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Requirements For Officer Compensation…. December 13, 2009

Posted by Julie Duriga, CPA in Uncategorized.
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This was a question that a blog reader asked me.  It is so useful when readers ask questions because it gives me material to write about.  So keep your questions coming.

I usually suggest that active officers run payroll on themselves at a minimum once a quarter.  Even if the business can only afford to pay the officers through payroll $500.00 per quarter, that is better than nothing.  This makes the business look more like a “going concern” (a real business that is sustainable) to the IRS than if there is an absence of payroll inside the corporation for its active officers.  The IRS starts to wonder why would the officers stay in this business if the business can’t afford to pay its own officers after a period of time. 

The only requirement that I know of is that officers must be compensated by giving them a reasonable salary for your industry.  If your S Corporation is a restaurant, then the business must compensate the officers who work inside the restaurant a reasonable salary for the restaurant industry.

What is an active officer?  This is an officer who works inside the corporation.  An officer who reviews the financials on a weekly basis or an officer who actively generates sales calls or an officer who does the dishes is considered active.  If the business has officers who show up every now and then for board meetings or who stops by occasionally to check on their investment is not considered active.

In my state of North Carolina, the power of the payroll law rests with the employer.  The employer can really do whatever they want to do with their employees as far as paying frequency.   I don’t know of any employer that pays its employees less than once a month.   Check with your state department of revenue for your state’s payroll laws.

Officers can be compensated on a different schedule than its employees.  Sometimes when there is no money, the employees get paid first and the officers just have to wait.  Of course, it is easier to run payroll all at the same time, but sometimes this is not possible.

 In conclusion, the officers can be compensated whenever the Corporation deems appropriate.  At at minimum, the compensation should occur at least once a quarter.  The IRS requires that active officers be compensated a fair and reasonable salary.  Employees and officers can be compensated on the same schedule if the funds permit this.  Be careful of paying your officers with fringe benefits.  Fringe benefits to S Corporation officers are usually considered compensation by the IRS and have to be added to the W-2 as taxable wages.

Visit us at our website to get your free E-Book titled “How Do I Pay Myself? The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business AND Bringing Home the Dough.”  www.UniversityForBusiness.com

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1. Tiffany - December 13, 2009

Thanks so much, Julie!!

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