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so what's the difference between an s-corp and an llc well first off both of them are actually llc's when we refer to an llc here we're talking about an llc taxed as a sole proprietor we'll just call it an llc and then when we talk about an s corp we're actually referencing an llc tax as an s corporation both llc's and s corps provide business owners with a couple of things legal protection so that they're there's a corporate veil between the company's assets and your personal assets they provide some operational advantages like partnerships and the ability to collaborate with others and they both serve as pass-through entities for taxes which means the profits and losses will flow through to the business owner so let's get a little more specific here for both an llc and an s corp you're going to be figuring out your tax on your net profits now net profit is what's left over after you subtract all your deductions and write-offs from your business's gross income now in an llc your entire net profit will be subject to what's called self-employment tax remember when you were an employee at another company and your paycheck had that little fica or medicare deduction well when you have an employer and an employee relationship your employer would have paid half the social security limit and medicare tax while the employee paid the other half now that you're self-employed you'll get to pay the tax of fifteen point three percent on all net earnings up to the social security limit which changes each year but is at eighteen a hundred and eighteen thousand five hundred for two thousand fifteen after you hit the social security limit all your earnings above that you'll owe medicare taxes which is two point eight percent then after you pay yourself employment tax you'll be subject to state and federal income tax this is simplifying it a bit but essentially you'll be paying an increasingly higher or marginal tax rate on your earnings the more you earn the higher your tax rate so with an llc you'll pay 15.3 self-employment tax on all of your net profits then you'll pay state and federal income taxes on your personal tax return let's look at a quick scenario uh focusing just on the self-employment taxes for a fictitious llc taxed as a sole proprietor here if you had taken in total revenue of whatever then after your deducts deductions and expenses you had a net profit of a hundred thousand dollars your self-employment tax bill would come up to fifteen thousand three hundred so we've got a hundred thousand dollars in net profit and fifteen thousand three hundred dollars in self-employment taxes breaking that down a little bit that's a monthly bill of 1275 dollars just for your self-employment taxes now after you've done your self-employment taxes you'll still owe state and federal income taxes which if you were single and had let's say 85 000 in taxable income just your federal income tax bill would be about 17 thousand three hundred and twenty five dollars on top of your self-employment taxes that's not even factoring in your state income tax property taxes or anything else you pay that seventeen thousand in federal income tax is just for a single person paying on 85 000 in income so this puts your total tax bill excluding fees sales taxes property taxes state income taxes or other dues the total tax bill at a conservative 33 thousand dollars a year that means you're taking home 8 300 a month and writing a check to the government for 2750 a month just for self-employment taxes and federal income taxes if that doesn't get your heart racing a little bit i'm not sure what will so the question is what can we do about this conundrum well the most popular strategy employed is incorporating to an s corp with an s-corp you'll incorporate and become an employee of your corporation then you'll take two forms of income the first part of your income is that you'll pay yourself a salary and the second part of your income is what's called a distribution or a dividend so we're going to split up the income into these two parts the salary and then the distribution what you'll see in a minute is that the salary is subject to the 15.3 self-employment tax while the distribution is not so you're paying 15.3 percent on your salary but not on your distribution because the distribution income isn't subject to that fifteen point three percent tax the temptation can be to falsely shift all your income over to the distribution and not take a reasonable wage which is why the first part of your income or that salary or wage or payroll must be reasonable according to the irs there are multiple factors that dictate what kind of a salary you need to pay yourself the salary needs to be reasonable for your experience comparable salaries economic conditions and a bunch of other factors this is super important you must take a bona fide reasonable salary so now let's take a look at a fictitious s corp example now looking at the same hundred thousand dollars of net profit you'll pay yourself for this illustration a sixty thousand dollar salary then you would take out forty thousand dollars in distributions this is just an example the tax benefit is that the salary is subject to that fifteen point three percent s e tax but the distributions are not subject to the sc tax this means that forty thousand dollars in distributions aren't subject to a fifteen point three percent tax putting your total self-employment tax due down from fifteen thousand three hundred when you were an llc to nine thousand one hundred and eighty as an s corp that's a forty percent decrease rather than paying one thousand two hundred and seventy five dollars a month in se taxes as an llc you'll be paying 765 a month as an s corp that means you've essentially freed up 510 dollars in monthly cash flow in this scenario in a scenario like that 510 dollars a month can easily help you save for retirement pay off your mortgage early hire some help reinvest in your business advertise or invest in real estate sooner now if you've already become an llc and you like the idea of becoming an s corp you have to file for an s election in order to become an s corp before march 15th that's a whole month before april 15th when your taxes are due or you'll have to wait till the next year strategies that utilize an s-corp can give you tools to help mitigate your taxes but these strategies should be handled by a competent cpa or a tax professional here at nuance financial we specialize in helping small businesses from across the country implement these strategies as part of a long-term tax plan so check out the description below and go to nuancefinancial.com we'd love to connect with you and provide a free consultation you
Thanks for your comment Kathern Colao, have a nice day.
