As a small business owner, you have several options for structuring your business. One of the most popular options is to form an S corporation. In this blog post, we'll discuss the tax advantages and opportunities of having an S corporation compared to other business structures, such as C corporations, partnerships, or single-member LLCs.
What is an S Corporation?
An S corporation is a special type of corporation that allows profits and losses to be passed through to shareholders, avoiding double taxation that can occur with traditional C corporations. To qualify as an S corporation, a business must meet certain requirements, including having no more than 100 shareholders, all of whom must be U.S. citizens or residents, and having only one class of stock.
Tax Advantages of S Corporations
There are several tax advantages that make S corporations an attractive option for small business owners:
- Pass-through taxation: S corporations have pass-through taxation, which means that profits and losses are passed through to shareholders and reported on their personal tax returns. This avoids the double taxation that can occur with C corporations, where profits are taxed at the corporate level and then again when distributed to shareholders as dividends.
- Lower self-employment taxes:S corporation shareholders who are also employees of the company can save on self-employment taxes. Unlike a partnership or single-member LLC, S corporation shareholders who work for the company can take a reasonable salary and only pay self-employment taxes on that amount. The remaining profits can be distributed as dividends, which are not subject to self-employment taxes.
- Pass-through losses: S corporations allow shareholders to deduct their share of the company's losses on their personal tax returns given certain assumptions. This can be especially beneficial for businesses in their early years when they are still building their revenue streams.
- Capital gains tax treatment: When an S corporation is sold, the gain on the sale is generally treated as a long-term capital gain, which is subject to a lower tax rate than ordinary income. This can result in significant tax savings for shareholders.
Opportunities for Tax Planning with S Corporations
In addition to the tax advantages, S corporations also offer unique opportunities for tax planning:
- Income splitting: S corporations can distribute profits to shareholders in proportion to their ownership percentage, allowing for income splitting and potentially lower tax rates.
- Charitable contributions: S corporations can make charitable contributions and pass through the deductions to shareholders, allowing for a reduction in taxable income.
- Depreciation deductions: S corporations can take advantage of depreciation deductions on business assets, potentially reducing taxable income.
Structuring your business as an S corporation can provide unique tax advantages and opportunities for small business owners, including pass-through taxation, lower self-employment taxes, pass-through losses, capital gains tax treatment, income splitting, charitable contributions, and depreciation deductions. If you're considering structuring your business as an S corporation, it's important to consult with a qualified business attorney and tax professional who can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your business.
Contact Provident Legal Counsel today to discuss your business and tax/legal options. Schedule a Consultation or call (214) 432-6100.