C-CORP vs. S-CORP
How to decide which structure and tax election is best for you?
Should you incorporate as a C-Corporation or an S-Corporation? To answer that question, you need a clear vision of your business goals. Operationally these entities are similar, yet they have significant differences when it comes to taxation and growth potential.
C-Corporations, or “C-Corps,” are known as “default” corporations. These entities are the default designations given to corporations when businesses first file their “Articles of Incorporation,” a series of documents unique to each state.
Advantages. Some advantages include the ability to raise capital, the ability to be publicly traded, and the ability to issue multiple types of stock. C-Corps can raise a significant amount of capital because they have fewer restrictions when it comes to shareholders. These entities may have an unlimited number of shareholders and can seek financial backing globally. For these reasons, C-Corps are generally favored by larger corporations.
Disadvantages. However, there is a significant drawback when it comes to C-Corps, and that is “double taxation.” The “double taxation” of a C-Corp refers to the taxation upon the dividends paid out to shareholders individually and on the profit of the corporation itself. This drawback is typically one of the deciding factors in choosing which type of taxation is best for your entity.
S-Corporations, or “S-Corps,” are different from C-Corporations in that you must explicitly elect to become an S-Corp. To be taxed as an S-Corp you must file Internal Revenue Service Form 2553, also known as “Election by a Small Business Corporation.”
Advantages. The biggest advantage is lack of double taxation. Unlike C-Corps, an S-Corp’s profits are not taxed, only the income dispersed to the shareholders is taxed. This is the trade-off for S-Corps, in exchange for reduced size they can keep more of their profits, which is why this model is generally favored by small businesses. However, it should be noted that some states do actually “double tax” S-Corp. Those states include the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Texas.
Disadvantages. The disadvantages include the limit of a maximum of 100 shareholders, it may only issue one kind of stock, and it cannot be owned by a C-Corp or another S-Corp.
Limited Liability Company Election
Don’t be misled by the “corp” reference, an LLC can also to be taxed as either a C-Corp or S-Corp with the same advantages and disadvantages.
The question of whether to become an S-Corp or a C-Corp can be easily determined with the right guidance. Speaking with a knowledgeable Business Law firm such as Gulati Law, along with your accountant is the best way to determine which structure is best for the needs of your corporation and to set your business up for lasting success.