The PC and PLLC: What and When
Have you ever seen a business name that ends in PC or PLLC? Does this mystify you? You are not alone.
Some licensed professionals (such as doctors, nurses, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, osteopaths, veterinarians, psychologists, certain counselors and therapists, social workers, occupational therapists, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and landscape architects and geologists) are required to indicate to the public that they are indeed licensed by the state.
They do this by forming a professional corporation (PC), professional association (PA) or professional liability company.
These entities have requirements that licensed professionals are involved in the management of the company as directors or managers and officers. For most professions, only the license-holder can own the professional company. With a few exceptions, members of different professions cannot co-own businesses together.
To form a professional entity, the professional must first apply to his or her licensing board with the proposed Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization (and a fee of course!). The licensing board will send a document that certifies the professional’s license is in good standing. This form is submitted to the NC Secretary of State with the Articles (and a fee, of course!).
For most licensed professionals, the entity will not shield them from professional malpractice, only for accidents (eg someone slips and falls on a wet floor) or breach of contracts (eg they default on the copier lease). It is especially important for the professional to have malpractice insurance.
Interestingly, other licensed professionals, such as plumbers, electricians, cosmetologists or general contractors, are not required by NC General Statutes to form a professional entity, although they must comply with the regulations of their licensing boards.