S Corp filing: what small business owners need to know

If you’ve ever wondered how to start an S Corp, look no further. Read on for three steps to creating an S Corp. This guide will provide you some important things to know to get started with an S Corp filing. S Corp tax benefits can be substantial, so it’s important for every business owner to be aware of the S Corp business structure and the advantages of becoming an S Corporation.

What is an S Corporation?

An entrepreneur filing form 2553 to become an S Corp

An S Corporation, or S Corp, is a tax election that allows a business to qualify for special pass-through taxation status. Both LLCs and corporations can complete the S Corp election process. Most US-based entities can apply for S Corp status so long as they meet S Corp shareholder requirements.  

S Corporation shareholder requirements include having no more than 100 shareholders, who all must be individual US citizens. Additionally, the S Corp can only have one class of stock and certain types of businesses such as financial institutions and insurance companies are ineligible.

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Advantages of becoming an S Corp

Why would you want your small business to become an S Corp? There are a few advantages.

The primary benefit of starting an S Corp is that business revenue becomes eligible for pass-through taxation. Another plus is that the business’ profits are not subject to self-employment taxes. The difference in self-employment taxes paid by an owner when filing taxes as an S Corp vs LLC can be substantial.

Looking for another upside? How about this: once the IRS approves a business’ S Corp filing, the business owner can begin paying themselves a reasonable salary. It’s important to note that a “reasonable salary” is defined on a case-by-case basis and should reflect the value of the work completed by the owner. Generally, a reasonable salary is about 40%-60% of company profits for a business with a single owner and no employees.

How to create an S Corp

Step One: Form an Entity

The first step in creating an S Corp is to create an entity (if you haven’t already). Creating an entity is the process of registering your business in your state – either as an LLC or a corporation. You can file the paperwork yourself or hire a third party, like Block Advisors, to assist you in creating and filing appropriate paperwork. 

Step Two: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If your business doesn’t already have an EIN or is required to get a new one, then you should file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form SS-4 to apply for an EIN. Find out more about getting an EIN. If you choose to form a new entity with Block Advisors, all of our packages include an EIN application, making it easy to check one more thing off of your list.

Step Three: Filing the S Election

To create an S Corp, your business must make an S election by mailing or faxing Form 2553 to the IRS by the S Corp filing deadline. If you have an established business entity and are just learning about S Corp tax implications, you may still be able to change your election. Read Form 2553 late filing: Making up for lost time on S Corp elections to learn more about late election relief.

It’s ok if this part of the S Corp filing process feels intimidating. Whether you are starting a new business or converting your existing business to an S Corp, Block Advisors Business Formation can take the paperwork off your hands to relieve some of the stress of S Corp filing.

Annual S Corp Tax Requirements

S Corporations must file a business tax return with the IRS each year. IRS Form 1120S must be completed and submitted by the business tax deadline each year—usually March 15th for calendar year tax filers. Following the tax return, S Corporations must provide each shareholder with a Schedule K-1 form, which allows shareholders to report income from the business on their personal tax returns. You must also complete quarterly tax filings and payroll tax filings

Many states require businesses to file state tax returns. The kind of return an S Corporation must file depends on the state the business is registered in. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s particular S Corp tax requirements and tax filing deadlines. 

Block Advisors is Here to Help

Ready to complete your S Corp filing? Block Advisors can help. Whether you’re starting from scratch or already have an entity, Block Advisors Business Formation tool can make the process easy – simply select “LLC+S Corp”. You can also call the Block Advisors Business Formation hotline at 877-472-1095 to get started.

If you’re still evaluating your options, schedule time with a Block Advisors Small Business Certified Tax Pro. A Block Advisor expert can help you learn more about how changing your business structure may impact your tax situation. Already have an S Corp? Schedule a meeting with a tax pro to confirm you’re checking off all of the S Corp tax requirements. We can help you ensure you’re getting every credit and deduction that you qualify for.

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