Whether you are in New Haven, Connecticut or not, what is "Reasonable Compensation" is a critical issue for S Corporation owners. We have defended both taxpayers and tax preparers on this issue before the IRS. The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors and can be complicated. This blog post will explore the concept of reasonable compensation for an S-Corp owner and provide some basic guidelines to help you better understand how to support the wage number on that 1120-S Return.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that S-Corporations pay their owners “reasonable” compensation" in order to avoid tax penalties. Reasonable compensation is defined as any amount that is considered fair and consistent with the industry standard for similar services provided by comparable businesses or individuals. Because the IRS does not have a set definition of “reasonable”, it can be difficult to determine what constitutes acceptable compensation for an S-Corp owner. IRS Auditors tend to be very aggressive in this area with those taxpayers who do not have some basis for the salary they claimed.
Determining Your "Reasonable Salary"
In order to ensure that you are being compensated fairly, it is important to research and compare salaries within your industry. A good way to start is by looking at published salary surveys and industry trends (e.g., salaries reported in job postings). You should also consider the current market rate for similar services provided by comparable businesses or individuals in your area. Additionally, look at what other business owners in similar positions are making in terms of salary and benefits. This will help you come up with a more accurate representation of what reasonable compensation looks like in your situation.
It's also important to remember that setting too high or too low of a salary can have tax consequences for both you and your business, so it’s important to get it right the first time around. When calculating your pay rate, consider factors such as hours worked per week, years of experience, location, qualifications, skill level, etc., all of which should be taken into account when determining what constitutes reasonable pay for an S-Corp owner.
We use RC Reports to generate fantastic reports, and to date none have been successfully challenged by the IRS.
All in all, determining reasonable compensation for an S-Corp owner can be tricky but there are simple steps you can take to make sure you are getting paid appropriately:
- Start by researching salaries within your industry and comparing them against the current market rate for similar services provided by comparable businesses or individuals in your area.
Consider factors such as hours worked per week, years of experience, location, qualifications, skill level etc., when calculating your pay rate so that you don't end up paying too much or too little in taxes come tax season.
Doing so will ensure that both you and your business remain compliant with IRS regulations while still ensuring that you receive fair compensation for all the hard work you put into running a successful business!
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