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C Corporation


A C Corporation, also known as a C Corp, is a legal business structure wherein the corporation itself becomes a separate taxable entity under U.S. federal income tax laws. Shareholders own the corporation, and its income is taxed at the corporate level, while any distributions to the owners are taxed again as personal income. This leads to double taxation, which is the key difference between C Corporations and other business structures like S Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).


The phonetic pronunciation of “C Corporation” is: “see kɔr-pə-‘rā-shən”.

Key Takeaways

  1. C Corporations are separate legal entities from their owners, providing shareholders with limited liability protection. This means that shareholders are only financially responsible for their investments in the company and not the company’s debts or obligations.
  2. C Corporations are subject to double taxation, meaning that company profits are taxed at the corporate level, and shareholder payouts are taxed again at the individual level. This is because a C Corporation is considered a separate taxable entity from its owners.
  3. C Corporations have more flexibility in terms of ownership, as there are no restrictions on the number of shareholders and types of investors. Additionally, they can issue various classes of stock, which can be an attractive feature for raising capital through equity financing.


The term C Corporation is important in business and finance because it refers to the most common type of corporation structure in the United States, which offers significant advantages in terms of raising capital, limiting liability, and flexibility in ownership. C Corporations provide legal protection to their shareholders by separating their personal assets from the company’s debts and obligations, thus limiting their liability. Additionally, this corporate structure allows businesses to easily raise funds through the issuance of various types of stock, enabling them to expand, invest, and thrive in a competitive market. Furthermore, C Corporations can have an unlimited number of shareholders and various classes of stock, providing greater flexibility in ownership and allowing the company to attract investors with different financial goals and preferences. Overall, C Corporations play a crucial role in supporting the growth and stability of businesses, contributing to the overall health of the economy.


A C Corporation serves as one of the cornerstones of modern business entities, catering to medium-to-large scale organizations by providing a separate legal entity that holds distinct rights and privileges under the federal law. The primary purpose of a C Corporation is to safeguard company owners and shareholders from personal liability related to the company’s debts and obligations. In doing so, it offers an insulated operating structure where the business can pursue profitability while ensuring that the personal assets of investors are not at risk in the event of financial turmoil.

C Corporations are widely utilized by entities seeking external funding and investment due to their flexible share structure, allowing for the negotiation of various share classes and preferences that enable diverse ownership. This aspect makes it attractive to individuals or entities looking to inject capital into the business and to potentially have an active influence on the management of the company. Additionally, these corporations can typically leverage various tax benefits and a lower rate in comparison to the personal rate of owners, which encourages financial preservation and further growth opportunities. The ability to ethically minimize tax liabilities and accommodate investment makes C Corporations an attractive choice for those looking to build a long-lasting business structure that can continue to scale and adapt as the organization develops.


1. General Motors Company (GM) – General Motors is an American multinational automotive manufacturing company. Incorporated on September 16, 1908, in Detroit, Michigan, GM is classified as a C Corporation and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “GM.” As a C Corporation, GM pays federal corporate income taxes on its profits and is responsible for filing its own corporate tax returns.

2. Apple Inc. – Apple, founded on April 1, 1976, in Cupertino, California, is a well-known technology company that designs, manufactures, and markets consumer electronics, software, and services. Apple is a C Corporation with shares publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol “AAPL.” As a C Corporation, Apple is subject to corporate income taxes on its earnings and must file its own corporate tax returns.

3. Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) – Procter & Gamble is a leading American multinational company specializing in consumer goods, such as personal care and cleaning products. Founded on October 31, 1837, in Cincinnati, Ohio, P&G is organized as a C Corporation and is traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “PG.” P&G pays corporate income taxes on its profits and is responsible for filing separate corporate tax returns.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a C Corporation?

A C Corporation, also known as a C-Corp, is a type of business entity in the United States that is taxed separately from its owners/shareholders. It is the most common type of corporation and provides limited liability protection for its owners.

How is a C Corporation formed?

To form a C Corporation, you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the appropriate state agency, usually the Secretary of State’s office, and pay the required filing fee. Additionally, you’ll need to create corporate bylaws and appoint a board of directors.

What are the benefits of a C Corporation?

The benefits of a C Corporation include limited liability protection for owners, perpetual existence, the ability to raise capital through the sale of stock, and the possibility of offering various classes of stock and stock options.

How is a C Corporation taxed?

C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation’s income is taxed at the corporate level, and then the income distributed to the shareholders in the form of dividends is taxed again at the individual level.

What are the roles of shareholders, directors, and officers in a C Corporation?

Shareholders own the corporation through the purchase of shares/stock. They elect the board of directors, who set the overall direction of the business and oversee major corporate decisions. The board of directors appoints officers such as the CEO and CFO, who manage the company’s daily operations.

Can a C Corporation own other companies?

Yes, a C Corporation can own other companies, either partially or wholly. This is often done through mergers and acquisitions or the establishment of subsidiary companies.

What are the reporting requirements for a C Corporation?

C Corporations are required to file an annual report with the state where they are incorporated, as well as annual financial statements. They must also file a federal corporate income tax return using Form 1120.

Can a non-US resident form or own a C Corporation?

Yes, a non-US resident can form a C Corporation in the United States and own shares in the corporation. However, there may be tax implications and reporting requirements for non-US residents, which should be discussed with a qualified tax advisor.

Can a C Corporation be converted to an S Corporation or an LLC?

Yes, a C Corporation can be converted to an S Corporation or an LLC, subject to meeting certain eligibility requirements and completing the necessary legal and tax steps. This may be helpful in changing the way the company is taxed or managed.

What is the difference between a C Corporation and an S Corporation?

The main difference between a C Corporation and an S Corporation is the way they are taxed. C Corporations are subject to double taxation, while S Corporations are considered pass-through entities, avoiding double taxation. There are also certain restrictions on the number of shareholders and the types of shareholders that an S Corporation can have, which do not apply to C Corporations.

Related Finance Terms

  • Double taxation
  • Shareholders
  • Limited liability protection
  • Stock classes
  • Corporate structure

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