Determining Withholding for S Corporation Owners

Determining Withholding for S Corporation Owners

Atlanta CPA Advises on How to Determine What Your Withholding Should be for S Corporation Owners

To preclude the responsibility for an S Corporation owner to also have to pay estimated tax payments to both the IRS & Georgia, it is prudent to work closely with your CPA to adjust/increase your withholdings accordingly.

A Georgia LLC, LLP, partnership or sole proprietorship, you are subject to the 15.3% Self Employment/FICA/Medicare tax on all of your net earnings. The S corporation, on the other hand, pays you a deductible salary (which is subject to FICA/Medicare), and then the profits flow through your personal return via a Schedule K-1. This K-1 income allows for permanent deferral of the FICA/Medicare tax. The Georgia S corporation allows small business owners to legally save taxes as long as they pay a fair and reasonable salary to themselves. To learn more about how different entities are taxed visit http://www.hiscpa.com/article6.html

There is no income tax paid by as S Corporation when the annual tax return is filed to the IRS. However, as a part of the corporate return which is prepared, a Form 1120S, there is an attached schedule which shows each owners respective ownership percentage and via a Form K-1 for which each shareholder should reflect on their personal return. K-1 profits, losses, and shareholder distributions are all required by tax law to be issued based upon the each shareholders ownership percentage. In order for losses to be deductible a shareholder has to have a positive tax basis, which is a component of past profits, losses, and loans to and from the business. If a shareholder has no basis to cover losses reported on a K-1, they are by tax law considered to be “suspended losses” and can be rolled forward to future years when the shareholder has positive basis, which can be created by future years profits or the shareholder loaning money to the business.

An owner should report the K-1 profit, which is based upon their share of the business and not the amount of their shareholder distributions. This is a common misnomer about S Corporations and often leads to confusion for the new business owner. To that end it is best to remember that you pay taxes on the profits when you make them and not when you take them. For example generally speaking if your business nets $100,000 and you are the sole owner, you will pay taxes on $100,0000 whether you take zero dollar of shareholder distributions, a $100,000 or any number in between. Thus if you were to have a $100,000 profit in any given year and take no distributions then you would be able, absent any other issues, to take shareholder distributions in subsequent years with no additional tax responsibility as these monies would have already been taxed.

Converting Your LLC to an S Corporation for Tax Purposes

An LLC is legally allowed to convert over to an S Corporation for tax purposes which can legally allows the savings of thousands annually. Although being an LLC offers some flexibility (no Board of Directors/ease of formation), being an LLC will typically result in many businesses paying an higher tax bill on its earned income.

If an LLC converts to an S Corporation for tax purposes, it remains an LLC for all other issues thus maintaining the advantages initially desired. When a business converts over to an S Corporation all active employee/owners are required to take a fair and reasonable salary. The best test of a reasonable salary is what an owner would have to pay someone else to perform their position and it is a function of their position, responsibilities, and the business’s profit. If an LLC converts over to an S Corporation for tax purposes its federal and state income taxes will remain essentially the same. However, an LLC pays FICA & Medicaid taxes on all of its net earnings/earned income whereas an S Corporation will be obligated solely on its salary/W-2 wages.

John Dillard is an Christian Speaker/Author and an Atlanta CPA. To See how he takes Christ along with him to work visit http://www.hiscpa.com/ and for his latest book Overcoming Life’s 9/11’s: Job’s Journey and a Voice of One: Nehemiah’s Prayer or call John Dillard CPA today at 770.814.9304 (All Rights Reserved)

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