In this publication, the IRS lists a number of fringe benefits that you can provide employees and details when/why they would be considered taxable vs. non-taxable. However, at the start of the document (and in virtually every subsection) it notes that these rules do not apply for partners or 2%+ shareholders.
So what are the taxation implications of adding fringe benefits for shareholders in a startup established as an S Corp? While it is certainly not always the case, for my company (and the purposes of this question), there are no silent partners. All shareholders are working full-time at the company. Also, if it makes a big difference, all employees are shareholders.
I'm thinking things like:
Everything applies in the publication unless you are a 2% or greater owner in a S-corporation or highly compensated employee. The rules are designed for employees, not employee-owners, such as large shareholders in a S Corporation or Officers.
As for 2%> shareholders, the publication itself says: "Treat a 2% shareholder as you would a partner in a partnership for fringe benefit purposes, but do not treat the benefit as a reduction in distributions to the 2% shareholder."
You will find what you are looking for in IRS documentation concerning treatment of fringe benefits for partners in a partnership.
Some further info:
http://www.fusiontaxes.com/atlanta-tax-planning-30306/tax-consequences-of-fringe-benefits/ http://realestate.cpa.pro/partner_fringe_benefits.htm UPDATE:
The publication 15-B you cited above should contain all the information in summarized format. If you search for "S Corporation" and for "partnership" you should find all the relevant exemptions/applications. Is there a specific fringe benefit you are concerned about that's not covered in the publication?
We have an accountant who handles this for us by my understanding is:
In an S Corp you are treated more like an employee then in something like an LLC. In general the things you mentioned would be expenses to the company, lowering the companies overall taxable income but I recommend setting up a relationship with an accountant.
I'm not sure if there is a way to accomplish what you are trying to do, but two other considerations come to mind first.
You don't say if there are any employees. The IRS may want to know who's active in the business, or if this is just a scheme to avoid employment taxes for shareholders who are actively working in the business. And I think there is a question on the tax forms to indicate if a shareholder is Active in the business.
Next, be aware that ALL profits are distributed to shareholders every year - whether or not there is cash to distribute. That can mean that shareholders must pay their own income tax on money they never received. (They will get that money eventually - hopefully).
My guess would be that these are called "Employee benefits" because they are for employees. They may be fully taxable to shareholders. But there may be a way to work around this, perhaps with a minimal payment to the shareholder.