POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF CHOOSING TO BE TAXED AS AN S-CORP
S-Corporations, under the right circumstances, can offer significant tax savings to a business entity. An eligible domestic business entity - usually a corporation or limited liability company - elects to be taxed under the S Chapter of the Internal Revenue Code by filing Form 2553 to the IRS.
Choosing to be taxed as an S-Corp also requires experienced legal and financial help. Below are just a few considerations on the pros and cons of deciding to be taxed as an S-Corp.
Like LLCs, the IRS usually taxes S-Corps only once, at the shareholder level. This avoids the so-called "double taxation" of a traditional C-Corp, in which both the corporation itself and the shareholders must pay taxes on profits.
Employee Versus Investor
Payroll tax savings are often an integral component when deciding to be taxed as an S-Corp. This is because S-Corp owners can be treated for tax purposes as both investors and employees. Shareholders of S-Corps, therefore, are only taxed Social Security and Medicare taxes on reasonable wages.
For example, a single-member LLC in which the owner is active in a trade or business must pay self-employment tax, which amounts to roughly 13.3 percent on the first $100,000 in profits. If the LLC chose to be taxed as an S-Corp, however, it only must pay Social Security and Medicare on the wages provided to the S-Corp. If the single shareholder provided services to the S-Corp and his or her reasonable wages were $50,000 on the first 100,000 in profits, the S-Corp could save approximately $7,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes, despite earning the same amount in profits as it would as a single-member LLC.
Keep in mind the IRS looks very closely at this form of taxation, so an S-Corp must be very careful to pay reasonable wages in order to obtain tax benefits.
Unlike a C-Corp, S-Corp shareholders can often deduct business losses on their personal tax returns. This can be extremely helpful, especially in the first years of a startup, as owners often must invest personally in the business. The losses of a C-Corp, on the other hand, stay at the corporate level.
This article is a brief introduction on some of the tax benefits an S-Corp may provide. Any business owners considering whether to be taxed as an S-Corp should contact a tax or business formations attorney experienced in this matter of law.
ANTICIPATING CHANGING LIFE STAGES IS IMPORTANT TO TEXAS BUSINESS OWNERS
As any owner knows, a business can have a life of its own. The culture within each company has a personality and some people attribute family-like characteristics to their work environment and fellow workers.
Every life has a beginning and an end, and businesses go through various life stages as they grow, mature and eventually pass on. Identifying which life stage a business is in can help owners and managers anticipate and prepare for legal aspects present during each stage.
Business life stages
- Conception: At the idea stage for a new business venture, carefully research the niche you intend to fill. Analyze your financial capabilities, the economics of the existing and future market for your product or service and pair those attributes to your skills and talents. Be willing to acknowledge that it may not be the right time or place for your proposed business.
- Birth: Once you have decided to proceed, a Texas business lawyer can help with questions of entity formation, limiting liability for owners and obtaining the necessary registrations, permits and licenses for your business. Start on the right foot by establishing written contracts with employees, suppliers, co-owners and customers, as necessary.
- Growth and maturity: As your company grows and matures, you may find yourself too busy with the day-to-day details to spend adequate time planning for the future, updating forms and contracts or keeping a lookout for potential pitfalls in the industry. This is no time to rest on your laurels. In order to stay on top of the market, you may need to revitalize your management style, restructure your business contracts or rethink the company's direction.
- Death: Nothing lasts forever and the same is true for your involvement with your business. It is important to set up a business succession plan from the very start. If you plan to sell the business to an outsider or have your children take over at some point in the future, establish the framework for such a transfer early on. Retirement, a grave illness or premature death of a key employee or co-owner can mean disaster for a company's continued success.
Understanding and planning for the various phases of your business can help you prepare for and avert potential difficulties. It is also vital to have the right people giving you counsel throughout the life of your business.
Consult a business lawyer
No matter which stage your business is in, consult an experienced Texas lawyer for assistance. An attorney knowledgeable about commercial, corporate and business laws can help you make your company successful and guide you around potential disputes and difficulties.