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Incorporated vs. Limited: Know the Difference

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By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Incorporated refers to a legal entity that is registered as a corporation, whereas Limited (Ltd.) indicates a company with limited liability for its shareholders.
Incorporated vs. Limited

Key Differences

Incorporated, often abbreviated as Inc., signifies a legal entity recognized as a separate entity from its owners, offering liability protection. Limited, abbreviated as Ltd., also denotes a separate legal entity, specifically highlighting that shareholders' liability is restricted to their investment.
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Dec 09, 2023
Companies that are incorporated can raise capital through the sale of stock and are subject to specific regulatory and reporting requirements. Limited companies, while also able to raise funds from shareholders, often have a more defined limit on shareholder numbers and share distribution.
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The process of becoming incorporated involves legal formalities including the creation of articles of incorporation, while forming a limited company involves drafting a memorandum of association and articles of association.
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Incorporated companies are often perceived as larger or more established, and this structure is common in the United States. In contrast, the term Limited is more commonly used in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, reflecting a similar business structure.
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The liability protection for owners and shareholders in an incorporated business is a key aspect, similar to a limited company where shareholders' personal assets are usually protected from business debts.
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Comparison Chart

Legal Status

Registered as a corporation
Registered with limited liability
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Liability

Owners/shareholders have limited liability
Shareholders' liability is limited to their investment
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Capital Raising

Can issue stocks
Limited share distribution
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Geographical Usage

Common in the USA
Common in the UK and Commonwealth
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Documentation

Requires articles of incorporation
Requires memorandum and articles of association
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Incorporated and Limited Definitions

Incorporated

It refers to a business that has completed the legal process of incorporation.
After becoming incorporated, the company began to issue stock.
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Limited

Limited refers to a company structure where shareholders' liability is restricted to their investment.
ABC Ltd. ensures that the personal assets of its shareholders are protected.
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Incorporated

Incorporated implies the company's owners have limited liability.
Being incorporated protected the shareholders' personal assets from the company's debts.
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Limited

Limited companies can be either private or public, but with limited liability.
Despite going public, the company retained its limited status to protect its shareholders.
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Incorporated

Incorporated entities are subject to specific corporate laws and regulations.
Once incorporated, the business had to adhere to more stringent regulatory standards.
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Limited

Limited is a common company format in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.
The British company was registered as a limited entity to comply with local laws.
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Incorporated

It often indicates a larger or more established company structure.
The firm transitioned from a small partnership to a large incorporated entity.
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Limited

Confined or restricted within certain limits
Has only limited experience.
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Incorporated

Incorporated means forming a new corporation, a legal entity distinct from its owners.
XYZ Inc. was incorporated to expand its business operations.
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Limited

Not attaining the highest goals or achievement
A limited success.
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Incorporated

United into one body; combined.
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Limited

Having only mediocre talent or range of ability
A popular but limited actor.
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Incorporated

Formed into or organized and maintained as a legal corporation.
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Limited

Having governmental or ruling powers restricted by enforceable limitations, as a constitution or a legislative body
Limited monarchy.
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Incorporated

(US) Being a type of company, a legal entity where the ownership has been arranged into shares. A shareholder has no responsibilities to the company and the potential losses of the shareholder are limited to the value of the stock turning to zero in the case of a bankruptcy.
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Limited

Abbr. Ltd. Of or relating to a limited company.
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Incorporated

Simple past tense and past participle of incorporate
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Limited

Of, relating to, or being transportation facilities, such as trains or buses, that make few stops and carry relatively few passengers.
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Incorporated

United or combined together to form in one body.
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Limited

A limited train or bus.
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Incorporated

Formed into a corporation and registered with a government body as such; made a legal entity.
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Limited

Simple past tense and past participle of limit
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Incorporated

Formed or united into a whole
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Limited

With certain (often specified) limits placed upon it.
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Incorporated

Organized and maintained as a legal corporation;
A special agency set up in corporate form
An incorporated town
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Limited

Restricted, small, few, not plentiful.
There are limited places available. Enrol now or you will miss out.
I have a limited understanding of quantum physics.
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Incorporated

Introduced into as a part of the whole;
The ideas incorporated in his revised manuscript
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Limited

(rail) An express train that only halts at a limited number of stops.
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Limited

Confined within limits; narrow; circumscribed; restricted; as, our views of nature are very limited.
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Limited

Small in range or scope;
Limited war
A limited success
A limited circle of friends
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Limited

Subject to limits or subjected to limits
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Limited

Including only a part
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Limited

Mediocre
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Limited

Not excessive
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Limited

Having a specific function or scope;
A special (or specific) role in the mission
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Limited

Not unlimited;
A limited list of choices
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Limited

It signifies a separate legal entity, distinct from its owners.
When they formed XYZ Ltd., the owners secured their personal finances from business risks.
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Limited

This type of company often has restrictions on share transfer.
As a limited company, their shares were not freely tradable on the open market.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can incorporated companies issue stock?

Yes, incorporated companies can issue stock to raise capital.
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Is incorporation more common in the US or UK?

Incorporation is more common in the US.
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Where are limited companies more prevalent?

Limited companies are more common in the UK and Commonwealth countries.
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Are limited companies restricted in share trading?

Yes, limited companies often have restrictions on how shares can be traded.
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What does incorporated mean?

Incorporated refers to a company legally established as a corporation, separate from its owners.
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What is a limited company?

A limited company is a business entity where the liability of shareholders is limited to their investment.
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What are the tax implications for incorporated businesses?

Incorporated businesses may face different tax structures, such as corporate tax.
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How does liability differ between incorporated and limited companies?

Both offer limited liability, but the structure and regulations may vary.
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What legal documents are needed for incorporation?

Incorporation requires articles of incorporation.
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Can individuals protect personal assets by forming a limited company?

Yes, forming a limited company can protect personal assets from business liabilities.
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Can incorporated entities exist indefinitely?

Yes, incorporated entities can continue indefinitely, beyond the lifespan of their owners.
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Do incorporated companies have more stringent regulations?

Yes, they often face stricter regulatory and reporting requirements.
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Can both incorporated and limited companies be publicly traded?

Yes, both can be publicly traded, but the rules and structures may differ.
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Are limited companies subject to corporate tax?

Yes, limited companies are generally subject to corporate tax.
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What is required to form a limited company?

Forming a limited company involves drafting a memorandum and articles of association.
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Do limited companies offer more privacy for shareholders?

Yes, especially private limited companies, which may not require public disclosure of shareholders.
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Can both incorporated and limited companies be formed by a single individual?

Yes, both types of companies can be established by a single individual.
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Is it easier to transfer ownership in an incorporated company?

Yes, through the sale of stock, ownership can be more easily transferred in incorporated companies.
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Are there limitations on the number of shareholders in a limited company?

Yes, particularly in private limited companies, there may be restrictions on the number of shareholders.
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Is it easier to raise capital for an incorporated business?

Often, yes, as incorporated businesses can issue stock more freely.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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