One of the most common mistakes made by small corporations is the failure to pay corporate officers (usually the owners) a “reasonable salary.” The tax code provides that corporate officers who provide services to a corporation must be compensated by the corporation commensurate with the fair market value of those services.
But many corporate officers do not draw a salary. Rather, they take their entire compensation in the form of a “dividend.” The difference is that the dividend is generally not subject to social security tax while the salary is. This is an issue of growing concern, but most small business owners will not see it coming.
Too many tax return preparation professionals just do not understand the nuances of determining reasonable compensation or even that the IRS will challenge the compensation package of a small business owner. I expect many business owners to be blindsided by this issue. It could cost you a fortune.