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Personal Service Corporation

Definition

A Personal Service Corporation (PSC) is a specific type of corporation for tax purposes, typically used by individuals who provide professional services like doctors, lawyers, or architects. The IRS considers a company to be a PSC if the majority of its activities are in the service industry, and if the employee-owners significantly contribute to the company’s business. The tax compliance for a PSC can be more complicated, often being taxed at a flat rate instead of a graduated rate.

Phonetic

The phonetics of the keyword “Personal Service Corporation” would be:Pur-suh-nuhl Sur-vis Korp-uh-rey-shuhn.

Key Takeaways

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  1. A Personal Service Corporation is a corporation that is created to provide personal services to individuals or groups. These services can be centered around different areas, such as the legal, medical, engineering, creative, and consulting fields.
  2. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a Personal Service Corporation is that it’s often owned by the employees who also provide the services. This implies that more than half of the corporation’s stock is owned by these employees.
  3. Personal Service Corporations are taxed differently compared to other corporations. They are subjected to a flat rate of 35%, unlike other corporations that have a graduated tax structure. This is because their income is considered as personal income and hence, subjected to individual tax rates.

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Importance

A Personal Service Corporation (PSC) is a crucial term in business/finance as it refers to a particular type of corporation that is taxed differently under the Internal Revenue Code. Primarily, this categorization is important because it affects tax liability, with these corporations facing a flat tax rate rather than a graduated one. Moreover, understanding the concept of a PSC helps in navigating through certain regulations which demand that majority of the corporation’s activities involve services in fields like health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, or consulting. PSCs’ tax treatment and complex requirements, can significantly influence the strategic, operational, and financial decision-making of service-oriented businesses.

Explanation

Personal Service Corporations (PSCs) are incorporated entities established to provide personal services in specific fields such as law, engineering, health, and consulting, among others. The primary purpose of a PSC is to act as a vehicle through which professionals can provide their services to clients or firms, in a manner that protects them from personal liability related to lawsuits or claims. Essentially, they serve as intermediaries between professionals and their clients, with the PSC being the official provider of services rather than the individuals themselves.Economically, a Personal Service Corporation is used to manage and organize business operations, holding and managing assets on behalf of the professionals involved. It is also used for tax strategies as PSCs used to have access to lower tax rates compared to individual professionals. However, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 introduced ‘flat tax’ for PSCs which made it less advantageous in some cases. Despite this, PSCs still offer tax planning opportunities such as splitting income among owners and family members or timing income recognition.

Examples

1. Medical Practices: A group of doctors who have formed a corporation to offer their services could be considered a Personal Service Corporation (PSC). They might have a team of administrative staff, but the core revenue-generating activities – diagnosing illnesses, prescribing treatment, and performing surgeries – are performed by the doctors themselves. The corporation is treated separately for tax purposes.2. Law firms: Similar to medical practices, law firms often operate as PSCs. Attorneys offer their legal expertise as the primary service. Although they may employ paralegals, assistants, or administrative staff, the main source of income is the legal services provided by the lawyers. These firms pay taxes as a corporation and also often provide extensive benefits to their employee-shareholders.3. Consulting Firms: A business consulting firm where the corporation is owned by the consultants who are providing the expert advice and strategies to their clients is another example of a PSC. These corporations are distinctive in the fact that their income is mainly generated by the personal, professional effort of the owners/employees.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Personal Service Corporation?

A Personal Service Corporation is a corporation that is created to provide personal services to individuals or groups. Such services often include those provided by doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers or architects.

What constitutes a Personal Service Corporation?

A corporation is a Personal Service Corporation if it meets two conditions. First, the employee-owners must perform at least 20% of the personal services. Second, employee-owners, who own at least 10% of the fair market value of the outstanding stock, should provide the services.

How is a Personal Service Corporation taxed?

The Personal Service Corporation is subject to a flat federal income tax rate of 35% on taxable income, unlike other corporations where the tax rate can range from 15% to 39%.

What benefits do Personal Service Corporations offer?

Personal Service Corporations can offer numerous benefits like limited liability protection, perpetual existence, transferable ownership and access to more fringe benefits.

How can a Personal Service Corporation lose its status?

A Personal Service Corporation could lose its status if the employee-owners do not meet the 20% personal service performance and stock ownership requirements.

Can a Personal Service Corporation be a small business corporation?

No, a Personal Service Corporation cannot be considered a small business corporation.

How does a Personal Service Corporation differ from a Professional Corporation?

While both types of corporations offer similar services, their main difference lies in how they are taxed. A Professional Corporation may avoid the flat 35% tax rate by electing to be taxed as an S Corporation.

Can I set up a Personal Service Corporation for any type of business?

No, Personal Service Corporations are specially designed for specific types of businesses, mainly in the fields requiring a high degree of professional skill or talent. Remember, it’s always important to consult with a legal or tax advisor when determining whether to structure your business as a Personal Service Corporation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Closely Held Corporation: A type of business entity characterized by a small number of shareholders who hold a majority of the corporation’s stock. Typically, Closely Held Corporations are similar to Personal Service Corporations in some aspects.
  • Active Participation: This term refers to a shareholder or employee’s direct, continuous, and substantial involvement in the operations of the Personal Service Corporation.
  • Qualified Personal Service Corporation: A specific type of corporation in the U.S. tax code, often engaged in fields such as health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, or consulting. Personal Service Corporations are often categorized as such.
  • Ordinary Business Income: The income that a corporation makes from its usual business operations, often a primary consideration in tax regulations for Personal Service Corporations.
  • Employee-Owner: A shareholder who is also an employee of the Personal Service Corporation. An Employee-Owner plays a significant role in the decision-making and working of the corporation.

Sources for More Information

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