The primary difference between communism and socialism is that communism is a political system and socialism is chiefly an economic system. Communism focuses on putting the working class in charge of society by having the government control the means of production, whereas socialism focuses on making sure that all individuals have their basic needs met.
Socialism is often mistaken for communism, and it can be argued that communism is simply an extreme form of socialism. This is because socialism is predicated on the idea that providing for the needs of all members of society will ultimately benefit the society. Communism takes this idea further by eliminating individual ownership of any goods. Communism shares wealth based on “each according to his need,” rather than based on the skill of the individual. This is supposed to create a society without social classes, and in which everyone receives equal treatment. Violence is often considered an acceptable means of changing a society to get to this point if necessary.
In contrast, socialism focuses on working within capitalism rather than trying to eliminate classes altogether. Socialism focuses on regulation and taxes rather than violent overthrow of the established political order. Socialism attempts to work within the established political order.