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A C-corp is the most common type of corporation—essentially the default variety. Named for the subchapter of the Internal Revenue Code—subchapter “C”—under which its tax designation is described, tax reasons are what make a C-corp a C-corp. (S-corps and C-corps are no different under state corporation laws—only by way of the federal tax code.) With a C-corp designation, a corporate income tax is paid first by the corporation with a federal tax return (Form 1120) as required by the IRS. Shareholders must then pay taxes on personal income at the individual level for any gains realized from dividends.
C-corps have no major restrictions on who can own shares, meaning other businesses and entities both in and outside the United States can have ownership. There is also no limit to the total number of shareholders. C-corps, like all corporations, must follow operating rules called “corporate formalities” in order to maintain corporate protections.