Like many business owners, you may have structured your business as an S corporation because of the tax benefits it offers. An S corporation provides the same limited liability as a traditional C corporation, but it generally avoids the double taxation associated with a C corporation. You and the other shareholders (if any) pay income taxes on corporate income directly.
Once you have an S election in place, it's important to make sure you avoid taking any action that would put the election in jeopardy. Your corporation's failure to meet certain tax law requirements on an ongoing basis could result in the IRS's termination of its S corporation status.
- Ownership. An S corporation generally may not have a corporate shareholder. (Exception: An S corporation may be wholly owned by another S corporation.) All shareholders generally must be individuals, estates, certain trusts, or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. However, a partnership may hold S corporation stock as a nominee for an eligible shareholder. Nonresident aliens may not be shareholders.
- Number of shareholders. An S corporation may not have more than 100 shareholders. For purposes of this limit, a husband and wife are treated as one shareholder, as are certain other related individuals.
- Stock. An S corporation may have only one class of stock. Generally, a corporation is treated as having only one class of stock if all outstanding shares of the corporation's stock confer identical rights to distribution and liquidation proceeds.