- Phyliss Mcfate, Staff Member
in this video i'm going to discuss four scenarios in which you do not want your business to be taxed as an s-corporation that's right you heard me right i said not be taxed as an s-corporation there's so many videos out there promoting the s-corporation and why it's so great and it is it can save you a lot of money in self-employment taxes but you must also know what the drawbacks are it doesn't fit every single business owner out there so i'm going to touch on the following four scenarios one is how much profit should you be earning in your business before it makes financial sense to have your business taxed as an s corporation the second one would be how large amounts of w income sorry w-2 income rather can negate the tax savings of an s-corporation so by w-2 income i mean you are employed by an employer and actually like have a job that you earn money at what happens when your state that you live in does not recognize the s corporation or perhaps they tax the s corporation and lastly why passive income such as buy and hold rental real estate should not be taxed as an s corporation so if this is your first time watching my name is navi mirage i'm a cpa who helps real estate professionals that's real estate agents and realtors and brokers across the country save thousands of dollars in taxes but um that said if you are a regular business owner and you don't deal with real estate stick around because this bus this video is going to apply to all small businesses um let me just lay that lay the foundation for you a moment uh we're talking about when the s corporation may not make financial sense right and so before watching this video some of you may want to brush up on the different differences between what a sole proprietor is an llc an s corp and a c corporation and i have another video on that topic so if you're not quite understanding what i mean by an s corp or how an llc is taxed as an s corp or a corporation a c corporation that is can be taxed as an s corporation you might want to watch those videos first and i'll link them either in the description or somewhere else depending on where you're watching this video as a refresher though from some of those videos and me diving deeper into the s corporation remember that the profit from your business is subject to two different types of tax right so the profit from your business is subject to self-employment taxes and it's subject to income taxes both both at the federal and state level okay self-employment taxes are another way of saying social security and medicare taxes okay the s corp strategy is all about saving money in self-employment taxes it doesn't have anything to do really with the federal income tax or the state income tax so whenever you hear s-corp understand that it's a strategy related to saving money in self-employment taxes and not so much federal income taxes or state income taxes recall that self-employment taxes are paid at a rate of 15.3 percent on the profit of your business so let's say you have a very profitable business that has a hundred thousand dollars in profit you're gonna pay self-employment taxes of fifteen thousand three hundred dollars if you're taxed as a sole proprietor and not taxed as an s corporation okay so now that you have that knowledge or that foundation let's talk about the reasons why you should not be taxed as an s corporation so i'm just going to hit the highlights here in this video uh my plan is to create subsequent videos that dive into these topics in greater detail so be sure to subscribe so you don't miss those videos because i think understanding the why is just as important of understanding these sort of statements that i'm making so how much profit should you be earning in your business before baking uh the s corp election and in my view sort of the general is 40 000 and i'm defining profit here as revenue minus your expenses right so some of you earn your revenue by selling products others of you earn revenue by selling services right so either way i'm defining as profit as the income that you earn the revenue that you earn minus all your tax deductible expenses so um the reason for the forty thousand dollar figure and why i think that's sort of the um generic amount of profit you should make before making the s corp election is because of the additional cost associated with an s corporation so you're going to have uh tax preparation fees because the s corporation is a separate tax return than that of an individual uh that's taxed as a sole proprietorship let me say that one more time or a little bit differently when you have an s corp you have to fill out or file a s-corporation tax return which is different than when you were perhaps an llc tax as a sole proprietor or perhaps you didn't form an llc and you're just tacked to the sole proprietor there's now two separate tax documents that need to be filed and so cpa is going to charge you money to do that for you right also when you're in s corp you're going to need to take a quote-unquote reasonable salary per the irs there's a lot of paperwork that has to deal with paying yourself and so you'll likely hire a payroll service to perform that for you and also there's the annual maintenance of an s corporation or perhaps the annual reporting of an llc that's taxed as an s corporation or the annual reporting of a c corporation that's then taxed as an s corporation all of these are fees involved in having an s corp right and so basically you know it's cost benefit analysis so you want to make sure that these fees don't outweigh your tax savings and i have found that it's usually around the 40 000 mark where it makes sense to make that s corp election but you know it's not a one-size-fits-all answer and you should consult with your cpa or perhaps myself to make sure that it's right for you the second reason why you may not want to be taxed as an s-corporation is when you have high w-2 wages so if you are an employee at a company and also have um a small business right so you you work state of nine to five and you also have a side hustle where you might sell on amazon or you sell real estate on the side if your rate if your wages already exceed what's called the wage base which in 2020 is currently 137 700 that means your income has already hit the cap for social security taxes so the s corp strategy is not going to save you any money as a matter of fact you'll actually lose money if you elect the s corporation status for that business because your s corp will pay for the employer portion of social security and medicare taxes unnecessarily because if you're taxed as a sole proprietor you wouldn't have any of those additional payroll costs associated with the s corp and i i get it that you may not understand the details of what i'm saying here the important thing to note is that if your salary is a you know 137 000 at your day job or higher and you're also have a side hustle you might not want to be an s corp okay um again the details will be discussed in another video um there's still an opportunity for the s corp to make sense when your base wages are that high but instead of
Thanks Penni your participation is very much appreciated
- Phyliss Mcfate
About the author
I've studied beekeeping (apiculture) at Bacone College in Muskogee and I am an expert in fault-tolerant computing. I usually feel pessimistic. My previous job was college/university professor I held this position for 24 years, I love talking about cricket and heliskiing. Huge fan of Hugh Laurie I practice japanese sword arts and collect pez.
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