McVay Business Services - Accounting & Tax Services Pensacola, FL
What Are S Corporations and LLCs?
According to the Internal Revenue Service, which takes a special interest in how a business is classified, an S corporation is a business that opts to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.
Basically, S corporation shareholders report the flow-through of income and losses on their personal tax returns and the IRS subsequently assesses a tax at their individual income tax rates. Under this scenario, S corporations can bypass double taxation on any corporate income earned by the business.
To get Uncle Sam's stamp of approval and achieve S corporation status, a company must meet the following requirements, as laid out by the IRS:
What Is an LLC?
A limited liability corporation is a relative common, uncomplicated business structure, with a strong dose of flexibility for business owners.
The flexibility in an LLC can mainly be found in numbers, as LLCs can be owned by more than one individual (the IRS refers to LLC participants as "members"), or it can be operated by a single owner (known as a "single member LLC" by the IRS.)
Structuring a business as an LLC offers ample benefits to business owners. For starters, it offers a firewall against lawsuits in protecting personal financial assets. It also curbs paperwork, stops a company from being taxed twice by the IRS, and provides some much-needed stability for new companies.
Creating an LLC is fairly basic, even by Internal Revenue Service standards. Business owners usually launching an LLC in their home states, although many business owners form an LLC in tax-friendly states like Delaware or Nevada.
Process-wise, new applications for an LLC are handled by the specific state's secretary of state office (the office's website is a great place to start your research on LLCs.) The filing form is simple and short, requiring the names of each LLC partner and their contact information. Each state has its own way of doing business, but LLC owners can count on paying a filing fee of up to $200.
Hiring a good business and/or tax lawyer isn't necessary, but for a nominal fee, it's a good idea to have an experienced hand on the till when structuring your LLC.
Tax Benefits of an LLC Filed as S Corp.
There is a way to hit the "sweet spot" and benefit from both an LLC and an S corporation designation.
Business owners can do so by becoming an LLC and elect to have your business treated like an S corporation for tax purposes. Business owners need to make that call via an IRS Form 2553, but the reality is the process of balancing your company between an LLC and an S corporation is easy to do and offers some intriguing tax and operational benefits:
By structuring your company as an LLC and then electing to be designated as an S corporation, business owners earn two primary benefits:
While the tax form process of applying is easy (using Form 2553), The IRS has strict rules that companies need to abide by to file as an S corporation. These S-Corporation rules for reasonable compensation is required in order to received the great tax benefits of an s-corporation.
By and large, an S corporation will only be approved under these conditions:
Pros and Cons of Filing as an S Corporation
Although there are plenty of benefits of filing an LLC as an S Corporations, it isn't the best option for everyone.
Pros of Filing as an S Corp
There are some decided benefits from electing to become an S corporation. Most benefits focus on operational and tax issues - here's a quick look:
These are some decided disadvantages of being an S corporation:
That said, financial issues are likely the determining factor in choosing between an S corporation and an LLC. For instance, if you want to earn a salary instead of declaring self-employment income, you want pass-through taxation, and you want to make it easier for your company to obtain investment capital, an S corporation can be a good idea.
But if you want more flexibility in operating your company and don't want the red tape associated with running a corporation, an LLC may be the way to go.
Either way, it's advisable to consult with a tax specialist (Mike McVay, Tax Accountant @ 850-725-5696) and talk to business owners who have experience in both S corporation and LLC scenarios before committing to one business structure over the other.
McVay Business Services
5336 N Blue Angel Pkwy
Pensacola, FL 32526
Mike McVay, Tax Accountant Blog
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor & Licensed Tax Accountant Pensacola, FL
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