Filing as an S Corp eliminates the self-employment tax on all income that many small businesses pay, while at the same time keeping some income out of reach of things like Medicare and Social Security taxes. It offers you the opportunity to take part of your income as a W-2 salary, with the associated federal program taxes, and the rest of it as distributions that are not subject to those taxes.
As with most “great deals,” though, there are potential pitfalls. It’s important to take the process seriously and abide by the rules in order to reap the benefits while avoiding some very serious penalties.
Let’s take a look at the benefits and potential pitfalls of filing as an S Corp, and how you can pay yourself in a way that maximizes your tax benefits while minimizing your compliance risks.