LLC, but this decision should be made carefully in collaboration with a business attorney and/or CPA.
Are there annual fees associated with maintaining an S Corp or LLC in South Dakota?
Both LLCs and S Corps in South Dakota need to pay an annual fee to renew the registration, although the fee amount may differ.
Does a South Dakota LLC provide limited personal liability to its owners?
Yes. The personal liability of the LLC owners is typically limited to their investment in the LLC.
Are there any residency restrictions for owners of an S Corp in South Dakota?
No, there are no residency restrictions for S Corp owners in South Dakota.
What types of businesses would benefit most from forming an S Corp in South Dakota?
Small to mid-sized companies would typically benefit the most from forming an S Corp in South Dakota.
Can a South Dakota LLC have a board of directors?
No. Only corporations, including S Corps, can have a board of directors in South Dakota.
Can a South Dakota S Corp have multiple classes of stock?
No. S Corps in South Dakota are not allowed to have more than one class of stock.
Are there any restrictions regarding the profits and losses distributed among LLC owners in South Dakota?
There are no restrictions as long as the distribution terms are spelled out in the LLC operating agreement in South Dakota.
Are equipment and vehicles used in the business subject to personal liability in an LLC in South Dakota?
No. Equipment and vehicles once owned by the South Dakota LLC only has business status and they don’t pose personal risks to the LLC owners.
Do the owners of an S Corp need to hold regular meetings in South Dakota?
Yes. S Corps in South Dakota are required to hold regular shareholder and board of director meetings.
Can an LLC in South Dakota be taxed as a C Corp?
Yes. An LLC in South Dakota can elect to be taxed as a C Corp, although this can present some drawbacks depending on the company’s goals.
Is there a limit on the number of LLCs a person can own in South Dakota?
There is no specific limit to the number of LLCs a single person can own in South Dakota, but each LLC must be registered and paid for individually.
Is liability protection stronger for an LLC or an S Corp in South Dakota?
Both LLCs and S Corps in South Dakota offer liability protection, but the difference lies depending upon the nature of the company’s business activities.
Does South Dakota have any residency requirement for board members?
South Dakota has no residency prerequisites to serve on boards of an LLC or any other business entity.

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Navigating the world of business structures and filings may seem daunting, but with the right information and guidance, you can confidently make the best decision for your unique entrepreneurial journey. Remember, the path to success is paved with well-informed choices and a clear understanding of your business goals. So, take the time to research, consult with professionals, and weigh the pros and cons of LLCs and S-Corporations in South Dakota.

As you embark on this exciting adventure, remember that a strong foundation built on sound legal and financial principles will be the backbone of your thriving enterprise. Embrace the challenge, stay curious, and always remember your passion and vision. Visit LLCBase today to access valuable resources, expert guidance, and personalized support tailored to your needs. Don’t wait any longer – let us help you realize your entrepreneurial dreams. 

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