How to Reduce Taxes Using an LLC

by Joseph Nicholson
An LLC taxed as an S corp provides liability protection and freedom from self-employment taxes.

An LLC taxed as an S corp provides liability protection and freedom from self-employment taxes.

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If you receive a 1099 for nonemployee compensation, or operate a sole proprietorship or partnership, you are probably paying too much in taxes. You may be able to minimize self-employment tax liability by utilizing the flexibility of an LLC's tax treatment. If you are not already organized as a business entity, doing so will allow you to write off certain expenses related to the business.

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Step 1

Elect to be taxed as an S corporation by filing Form 2553 with the IRS. Your company will remain an LLC and provide personal liability protection, but you will no longer be taxed under the default rules for LLCs. For federal tax purposes, LLC members will now be considered shareholders rather than partners, and will not be liable for self-employment tax on profit distributions.

Step 2

Pay any managers a minimally reasonable salary. The person or persons who manage the day-to-day operations of the business should be paid a salary that is commercially reasonable, which will be treated as ordinary income. If the managers are also members, they will be subject to self-employment tax on this income.

Step 3

Complete Form 1120S. Though this form does not need to be filed, it will help you calculate the profits of the company. The manager's pay, as well as other legitimate business expenses, can be deducted before taxes. The remainder can be distributed as profit and reported on Schedule E of the individual owner's tax return.