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Need help with a Form 1120-S?
What Is Form 1120-S?
Form 1120-S is an Internal Revenue Service form that S Corporations use to report the company’s financial activity for each tax year. Some of the financial activity reported on this form include:
Corporations only use this form if the company has already filed IRS Form 2553 and the IRS has approved S Corp election for the company.
S Corps are pass-through entities , so they are exempt from paying federal income taxes. Instead, shareholders report the corporation’s profits on their personal income tax return.
Even though S Corps aren’t subjected to corporate taxes, Form 1120-S is still essential because it is filed with an attached Schedule K-1 which reports what percentage of the corporation is owned by each shareholder to the IRS.
The Schedule K-1 form allows the IRS to determine what taxes each business owner must pay or be refunded on their personal tax return. Without an accurate 1120-S and Schedule K-1, the S Corporation and shareholders may not receive certain tax benefits.
Click here to read more about Form 1120-S, access a PDF copy of the form, and read instructions about filling it out.
What is Form 1120-S Used For?
Form 1120-S is the S Corp’s tax return. Even though S-Corps do not pay federal income tax, their profits, losses, deductions, and credits still need to be reported to the IRS. The IRS will use the corporate tax return documents to determine how to tax each individual shareholder.
For more information about Form 1120-S and what it is used for, read this article.
Differences Between Form 1120 and 1120-S
Form 1120-S is filed by S Corps for federal taxes, while Form 1120 is filed by C Corps for taxes. S Corps and C Corps are both classified as corporations; however, they have several differences and offer different advantages and disadvantages to business owners.
C Corporations are not pass-through entities like S Corps. C Corps must fill out and File Form 1120 with the IRS and pay federal income tax at the corporate level.
Shareholders in a C Corp are required to pay personal income tax on both their salary from the corporation and dividends received from the corporation.
This tax structure is called “double taxation” because the C Corp is taxed first at the corporate level, then shareholders are taxed again as individuals. Double taxation is often seen as the most significant disadvantage for forming a C Corp rather than an S Corp.
Despite double taxation, C Corps do offer shareholders multiple advantages:
- C Corps can have an unlimited amount of shareholders
- Shareholders do not have to be US citizens or legal residents
- C Corps can have more than one class of stock
- There is a lower minimum tax rate for C Corps
- C Corps have an easier time securing outside financing
How To Fill Out Form 1120-S
In most cases, S Corporations can electronically file their Form 1120-S with all related forms, schedules, statements, and attachments. Some of these attachments may include:
- Form 7004- Automatic extension of time to file
- Forms 940, 941, and 944- Employment tax returns
- Form 1099- Miscellaneous income
Form 1120-S is usually required to be filed by the 15 th day of the third month after the end of the tax year. Any corporation that uses the regular calendar year would need to file before March 15 th .
You will need the following information to fill out Form 1120-S accurately:
- The date of incorporation
- A list of products and services
- Business activity code
- Date of elected S Corp status
- Profit and loss statement with a balance sheet
- Accounting method
- Any independent contract payments
For the IRS to accept Form 1120-S, it must be signed and dated by either the president or another corporate officer authorized to sign tax returns.
IRS Form 1120-S can be very complicated to fill out depending on the size of the corporation and the nature of the business. It is best to consult with a tax lawyer or licensed accountant before submitting tax documents to the IRS.
Changes that Affect Form 1120-S
Due to changing legislation and different circumstances that affect businesses in the United States, it is always important to check with the IRS website every year to see if any new laws affect how you file your taxes. You may be eligible for tax credits you didn’t even know about.
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S Corporations and Taxes
Once IRS Form 2553 is filed and approved by the IRS, a corporation is classified as an S Corp. S Corporations benefit from pass-through taxation much like an LLC or partnership. They are not required to pay federal income tax at the corporate level like C Corporations. This provides a variety of tax benefits to shareholders and makes S Corps a very desirable business entity.
Shareholders in an S Corp are required to report their percentage of the company’s financial activity on their individual federal income tax return. Each shareholder will then be taxed at their individual tax rate.
The one tax benefit that attracts many companies to elect S Corp status is that S Corp shareholders are not required to pay self-employment tax. Any shareholder who also does work for the company is considered both an owner and an employee. That individual is required to collect a reasonable salary for the work performed. This allows a shareholder to divide their income between salary and dividends. When divided correctly, the shareholder could save a lot of money on taxes.
As of 2018, qualifying Shareholders in an S Corp are also eligible to deduct up to 20% of their net business income from their income taxes. This reduces their effective income tax rate by 20%.
Form 1120-S Frequently Asked Questions
What is ordinary business income on Form 1120-S?
Ordinary business income or loss is the net income or loss for the company. Form 1120-S starts with the company’s total sales and revenues and then subtracts all the business-related expenses. This final number is called the ordinary business income.
How are S Corp distributions reported?
S Corp distributions are reported on for K-1, which is filed with the company’s 1120-S. Schedule K-1 will break down what percentage of the company each shareholder owns. This allows the IRS to determine how to tax each shareholder.
