Corporations: Beware the accumulated earnings tax
Abstract: A disadvantage of C corporation structure is the possibility of double taxation. A C corporation’s income is subject to two levels of income tax: once at the corporate level and a second time at the shareholder level when income is distributed in the form of dividends. This article explains that to avoid — or at least defer — double taxation, many corporations retain earnings rather than distributing them to shareholders. It points out, however, that this strategy can backfire by triggering the accumulated earnings tax (AET).