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What Happens If You Miss the S Corp Election Deadline as a Therapist?

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Understanding the Consequences of Missing the S Corp Election Deadline: Late Filing and Form 2553

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Imagine you're in a race, and the finish line is fast approaching. You're ahead, but without crossing it in time, all your efforts will be in vain. That's the urgency behind the S Corp election deadline. Missing it means losing out on significant tax benefits.

This article is essential for small business owners, startups, and accountants. It's packed with insights on the S Corp election, including eligibility, advantages, and significant timelines. Read on to ensure you're not leaving money on the table.

When is the deadline to elect S corporation status?

Understanding S Corporation Status

Definition and Benefits

An S Corporation (S Corp) is a special type of corporation that provides significant tax advantages by allowing income, losses, deductions, and credits to pass through to shareholders' personal tax returns. This pass-through taxation helps avoid the double taxation that C Corporations (C Corps) face, where income is taxed at both the corporate and personal levels.

Pass-Through Taxation

In an S Corporation, the business income is passed directly to shareholders, who then report it on their personal tax returns. This allows the corporation to be taxed at individual tax rates, reducing the overall tax burden. Also, S Corporations can save on self-employment taxes by splitting income between salary and dividends. This makes S Corps a popular entity type for small businesses and LLCs looking to optimize their tax treatment.

How to Elect S Corporation Status

Filing Form 2553

To elect S Corporation status, a business owner must file IRS Form 2553. This form must be signed by all shareholders and submitted to the IRS within the specific deadline.

Deadline Specifics

The election must be made by the 15th day of the third month of the corporation’s tax year, March 15 if the tax year begins on January 1. This is also known as two months and 15 days into the first tax year. For example, if a business’s tax year starts on January 1, the deadline to file Form 2553 is March 15.

Late Election Relief

If you miss this deadline, the IRS may grant late election relief if the corporation can show reasonable cause for the delay. The request for late election relief must be filed within 75 days of the intended effective date. This means if you want the S Corp status to take effect starting January 1, you must apply for late relief by March 15.

Example Scenarios

  • Scenario 1: A business incorporated on January 1 and wants to elect S Corporation status for the current tax year must file Form 2553 by March 15.
  • Scenario 2: A business that started on June 1 must file by August 15 to elect S Corporation status for that year.
  • Scenario 3: If a business misses the deadline, they can file Form 2553 late and request late election relief under Rev. Proc. 2013-30.

Further reading: 2023 IRS Form 8832: Entity Classification Election Instructions

Regular S Corp Election Deadline

Primary Deadline

To make an S Corp election and have your small business corporation taxed as an S Corporation, you must file Form 2553 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the 15th day of the third month of your tax year. For a calendar year taxpayer, the deadline is March 15. Missing this deadline means your business entity will be taxed as a C Corporation for the entire tax year.

Consequences of Missing the Deadline

If you miss the deadline, your corporation must pay taxes as a C Corporation, resulting in potential double taxation where both the corporation and the shareholders pay taxes on the income. This can affect your tax planning and compliance.

Further reading: Ultimate Guide to IRS Form 2553: Small Business Corporation Election & Corp Elections Instructions

Late Election Relief

Conditions for Late Election Relief

The IRS may grant relief for late elections if you can show reasonable cause for missing the deadline. The corporation must demonstrate that it intended to make an election on time and that it meets all other eligibility requirements, such as having no more than 100 shareholders and only one class of stock. The corporation is not a separate entity from the owners in terms of tax but must meet all other requirements to qualify.

Steps to Apply for Late Election Relief

  1. File Form 2553: Complete and file Form 2553 as soon as possible to make an election.
  2. Attach a Statement: Include a statement explaining why the filing was late. The business must provide details about the delay and ensure the explanation is in a manner consistent with IRS guidelines.
  3. Shareholder Signatures: Ensure all shareholders, including any non-resident aliens, sign the form. This is necessary for compliance and to qualify for late election relief.
  4. Submit to the IRS: Send the completed form and attached statement to the IRS. It is advisable to use a registered agent or certified mail for proof of submission and compliance.

Benefits of S Corp Election

Avoidance of Double Taxation

Comparison: S Corps avoid double taxation by passing income directly to shareholders, unlike C Corps that get taxed at both corporate and individual levels. This means when you become an S Corporation, you only pay taxes at the shareholder level.

Example: A C Corp earns $100,000 and pays 21% corporate tax ($21,000). If it distributes $79,000 as dividends, shareholders pay tax again on this amount. In an S Corp, the $100,000 passes to shareholders directly, who then pay tax only once.

Self-Employment Tax Savings

Explanation: Shareholders pay themselves a reasonable salary subject to payroll taxes. Additional profits can be taken as dividends, which are not subject to self-employment tax. This can result in significant savings on social security and Medicare taxes.

Examples: If your S Corp earns $100,000, and you pay yourself a $60,000 salary, you pay payroll taxes on $60,000 and potentially save self-employment taxes on $40,000 taken as dividends. This setup can be particularly beneficial for LLCs that elect S Corp status, allowing owners to reduce their tax burden.

Simplified Tax Filing

Overview: S Corporations file an informational tax return (Form 1120S) and provide each shareholder with a Schedule K-1. This simplifies the tax filing process compared to C Corps.

Schedule K-1: This form details each shareholder's share of the corporation's income, deductions, and credits, which they report on their personal tax returns. This makes it easier for owners to handle their individual tax obligations without the complexity of double taxation.

The Importance of Professional Help for S Corp Election Deadline

Seeking help from a bookkeeper and accountant benefits therapists navigating the S Corp election deadline. These professionals ensure timely filing of Form 2553 late filing, preventing tax disadvantages. They help business owners understand the benefits a corporation provides, such as limited liability and potential tax savings.

Experts guide you through incorporating your business and meeting all IRS requirements to qualify for S Corp status. Their assistance is invaluable in avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring your practice benefits from S Corporations' protections and efficiencies.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tax Impact: Missing the S Corporation election deadline can make your practice taxable as a partnership or LLC, increasing your tax burden.
  2. Late Filing Relief: US therapists can file Form 2553 for late S Corp election within two months and 15 days after the start of the tax year or within 60 days of incorporation.
  3. Qualification Requirements: To be eligible to elect S Corp status, your entity must meet IRS requirements, including having one shareholder and proper entity formation by December 31 of the prior tax year.
  4. Legal and Financial Risks: Missing the deadline may affect personal liability protection and complicate bookkeeping and accounting processes.
  5. Professional Advice: Consult a tax professional if you miss the deadline to explore your options and ensure you meet all qualification requirements.

How can Taxfyle help?

Finding an accountant to manage your bookkeeping and file taxes is a big decision. Luckily, you don't have to handle the search on your own.

At Taxfyle, we connect small businesses with licensed, experienced CPAs or EAs in the US. We handle the hard part of finding the right tax professional by matching you with a Pro who has the right experience to meet your unique needs and will manage your bookkeeping and file taxes for you.

Legal Disclaimer

Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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published

May 21, 2024

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Kristal Sepulveda, CPA

Kristal Sepulveda, CPA

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