Do S Corp distributions count as income?
S Corp distributions do not count as income and are exempt from taxation. Distributions can include amounts taxed in a prior year, amounts taxed in the current year, and amounts that haven’t been taxed.
What do S Corps do with extra money?
S Corp owners can take money out of the company in various ways. These include wages, distributions, loans, and reimbursement for business expenses.
Can you leave money in an S Corp?
There are no tax implications with leaving money in an S Corp account. This is because S Corps are not taxed at the corporate level. Any money left in an S Corp becomes an asset of the company.
Get Help With Form 1120-S
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Meet some of our Form 1120-S Lawyers
William L Foster has been practicing law since 2006 as an attorney associate for a large litigation firm in Denver, Colorado. His experience includes drafting business contracts, organizational filings, and settlement agreements.
Terry Brennan is an experienced corporate, intellectual property and emerging company transactions attorney who has been a partner at two national Wall Street law firms and a trusted corporate counsel. He focuses on providing practical, cost-efficient and creative legal advice to entrepreneurs, established enterprises and investors for business, corporate finance, intellectual property and technology transactions. As a partner at prominent law firms, Terry's work centered around financing, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, securities transactions, outsourcing and structuring of business entities to protect, license, finance and commercialize technology, manufacturing, digital media, intellectual property, entertainment and financial assets. As the General Counsel of IBAX Healthcare Systems, Terry was responsible for all legal and related business matters including health information systems licensing agreements, merger and acquisitions, product development and regulatory issues, contract administration, and litigation. Terry is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was an Editor of the law review. He is active in a number of economic development, entrepreneurial accelerators, veterans and civic organizations in Florida and New York.
I'm a Washington-licensed lawyer specializing in trademark practice and with an extensive trademark education and academic background. I currently work with domestic and international businesses seeking trademark protection in the U.S. by conducting trademark searches, providing legal advice, submitting USPTO applications, and preparing responses to office actions. I'm passionate about trademark law and always looking forward to helping small and medium businesses promote their value by having a registered federal trademark. If you have questions or concerns about trademark/copyright/IP licensing and require legal advice, feel free to contact me so we can have a first chat.
Mr. Pomeranz serves as the principal of Pomeranz Law PLLC, a boutique law firm representing clients across myriad industries and verticals. Before founding the firm, Mr. Pomeranz served as Senior Vice President, Legal & Compliance and General Counsel of Mortgage Connect, LP in 2017. Mr. Pomeranz also served as Counsel, Transactions for Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ: ASPS) beginning in 2013, and was based in the company’s C-Suite in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Mr. Pomeranz began his career with Mainline Information Systems, Inc. as an in-house attorney.
I have 10 years experience providing general counsel, in the form practical and timely legal advice, under strict deadlines to individuals and various business unit stakeholders, balancing commercial needs with legal concerns at large corporations and start-ups. I am skilled at reviewing, analyzing, drafting and negotiating commercial and government contracts globally for the procurement and sale of services and goods. I also help clients ensure compliance with regulations (including data privacy), laws and contractual obligations and protect, enforce and exploit intellectual property rights and support in the development of IP strategy. I am a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) licensed by the IAPP - International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Over 15 year experience drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts both as in-house counsel and in law firms, including my own law firm.
Rinky S. Parwani began her career practicing law in Beverly Hills, California handling high profile complex litigation and entertainment law matters. Later, her practice turned transactional to Lake Tahoe, California with a focus on business startups, trademarks, real estate resort development and government law. After leaving California, she also served as in-house counsel for a major lending corporation headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa as well as a Senior Vice President of Compliance for a fortune 500 mortgage operation in Dallas, Texas prior to opening Parwani Law, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. She has represented various sophisticated individual, government and corporate clients and counseled in a variety of litigation and corporate matters throughout her career. Ms. Parwani also has prior experience with state and federal consumer lending laws for unsecured credit cards, revolving credit, secured loans, retail credit, sales finance and mortgage loans. She also has served as a special magistrate and legal counsel for numerous Florida County Value Adjustment Boards. Her practice varies significantly from unique federal and state litigation cases to transactional matters. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Ms. Parwani worked in private accounting for several years prior to law school. Her background includes a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate from Iowa (currently the license is inactive) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation (currently the designation is inactive). Ms. Parwani or the firm is currently a member of the following organizations: Hillsborough County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Ms. Parwani is a frequent volunteer for Fox Channel 13 Tampa Bay Ask-A-Lawyer. She has published an article entitled "Advising Your Client in Foreclosure" in the Stetson Law Review, Volume 41, No. 3, Spring 2012 Foreclosure Symposium Edition. She is a frequent continuing legal education speaker and has also taught bankruptcy seminars for the American Bar Association and Amstar Litigation. She was commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel. In addition, she teaches Immigration Law, Bankruptcy Law and Legal Research and Writing as an adjunct faculty instructor at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus in the paralegal studies program.