There are a great many people who don't know what an LLC is, so don't feel bad if it comes as news to you that the letters stand for Limited Liability Company (or Companies). Some people take the view that the LLC's legal status lies somewhere between a corporation and a partnership, but this is a rather fuzzy non-definition. According to Caroline on Accountingglossary.net, an LLC is "A business structured so that its owners are not personally liable for debts or other business liabilities such as damages from lawsuits."
In essence this form of organization allows the business to distribute its earnings among the partners making up the LLC (which they must then report to the IRS on their individual tax filings), while protecting them from lawsuits against the business entity that is the LLC. Any losses the LLC incurs can be used as tax deductions against income. The advantages of such an arrangement are obvious. None of the partners are responsible for the firm's debts unless they have personally secured them with their own personal assets or a credit card issued in their name.
The IRS has no category for LLCs and thus they are not charged any federal income tax. Ownership interests in an LLC are not transferrable without restriction, although they can issue several different kinds of stocks. The LLC is not a form of business organization that would work for most corporations trading stock on the open market, as their stock issues tend to be large and the transactions must take place without delay. An LLC, on the other hand, can work very nicely for a small partnership of more than two.
Most states where LLCs are allowed to exist, as well as the federal government, are looking for ways to regulate and maintain some sort of control over these entities. Dishonest stock promoters have been known to use this form of business organization to evade securities laws, and swindle their shareholders out of redress in court for their "losses."
In 1977 Wyoming became the first state to codify a true LLC form based upon the 1892 German one that is generally recognized as the progenitor of all that have followed. Portugal, Brazil, Chile, France, Turkey, and Cuba all adopted the LLC as a legal form of business organization prior to the Great Stock Market Crash in 1929.