S Corp on Tablet
Posted January 01, 2023
| Updated February 22, 2024

The S Corp Election Deadline is Right Around the Corner

The S Corporation election deadline for LLCs and C Corporations is March 15, 2024. So, if you’re considering changing your limited liability company or C Corporation tax treatment from its default status to an S Corp, time is of the essence!

To be considered an S Corporation for tax purposes in 2024, existing LLCs and C Corporations must file their election within two months and 15 days (within 75 days total) after the start of their 2024 tax year. For example, a company with a tax year that began on January 1, 2024, must file IRS form 2553 no later than March 15, 2024.

Entrepreneurs who start a new business in 2024 have two months and 15 days from their date of formation to file for S Corporation tax treatment for the rest of their first tax year.

Let CorpNet Help

With CorpNet your S Corporation election is fast and easy! Apply today and we’ll take care of all the paperwork for you.

What Does It Mean to Be an S Corporation?

You may have heard of the term S Corporation but might not know exactly what it means to be one. An S Corporation is not a separate type of business entity. It is a special tax election an LLC or C Corporation requests through the IRS. To become an S Corp, an LLC or corporation must file Form 2553 (Election by a Small Business Corporation). An S Corporation’s corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits flow through to its shareholders (owners).

C Corporation Taxed as an S Corporation

Without the S Corporation election, a C Corporation pays income tax on its profits at the corporate tax rate, and some of its profits undergo “double taxation.” This occurs as some of the corporation’s profits get taxed when the C Corporation earns that income and then again when the C Corp distributes those profits as dividends to its shareholders. (Note that dividends are not tax-deductible.). So, after the corporation pays tax on that income, shareholders also report and pay tax on it on their personal tax returns.

As an S Corporation, the corporation is considered a pass-through entity. The business’s profits and losses flow through to its shareholders’ personal tax returns and are taxed (according to their shares of ownership) at the applicable individual tax rates. Because the business does not pay taxes at the corporate rate, it avoids the “double taxation” that applies to corporations under their default tax treatment. Owners (shareholders) that are employees of the C Corporation only pay self-employment tax on the wages or salaries they receive from the company. Dividend income is not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Aside from the tax filing differences, the corporation’s compliance requirements for the underlying business entity type (C Corporation) remain the same. For example, the business must have a board of directors, bylaws, a registered agent, etc.

S Corporation advantages for a C Corporation:

The main reason entrepreneurs with C Corporations elect S Corporation status is to avoid double taxation.

Potential S Corporation disadvantages for a C Corporation:

  • S Corporation status does not allow for flexibility in the allocation of income. In an S Corporation, each owner/shareholder must share the income in direct proportion to their ownership. For example, suppose a business owner and their business partner each own 50 percent of the business. Each will be taxed on 50 percent of the profits, regardless of any other agreements about splitting up the profits.
  • S Corporation election places restrictions on who is eligible to own the corporation.
  • The corporation’s ability to raise capital may be limited because S Corporations may only have 100 or fewer shareholders.

LLC Taxed as an S Corporation

By default, an LLC is a pass-through tax entity. That means all an LLC’s profits flow through to its owners’ personal tax returns. LLC members pay income tax and self-employment taxes (Social Security and Medicare) on all the business’s profits.

By electing S Corporation tax treatment, only the income paid to LLC members through payroll is subject to self-employment taxes. Any profits paid as distributions to LLC owners are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

While the tax aspects are different, an LLC with S Corporation status keeps the same business compliance requirements as it would with default tax treatment. It does not become subject to the strict corporate compliance formalities of C Corporations. For example, an S Corporation election does not mean an LLC must elect a board of directors or adopt bylaws.

Note: Sole proprietorships and partnerships must form an LLC or incorporate their business before they are eligible to elect S Corporation tax treatment. Business owners must file entity formation paperwork with the state and complete other requirements to legally establish their company before electing S Corporation status.

S Corporation advantages for an LLC:

LLC members may be able to lower their personal tax burden by electing to be taxed as an S Corporation. Only income paid to the business owners through payroll is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes (a.k.a. FICA). Profit distributions are subject to income tax but not FICA.

Potential S Corporation disadvantages for an LLC:

  • The business may come under the scrutiny of the IRS if business owners try to game the system by paying themselves low wages to keep their FICA tax obligations at a bare minimum. LLC members must take care to pay themselves a reasonable salary or wages for the work they do for the business.
  • S Corporation election places restrictions on who is eligible to own the LLC.
  • S Corporation status comes with the extra work involved in managing payroll. It’s a more complex way to pay LLC members than taking owner’s draws.
  • Tax filings for the S Corporation election are more complex than filing as an LLC with default tax treatment.

Interesting in learning more about the S Corporation and what it means to your business? Watch my webinar S Corporation Election Considerations for Corporations and LLCs.

Eligibility Requirements

Corporations and LLCs that want S Corporation pass-through taxation must meet the IRS’s eligibility criteria. Several of those requirements include:

  • Must be a domestic corporation.
  • May not have more than 100 shareholders.
  • May not have shareholders that are non-resident aliens, partnerships, or corporations. All shareholders in an S Corporation must be individuals (not LLCs or partnerships) and legal residents of the United States.
  • An S Corp may have only one class of stock. Owners must share equally in terms of profits and losses based on their percentage of ownership.

Organizations that are ineligible to be treated as S Corps include certain financial institutions, insurance companies, and domestic international sales organizations.

Information Needed for Form 2553

The 2553 form, like most IRS forms, sounds scarier than it is. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your company, including:

  • Contact info
  • The year you want the S Corporation election to begin
  • Your tax year
  • Corporation Shareholder/LLC Member information
  • Reason for filing document late, if applicable
  • Information on your current corporation

Four Facts About the Deadline

  1. Your Timing Matters – Existing LLCs and C Corporations with a tax year that began on January 1 have until March 15, 2024, to file IRS Form 2553 (Election by a Small Business Corporation) to request S Corporation status for the tax year. Businesses that have a fiscal year other than the calendar year have until two months and 15 days after the start of their fiscal year to complete their S Corp election form. Entrepreneurs who launch their LLC or C Corporation in 2024 have two months and 15 days from their date of formation or incorporation to file for S Corporation tax treatment for their entire 2024 tax year.
  2. You May Have to Submit Two Separate Tax Returns if You Delay – Typically, if a business files as an S Corporation after the deadline, it will be taxed as one type of entity for part of the year and then as an S Corporation for the remainder. For example, if XYZ Architects, LLC files for the S Corporation election on June 3, 2024, the company will be taxed as an LLC from January 1 through June 2 and then as an S Corporation from June 3 through December 31. That means it must prepare two sets of tax forms.
  3. The IRS Might Cut You Some Slack – If a business has a reasonable cause for not filing Form 2553 on time, the IRS may approve the S Corporation election retroactively to the start of the LLC’s or C Corporation’s tax year. The business owner must explain on Form 2553 why the filing was submitted late.
  4. You Have Flexibility – If you want your S Corporation tax treatment to take effect starting with the 2025 tax year, you can file your Form 2553 anytime in 2024. Kudos to you for planning ahead!

Time is Ticking!

Talk with our tax advisor or accountant to determine if an S Corporation election is right for your business. If it is, now might be the ideal time to take the necessary steps to optimize your tax situation in 2024.

If you need help getting your S Corporation election filed, CorpNet is here to help you! Contact us to get started!

Let CorpNet Help

With CorpNet your S Corporation election is fast and easy! Apply today and we’ll take care of all the paperwork for you.

<a href="https://www.corpnet.com/blog/author/nellieakalp/" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of CorpNet.com, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

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