Small Business Tax Questions: What Tax Deductions Are Available For S Corporations?

Perhaps you own an S corporation and are wondering what tax deductions are available for your business? You came to the right place – read on to find out.

First, the good news: virtually all tax deductions that other business entities take are also available to S corporations. And if you are looking for a good list of deductible business expenses, a good place to start would be the S corporation federal income tax return, Form 1120S. On page one, lines 7 through 18, you’ll see items such as officer compensation, employee wages and salaries, repairs, maintenance, bad debts, rents, taxes, licenses, interest, depreciation, depletion, advertising, pension plans, and employee benefits.

Then you come to line 19, which should be music to your tax-deducting ears: other deductions (attach statement). This is where you can deduct any number of ordinary and necessary business expenses that are common in your particular industry that do not happen to be listed on lines 7 through 18. No doubt you can think of several right off the top of your head, such as telephone, utilities, travel, meals, entertainment, internet access, website hosting, and score of others.

The point here is that all the typical expenses of running a business are deductible by your S corporation, and the fact that you are an S corporation does not prevent you from writing off the virtually all common operational expenses.

Now for a little bad news: there is one type of expense that does require special treatment for S corporations – certain fringe benefits for shareholders who own more than 2% of the company stock at any time during the year. These fringe benefits include items such as health insurance premiums (including dental, vision, hospital and accident), long-term care premiums, disability premiums and group-term life insurance premiums. For such benefits to be deductible by the corporation, they must be included in the shareholder’s W-2 taxable income. Generally speaking, since the corporation’s deduction is offset by the inclusion in shareholder income, the tax benefit is eliminated.

And for some more good news: there are also several non-taxable fringe benefits. This list includes retirement plan contributions, educational assistance, dependent care assistance, retirement planning services, employee discounts, de minimis fringe benefits and on-premises athletic facilities. This means these are not included in the W-2 income of the more-than-2% shareholder. The business takes the deduction and the employee received the benefit as tax-free income. It doesn’t get any better than that.

The bottom line on S corporation deductions is this: there are very few typical expenses that are not deductible by your business.

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