What is a reasonable salary?

In Taxes by Landmark Financial Advisors, LLCLeave a Comment

The IRS and tax courts have been increasing the number of S corporations they go after over low partner salaries.  Many owners of S companies purposely take below norm salaries so the bulk of the profits are passed through to their personal returns free of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

In a recent case, an accounting firm owner took a $24,000 salary from the S corp in a year when the owner’s share of the partnership’s profits was $203,000.  An Appeals Court agreed with the IRS that the pay was unreasonably low, and that his services were worth $91,000. As such, $67,000 of the profits were reclassified as salary and subject to payroll taxes.  They were required to pay a tax deficiency judgment which included unpaid employment taxes, penalties, and interest in the amount of $23,431.23.

We encourage you to be careful about pushing the tax envelope, as we anticipate the IRS to step up their enforcement efforts in the years to come.

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