LLC Taxed as an S-Corp - What Does It Mean? - How to Start my LLC

LLC Taxed as an S-Corp

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Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

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LLC Taxed as an S-Corp

LLC Taxed as an S-Corp

A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular business structure among entrepreneurs, partially because it offers unique tax flexibility. Unlike the owners of a corporation or sole proprietorship, LLC owners, known as members, can choose how their LLC will be taxed.  

One of the more popular options is to have your LLC taxed as an S-Corporation or S-Corp. This guide explains the implications of doing so and details how to elect S-Corp status for your LLC.

What Is an S-Corp?

An S-Corporation is not a business entity type but a tax classification. An LLC can be taxed as an S-Corp if it meets certain IRS requirements.

With S-Corp status, income passes through the business to shareholders or owners without being taxed as corporate income, just as in an LLC. However, in a regular corporation, also known as a C-Corp, the corporation is taxed, as are the dividends shareholders receive, sometimes referred to as double taxation.

Corporations and LLCs can be classified as S-Corp if they have 100 or fewer shareholders or members. In addition, s-Corp shareholders can only be individuals or specific types of trusts, estates, or tax-exempt organizations.

S Corp

How LLCs Are Taxed

LLCs are pass-through entities, meaning income passes through the business to the member or members. The LLC itself is not taxed. If the LLC has only one member, it’s taxed as a sole proprietorship. If the LLC has more than one member, it’s taxed as a partnership.

But LLCs are unique because they can elect to be taxed as a corporation if the members decide it makes financial sense. This is done by filing an election form with the IRS. You can choose to be taxed as a C-Corp or an S-Corp.

C-Corp status means income is taxed at the current rate for corporations (21% as of late 2022), which is lower than the usual individual taxpayer rate. But keep in mind that C-Corp shareholders – who are members in the case of an LLC – must also pay taxes on their distributions. 

However, members are subject to self-employment tax in an LLC taxed by default as a sole proprietorship or partnership. Once such LLC switches to being taxed as a corporation, self-employment taxes no longer apply. 

Similarly, self-employment taxes do not apply to members with S-Corp status, which is the main advantage of electing S-Corp status. LLCs with S-Corp status are still pass-through entities. The LLC itself is still not taxed. 

With S-Corp status, members are generally paid as company employees, which means more accounting and payroll expenses. Therefore, S-Corp status is only beneficial when the self-employment tax savings exceed those additional expenses. 

How to Elect S-Corp Status

To elect S-Corp status for your LLC, you need to file Form 2553 with the IRS. You’ll designate a tax year on the form, beginning with a specific month, day, and year. 

You must complete and file the form:

  • No more than two months and 15 days after the beginning of the tax year in which the election is to take effect, or
  • Any time during the tax year before the tax year in which the election takes effect 

What Else Changes When I Elect S-Corp Status?

As detailed below, key changes occur when you elect S-Corp status. 


An LLC can have unlimited members, including U.S. citizens, non-U.S. citizens, non-U.S. residents, or another corporate entity.

S-Corps, however, cannot have more than 100 shareholders or owners, and those shareholders cannot be non-U.S. citizens or non-residents, nor can they be another corporate entity.


LLC members have complete control of the company and can structure their management in any way they choose. But when an LLC elects S-Corp status, it must appoint a board of directors, begin holding annual meetings and keep minutes of those meetings for their records.

S-Corps also must appoint corporate officers such as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

In Closing

S-Corp status often makes good financial sense, but as you can see, there are several factors to consider. Before electing S-Corp status for your LLC, it’s a good idea to check with your tax advisor and attorney to ensure the shift is in the best interests of your business.