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2023 Compensation Optimization

Overview Compensation optimization allows business owners to evaluate whether a shift in their business entity might be beneficial, by taking into account their comprehensive compensation requirements and the most efficient way to allocate that compensation among different income streams. This strategy is frequently alluded to as business owner compensation.

Do I Qualify for the Compensation Optimization? Through compensation optimization, you can assess if transitioning between business entities might result in tax advantages for both your company and your overall compensation.

2023 Compensation Optimization Details Compensation optimization entails a thorough analysis of your entire compensation needs, and evaluating if switching business entities could facilitate a more effective distribution of this compensation among diverse income categories. Specific entities have set compensation norms for owners or shareholders, shaped by the unique characteristics of the business and the current personal income needs of the taxpayer.

Schedule C: Owners typically have the liberty to withdraw funds from the business as they see fit without incurring additional tax implications, and there isn't a mandate to provide themselves a salary via payroll.

Partnership: Generally, partners can make distributions from their portion of the partnership profits without extra tax liabilities. They aren't permitted to pay themselves salaries through payroll; however, they can opt for “guaranteed payments,” which are distributions that aren’t dependent on the income of the partnership or their percentage share.

S corporations: Distributions from an S corporation aren't subjected to self-employment tax. Consequently, there's a legislative stipulation that owners who are also employees should remunerate themselves a “reasonable compensation” via payroll. This makes those salaries susceptible to payroll taxes at both the corporate and individual levels.

C corporations: Dividends aren't levied with self-employment or payroll taxes. However, they aren't deductible from the corporation's taxable income either. Conversely, salaries given to shareholders who are also employees are levied with payroll taxes, but they can be deducted when determining the corporation’s taxable income. It's imperative for C corporation owners to draw a “reasonable salary” to sidestep excessive deductions.


  • Augmented tax savings for you.

  • Enhanced tax savings for the entity.


  • Transitioning entities might be expensive.

  • If you choose to transition from an S corporation, you'll face a restriction of three years before opting for that status again.

Requirements to Implement the Compensation Optimization Generally, there are no set compensation figures associated with a Schedule C or partnership. If the partnership offers (or would if selected) guaranteed payments for services, these should be incorporated. An S corporation must compensate an owner-employee with a reasonable salary in the form of W-2 wages. Those with existing S corporations will need to provide this figure. Individuals comparing their current entity with an S corporation should specify the W-2 wages that would be given to the owner-employee in that scenario. Typically, a C corporation will remunerate an owner-employee with a salary (W-2 wages). Given that the salary shouldn't be excessive, it's probable that a C corporation will also distribute dividends to its shareholders, including those drawing a salary. Users should specify total dividends distributed as ordinary dividends and delineate which of these are qualified dividends.

Business Entities Eligible for the Compensation Optimization

  • Schedule C

  • S Corporation

  • C Corporation

  • Partnership

Conclusion: Compensation optimization is a pivotal tool for business owners navigating the intricate landscape of taxation. By understanding the nuances of different business entities and their compensation requirements, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions that not only benefit their personal income but also positively impact the financial health of their enterprises. As we transition into 2023, it's essential for businesses to stay updated on tax regulations and strategies, ensuring they maximize their savings while adhering to legal stipulations. Leveraging such strategies not only aids in short-term tax benefits but also paves the way for long-term financial stability and growth.

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