Filing Form 2553 To Become an S Corporation: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Wesley Henderson

October 17, 2023

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The decision to become an S Corporation can have significant financial and operational implications for your business and is a crucial step in optimizing your tax structure and protecting your personal assets. To help you navigate this process, we have prepared a comprehensive guide on how to file Form 2553 and make the S Corp election.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you get started with Form 2553, you need to ensure that your business qualifies for S Corporation status. Generally, your company must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a domestic entity (corporation or LLC)
  • Have only allowable shareholders, including individuals, certain trusts, and estates (most entities not allowed)
  • Have no more than 100 shareholders
  • Issue only one class of stock
  • Not be an ineligible corporation, such as certain financial institutions

For a more comprehensive look at the eligibility requirements, be sure to read the instructions on the IRS form itself. You can find the latest version of this form on the IRS website.

If you need an LLC for your business, file one here. This would be your first step.

Step 2: Identify the Right Timing

The timing of your Form 2553 submission is crucial. You can file this form at any time during the tax year preceding the tax year in which you want the election to take effect. However, it is essential to file the form within the first two months and 15 days of the tax year in which the election is to be effective.

Filing at the right time is essential for various reasons. Firstly, selecting the appropriate tax year when the S Corporation election takes effect can significantly impact your tax liability and financial strategy, affecting potential tax savings or obligations. Secondly, adhering to the IRS’s strict application deadline is vital to ensure a smooth transition.

Proper timing also influences personal and business planning decisions, such as shareholder compensation and tax strategies, and helps with compliance and administrative efficiency. Thus, the timing of your Form 2553 submission is a strategic decision that can profoundly affect your business’s tax position, financial planning, and operational efficiency.

Step 3: Complete Form 2553

Now that you have confirmed your eligibility and determined the right timing, it is time to complete Form 2553. The form itself is relatively straightforward, but accuracy is essential. Here are some key pieces of information you will need to provide:

  • Business name, address, and EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • The tax year in which you want the S Corp election to take effect
  • Shareholder information, including names, addresses, and social security numbers
  • Signatures of all shareholders

Step 4: File Your Completed Form 2553

You can file Form 2553 by mail or electronically. When choosing between these two filing methods, consider your specific circumstances and how quickly you need your S Corporation election to take effect. Electronic filing is generally more efficient, but the traditional mailing method remains a reliable option, particularly if you have time before the deadline. Regardless of the method you choose, ensure that your completed Form 2553 is accurate and complete to facilitate a smooth transition to S Corporation status upon IRS approval.

Step 5: Wait for Notification and Acceptance

Once you have submitted Form 2553, the IRS will review your application and will notify you of their decision, usually within 60 days of receipt. If approved, your S Corporation election will be in effect for the specified tax year, marking the beginning of your updated status.

Conclusion

Becoming an S Corporation is a strategic move for many businesses that offers advantages in terms of taxation and personal asset protection. However, to enjoy these benefits, it is crucial to follow the correct procedure for filing Form 2553.

We certainly recommend that you use an accountant or CPA to help you make this decision as it can have important implications for your business.

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