Although these two entities are very similar, there has always been a debate between an S corporation vs C corporation. The S corporation vs C corporation debate has been ongoing for a while. The following are some major differences that exist which may help an entity choose the proper class of corporation.
In a C corporation, the entity is forced to pay Federal Income Taxes at the entity level and again at the individual level when it distributes dividends to its shareholders. This double taxation is a huge disadvantage to the C corporation. It acts as a flow through entity much like a partnership. Each individual is only taxed on their earnings from the s corp at the individual level on schedule E of the IRS form 1040.
An S corporation can only have 100 shareholders total. This is good if it is a smaller company. However, for larger companies, this is simply not possible because of the amount of cash flow needed to finance a larger corporation. Consider all family members within the S corporation as only one shareholder. This means that there is a way in which there could be more than 100 shareholders. It also means that S corporation holders can increase their interest in the business without losing the status of an S corp.
C corps can issue several different forms of stock to obtain financing for its operations. In comparison, an S corporation can only have one class of stock. The C corporation’s advantage is that it has the ability to issue preferred shares or other classes depending on its needs.
You can form S corps only after you set a company as a C corp or a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This is a disadvantage for entities that would like the S corporation status (i.e. partnerships because of the similarities between the two).
Note: This is by no means all of the S corporation and C corporation differences. However, our list includes some of the main ones that influence a company to go one way or another.
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