Form 1120S


When it comes to filing taxes for your small business, it's important to understand the different forms available to you. One such form is Form 1120S, which is specifically designed for S corporations. In this article, we will explore what Form 1120S is, who needs to file it, and the benefits and requirements associated with it. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of how Form 1120S can help you manage your S corporation's taxes effectively.

What is Form 1120S?

Form 1120S is the U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation. An S corporation is a special type of corporation that allows for pass-through taxation, meaning the corporation's income, deductions, and credits are passed through to the shareholders, who report them on their individual tax returns. Form 1120S is used to report the S corporation's income, deductions, and credits to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Who Needs to File Form 1120S?

Not all corporations are eligible to file Form 1120S. To qualify, a corporation must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a domestic corporation
  • Have only allowable shareholders, including individuals, certain trusts, and estates
  • Have no more than 100 shareholders
  • Have only one class of stock
  • Not be an ineligible corporation, such as certain financial institutions, insurance companies, and domestic international sales corporations

If your corporation meets these requirements, you can elect to be treated as an S corporation by filing Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, with the IRS. Once the election is approved, you can file Form 1120S for your corporation's tax returns.

The Benefits of Form 1120S

There are several benefits associated with filing Form 1120S for your S corporation:

  • Pass-through taxation: One of the main advantages of an S corporation is that it allows for pass-through taxation. This means that the corporation itself is not taxed on its income. Instead, the income is passed through to the shareholders, who report it on their individual tax returns. This can result in potential tax savings for the shareholders.
  • Reduced self-employment taxes: Unlike sole proprietorships and partnerships, S corporations can provide their shareholders with the opportunity to reduce their self-employment taxes. Shareholders who are actively involved in the business can receive a reasonable salary, subject to self-employment taxes, and the remaining profits can be distributed as dividends, which are not subject to self-employment taxes.
  • Flexibility in profit distribution: S corporations offer flexibility in how profits are distributed among shareholders. While the distribution must be based on the shareholders' ownership percentages, it does not have to be proportional to their capital contributions. This allows for strategic tax planning and the ability to allocate profits in a way that minimizes the overall tax liability.

Requirements and Deadlines for Form 1120S

When filing Form 1120S, it's important to be aware of the requirements and deadlines associated with it:

  • Annual filing: Form 1120S must be filed annually, reporting the corporation's income, deductions, and credits for the tax year.
  • Shareholder reporting: Each shareholder of the S corporation must also receive a Schedule K-1, which reports their share of the corporation's income, deductions, and credits. This information is then used by the shareholders to report on their individual tax returns.
  • Filing deadline: Form 1120S is due on the 15th day of the third month following the close of the corporation's tax year. For most S corporations, this means the deadline is March 15th.
  • Extension option: If you need more time to file Form 1120S, you can request an extension by filing Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns. This will give you an additional six months to file, extending the deadline to September 15th.

Case Study: XYZ Corporation

To illustrate the benefits of Form 1120S, let's consider a case study of XYZ Corporation, a small business that recently elected to be treated as an S corporation.

Before electing S corporation status, XYZ Corporation operated as a sole proprietorship. The owner, John, reported all the business income on his individual tax return and paid self-employment taxes on the entire amount. However, after consulting with a tax professional, John decided to form an S corporation and file Form 1120S.

By doing so, John was able to:

  • Reduce his self-employment taxes by paying himself a reasonable salary and distributing the remaining profits as dividends.
  • Take advantage of pass-through taxation, resulting in potential tax savings.
  • Allocate profits strategically among shareholders, minimizing the overall tax liability.

Overall, the decision to file Form 1120S allowed XYZ Corporation to optimize its tax structure and save money on taxes.


Form 1120S is an essential tax form for S corporations. By filing this form, S corporations can take advantage of pass-through taxation, reduce self-employment taxes, and allocate profits strategically among shareholders. To qualify for Form 1120S, a corporation must meet certain requirements and file an election with the IRS. It's important to understand the requirements and deadlines associated with Form 1120S to ensure compliance. By utilizing Form 1120S effectively, S corporations can optimize their tax structure and potentially save money on taxes.

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