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  • Writer's pictureLarry McClanahan

Q&A: How do I Pay Myself from my Single-Member LLC?

As long as you haven't elected corporate tax treatment for your single-member Limited Liability Company, you can just write yourself a check (or electronically transfer funds) from your LLC's business account.

From an accounting standpoint, the transaction to pay yourself is a credit to Cash and a debit to Member Equity.

The IRS considers a single-member Limited Liability Company a "disregarded entity." In other words, they look through the LLC and see you as the proprietor and owner.

It would actually be incorrect to run your compensation through payroll as a single-member LLC (without corporate tax election), though you would put any employees on payroll.

If you have net profit from your single-member LLC, that will flow through to you as taxable income. That keeps paying yourself simple because you just draw equity as needed. No payroll administration, tax withholding, etc.

A simplified example to illustrate: if your single-member LLC generates 2019 net income of $125,000, but you only draw out $85,000 during the year, you'll report the full $125,000 on your 2019 tax return. But that means you'll still have $40,000 of already-taxed Member Equity you can draw out in the future.

A multi-member LLC is automatically treated as a partnership, unless the members elect corporate taxation. In a partnership, the partners will be taxed on their share of the LLC's net profits (if any). Periodic draws against profits or guaranteed payments could be set up but, as with single-member above, you wouldn't run that through payroll administration for the partners. (You do use payroll for any employees.)

If a multi-member LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, then members typically would be treated as employees of the corporation, establish salaries, and run their salary through payroll administration.

For more information, here's the IRS: LLC Filing as a Corporation or Partnership.

If you need entity-related tax guidance and would like to discuss these matters, connect with me here and let's talk.

The McClanahan Tax Blog is for informational purposes only. See Disclosures page.

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