Basics of S-Corporation Accounting (2023)

Ecorporation sreports total income and expenses at the company level and forwards a portion of themnet profitor loss to individual shareholders. Acorporation sYou must keep excellent records of each shareholder's cash or asset investments. These records are essential in determining each shareholder's ownership interest in the company.

Learn more about accounting for an S corporation.

the central theses

  • Because S corporations "pass" income and losses to shareholders, S corporations do not pay federal income tax. But they still need to register.
  • S corporations can use any accounting method, including cash, provisions, or a combination.
  • A major challenge in S corporation accounting is tracking equity.

Accounting for income and expenses

The accounting of S companies is generally the same asC-CorporationAccounting system that shows income and expenses at the company level. The nature of different types of income and expenses is also identified at the company level.

S Corps can choose the most appropriate accounting methodology for reporting a given company's income and expenses. You are not required to use accrual accounting. You can choose cash method or hybrid accounting.

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Revenues and expenses maintain their characteristics when passed on to shareholders. For example, long-term capital gains are transferred as long-term capital gains.

capital stock calculation

The biggest challenge in accounting for S corporations involves the capital accounts of each individual shareholder. The Company must maintain accurate records of each shareholder's equity investments in cash and property and of any loans made to the Company by each shareholder.

(Video) Accounting for S-Corporations: What You Need to Know

Unlike limited liability companies andlimited liability companies, shareholders of S corporations must distribute the corporation's net income in strict proportion to their equity holdings. Exactly one-third of the company's net profit or loss must be attributed to a shareholder who has contributed exactly one-third of the company's capital.

S Corporation Capital Accounts

Equity accounts come into play in two critical aspects of an S corporation's financial and tax reporting: First, equity accounts are reported on the company's balance sheets as shareholders' equity and shareholder loans. Next, each shareholder's equity account can be summarized on Form 1120-S, Appendix K-1.

Inappropriate investments can cause shareholders not to comply with risk-of-loss rules. You cannot deduct business losses. The Internal Revenue Code's risk rules are designed to prevent shareholders from paying more than their actual contributions to the company.

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A shareholder's capital account must reflect its investments and its current basis in the equity or liabilities of the S corporation. A shareholder invests in the S corporation to the extent that it has made an equity investment or loan to the S corporation.

Invest in money and real estate

Shareholders can invest in cash or real estate. A shareholder could contribute a computer, desk, reference books and software programs to the newly formed S Corporation, in addition to a cash investment. The shareholder's property value is the fair market value of the property or the shareholder's adjusted basis of the property, whichever is less.


Equity is reflected in the equity account. This account should show the dollar value of cash investments and the value of property donated to the company. A shareholder bringing $10,000 in cash, a $2,000 computer, and $400 worth of software would have an equity account with a total investment of $12,400.

The capital account is adjusted periodically to reflect additional capital investments and at the end of the year to reflect each shareholder's pro rata income and expenses.

custom foundation

The adjusted basis of a shareholder's shares is calculated as follows.

(Video) S-Corp explained in under 4 minutes

Starting with the adjusted basis at the beginning of the year, add up the portions of all specified income, including tax-exempt income, the portions of all unspecified income, and the excess oil and gas depletion deduction portions. Characteristics.

Now deduct any cash or equity distributions to the shareholder that were not included in their wages, the parts of any loss and deduction accounted for separately, including section 179 capital losses and deductions, and the parts of any losses that are not shown separately . You must also deduct non-deductible portions of expenses, such as B. the non-deductible portion of meal and entertainment expenses or non-deductible fines and penalties. Finally, subtract depletion from oil and gas properties that do not exceed the property base.

Earnings represent year-end adjusted stock base of S Corporation.

loan base

A shareholder can advance money to an S corporation as a loan. A common example is a shareholder who pays the company's expenses with his personal credit card and submits an expense report to the company for reimbursement.

Loans can be short-term, repayable in one year or less, or long-term loans, repayable in more than one year.

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Shareholders who make loans to your S corporation can get a current year tax deduction for losses that exceed their share base, but only to the extent they have a borrowing base.

Start with the initial loan amount for the company to calculate the Borrowing Base and Adjusted Borrowing Base. Add any additional amounts borrowed from the business and any deferred interest that will be capitalized or added to the loan instead of being repaid.

Now subtract the principal amount of the loan paid, the principal amount of the loan that was forgiven by the shareholder, and the principal amount of the loan that was converted into shares. You must also deduct the portion of the net loss that exceeds a shareholder's adjusted share base. The result is S Corporation's year-end adjusted debt base.

(Video) ✅ S Corporation Taxes Explained in 4 Minutes

Negative basis and suspended losses

The adjusted base cannot be less than zero, but using this formula to calculate the adjusted base usually results in a negative number. Dealing with the "negative basis" of S Corporation stock includes reducing a shareholder's equity base, but not below zero, and reducing a shareholder's debt base, but not below zero.

A negative base surplus is treated as a non-deductible loss. This excess loss is a suspended loss and can be carried forward indefinitely into future years. The suspended loss may be deducted in any future tax year in which the shareholder has restored its loan or equity base.

The shareholder must restore its borrowing base before restoring its share base in subsequent years if it has an equity interest and has also made a loan to the company.

recovery foundation

Shareholders can restore their stock or borrowing base in a number of ways. The easiest is to make additional cash investments to restore equity or to borrow additional cash to restore credit.

The Adjusted Capital Base and Adjusted Borrowing Base are expected to be provisionally calculated shortly before the end of the year. This gives shareholders enough time to borrow or make additional investments to ensure that losses are fully tax-deductible.

rules at risk

Every shareholder has a certain amount at risk: the amount of money they stand to lose through their investments or loans to the company. A shareholder's amount at risk is calculated as its adjusted equity base plus adjusted borrowing base.

Any loss that exceeds the risk amount is a stop loss.

It is very important for an S Corporation and its shareholders to closely monitor the Adjusted Share Base and Adjusted Borrowing Base, as each shareholder's share base and borrowing base are adjusted for its proportionate share of losses, even if these losses are suspended due to an assignment. risk rules

Passive activity losses

S corp shareholders are also subject to passive activity rules. These rules govern the extent to which a shareholder can actually deduct a loss from an S corporation.

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S corp losses are deductible only to the extent that the shareholder has income from passive activities when the shareholder is not actively involved in the business.

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Passive income includes passive income from S corporations, partnerships, trusts, interest, dividends and other capital gains.

Special regulations for loss of rent

Shareholders must meet the stringent "participation" test for real estate professionals to fully deduct rental losses when S Corporation is engaged in the real estate rental business. S corporation income losses are deductible only to the extent that the shareholder has income from passive activities where a shareholder fails active participation tests for real estate professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are S companies required to use accrual accounting?

No, S companies are not required to use accrual accounting unlesshave inventory. In that case, S Corporation must use the accrual basis. However, the IRS allows an exception to this rule for small businesses with inventories.

Does an S corporation need to file a balance sheet?

If your S corporation has more than $250,000 in net income and net assets in a given fiscal year, you mustbalance sheetwhen you file your S Corp statement (“Exhibit L”).But even if your business drops below the $250,000 threshold, it's still a good idea to keep an annual balance sheet and include it in your file.


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