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If I have an S-corp called Lorem Ipsum (not a trade name, but registered business name), can I refer to that S-corp as Lorem Ipsum Inc.?

  • The answer is yes. But I don't know if an LLC that has elected to be treated as an S-corp is, for external legal purposes, equivalent to an incorporated S-corp, so I'm curious to see answers that address that. AFAIK the only way you can create an S-corp without being incorporated is for an LLC to make an S-corp election. Or have you found another way? – feetwet Dec 12 '16 at 14:00
  • S corporation denotes a particular tax status that says nothing of itself about the corporation's form of legal organization. So the answer about what forms of name are allowed almost certainly depends on the law of the state in which the corporation is organized, as well as the corporation's actual form of organization. – phoog Dec 12 '16 at 15:41
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Yes. It is acceptable to do so, so long as your business is indeed a corporation. Inc. means a corporation under state law, and if that is true it is fine.

It is technically possible to have an LLC that elects to be taxed as a corporation rather than as a partnership, which then makes an S corporation election. In that case, it would be improper to use the ending "Inc." (although state law might say otherwise, and in that case it would be O.K.)

If you did have an LLC that used "Inc." following its name, the misleading term might be considered harmless for most purposes, but it could still be problematic because people who make payments to corporations (regardless of tax classification) are not required to issue a 1099 to the corporation, while someone who makes a payment to an LLC (regardless of its tax classification) is required to issue at 1099 if the payment is more than $600. (Of course that are exceptions to both of these general rules, for example, for payments made to attorneys.)

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I don't know if you can or can't, but if I lost money because I believed you were an incorporated company when you were not, I would take you personally to court for fraud. If I change any financial decision because you are lying to me about your company, then you are very, very close to fraud.

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    Usually it would be to your benefit if they were not incorporated and you thought that they were. – ohwilleke Dec 12 '16 at 19:41

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