Treating Medical Insurance Premiums as Wages for an S Corporation Shareholder-Employee
Health and accident insurance premiums paid on behalf of a greater than 2-percent S corporation shareholder-employee are deductible by the S corporation and reportable as wages on the shareholder-employee’s Form W-2, subject to income tax withholding. (A 2-percent shareholder is someone who owns more than 2 percent of the outstanding stock of the corporation or stock possessing more than 2 percent of the total combined voting power of all stock of the corporation.)
However, these additional wages are not subject to Social Security, or Medicare (FICA), or Unemployment (FUTA) taxes if the payments of premiums are made to or on behalf of an employee under a plan or system that makes provision for all or a class of employees (or employees and their dependents). Therefore, the additional compensation is included in the shareholder-employee’s Box 1 (Wages) of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, but is not included in Boxes 3 and 5 of Form W-2.
A 2-percent shareholder-employee is eligible for an above-the-line deduction in arriving at Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for amounts paid during the year for medical care premiums if the medical care coverage was established by the S corporation and the shareholder met the other self-employed medical insurance deduction requirements. If, however, the shareholder or the shareholder’s spouse was eligible to participate in any subsidized health care plan, then the shareholder is not entitled to the above-the-line deduction.
Health Insurance Purchased in Name of S Corporation Shareholder
Notice 2008-1 states that if the shareholder purchased the health insurance in his own name and paid for it with his own funds, the shareholder would not be allowed an above-the-line deduction on Form 1040. On the other hand, if the corporation obtains and pays for health insurance in its name, covers the shareholder under the policy, and reports the premiums as W-2 wages to the shareholder, then the shareholder is allowed an above-the-line deduction. Similarly, if the shareholder purchased the health insurance in his own name but the S corporation either directly paid for the health insurance or reimbursed the shareholder for the health insurance and also included the premium payment in the shareholder’s W-2, the shareholder would be allowed an above-the-line deduction.
The bottom line is that for a S corporation shareholder to claim an above-the-line deduction, the health insurance premiums must ultimately be paid by the S corporation and must be reported as taxable compensation in the shareholder’s W-2.