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C Corporation

A C corporation refers to any corporation that, under United States income tax law, is taxed separately from its owners. It is distinguished from an S corporation, which is not taxed separately. Most major companies (and many smaller companies) are treated as C corporations for U.S. income tax purposes.

C Corporation vs. S Corporation

Shareholders of a corporation may elect to treat the corporation as a flow-through entity known as an S corporation. An S corporation is not itself subject to income tax; rather, shareholders of the S corporation are subject to tax on their pro rata shares of income based on their shareholdings. To qualify to make the S corporation election, the corporation’s shares must be held by resident or citizen individuals or certain qualifying trusts. Unlike corporations treated as S corporations, a corporation may qualify as a C corporation without regard to any limit on the number of shareholders, foreign or domestic.