“Basis” is important to an S corporation

Losses can be hard to take – so if you think your S corporation will show a loss for 2013, now’s the time to plan to make sure you’ll get the full tax benefit.

The Problem. The amount of the business loss you can deduct on your individual income tax return is limited to your basis in your S corporation stock and certain corporate debt. This is true even though the loss reported to you on Schedule K-1 is greater than your basis.

Here’s how it works. Typically, stock basis in an S corporation begins with the capital contribution you make to get the company started. (When you receive stock as a gift, an inheritance, or in place of compensation, your initial basis is calculated differently.)

At the end of each taxable year, your stock basis is adjusted to reflect the business’s operating results. Taxable income increases your basis, while losses reduce it.

Basis is also increased by capital you put into your company and reduced by amounts you withdraw, such as distributions.

After your stock basis reaches zero, you may be able to deduct additional losses, up to the extent of your debt basis. That’s the basis you have in loans you make to your company.

Once your stock and debt basis are both reduced to zero, losses incurred are suspended, which means you get no current tax benefit. However, you can generally take suspended losses in future years, when you again have basis.

The Solution. You can increase your basis – and your ability to take losses – by adding capital or making loans to your business.

Please call to discuss how basis affects your individual income tax return. We can guide you through the rules to optimize available breaks.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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