Mastering IDR Plans for S-Corp Owners and 1099 Contractors

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  • Mastering IDR Plans for S-Corp Owners and 1099 Contractors
Author: Joseph Reinke, CFA

My name is Joseph Reinke and as the founder of FitBUX, I have had the privilege of helping thousands of new grads in managing $2.6 billion in assets and debt. My expertise lies in understanding the complex dynamics of Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans with S-Corps and 1099s. Today, we’ll go over all that you need to know while being on an IDR plan while being self-employed, owning an S-Corp, or if you are an independent contractor.

Understanding an IDR Plan

An Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan is a type of student loan repayment option that adjusts your monthly payment amount based on your income and family size. This can be incredibly beneficial for self-employed individuals, such as those running S-Corps, functioning as sole proprietors, or 1099 employees. There are many specific types of IDR plans such as Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Saving on A Valuable Education (SAVE), Income Based Repayment (IBR), and Income Contingent Repayment (ICR).

If you need help determining which of these specific IDR plans to choose, please contact FitBUX or go to this article HERE and one of our financial experts will gladly help you navigate these plans as they are similar but very different at the same time.

S-Corp Owners and IDR Plans

An S-Corporation (S-Corp) is a special type of corporation that draws its designation from Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. The crucial advantage of an S-Corp lies in its pass-through tax structure, which allows profits and losses to flow through the shareholder’s personal income tax return, thus avoiding double taxation.

With regards to IDR plans, being an S-Corp owner can significantly influence the calculations. The IDR plan calculations are based on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which generally includes the salary you pay yourself from the S-Corp. Any remaining profits from the S-Corp, referred to as distributions, may not be included in your AGI. This structure can result in a lower AGI and therefore lower monthly IDR payments. However, it’s important to consult with an Accountant to understand the full implications and strategies, as the IRS rules governing S-Corps are strict.

Case Study: A FitBUX Member with an S-Corp Leveraging an IDR Plan

Let’s use one of our FitBUX members, John, who owns a thriving Physical Therapy S-Corp. John had a significant student loan balance and was exploring repayment options when he found FitBUX.

John’s annual income from his S-Corp was $150,000. However, he had set his salary at $75,000. The remaining $75,000 of the company’s profits were classified as distributions. When he chose an IDR plan for his student loan repayment, the calculated payments were based on his salary (i.e., AGI) of $75,000 rather than on the total $150,000 income from the S-corp.

By consulting with FitBUX, John was able to understand the intricacies of S-Corps and IDR plans, allowing him to take full advantage of the benefits. This strategy significantly reduced his monthly payments, making his student loan repayment more manageable and freeing up funds to grow his business.

This case is a prime example of how S-Corp owners can navigate the complex world of IDR plans with the right guidance and expertise. FitBUX not only provides this expertise but also offers personalized solutions tailored to individual financial circumstances. Remember, each case is unique, and what worked for John may not work for everyone. So, it’s always advisable to consult with a financial expert before making any significant decisions.

1099 Contractors and IDR Plans

A 1099 contractor, also referred to as an independent contractor, is a self-employed individual who offers services to clients without being their direct employee. They’re named after the 1099-MISC form they receive for tax purposes, differing from W-2 employees who receive a different form.

As a 1099 contractor, your income may vary significantly from month to month. This is where an IDR plan can be beneficial. The IDR plan bases your monthly student loan payments on your income, so when your income decreases, so do your loan payments as long as you get your payment recalculated. This flexibility can provide considerable relief during lean periods. Furthermore, unlike an S-Corp owner, a 1099 contractor’s entire income counts towards their AGI, making it crucial to plan strategically. For instance, maximizing deductions on your tax returns can help reduce your AGI, potentially lowering your IDR payments. However, it’s essential to collaborate with a financial expert to navigate these options effectively and avoid potential pitfalls. As every financial situation is unique, a personalized strategy can make all the difference in managing your IDR plan successfully.

If you need any help trying to certify your income, please contact one of our financial experts at FitBUX and we’d be happy to walk you through that process.

Tax Considerations and Implications

Whether you’re an S-Corp owner or a 1099 contractor on an IDR plan, it’s vital to understand the tax implications involved.

Tax Implications for S-Corp Owners

For S-Corp owners, remember that any salary you pay yourself must be ‘reasonable’ in the eyes of the IRS. If it’s deemed too low compared to standard industry salaries, you may be subject to an audit. Additionally, while the S-Corp structure does allow for a lower AGI, you may be subject to “phantom income” tax. This is when you’re taxed on the corporation’s income, even if the income wasn’t distributed.

Tax Implications for 1099 Contractors

1099 contractors, on the other hand, must pay self-employment taxes, as they do not have taxes automatically withheld from their pay. This means setting aside funds on your own to cover both the employer and employee portions of Medicare and Social Security taxes. Moreover, while maximizing tax deductions can lower your AGI and thus your monthly student loan payment, it’s crucial to balance this with the tax implications. Lowering your AGI too much could make qualifying for future credit or loans more challenging.

Remember, tax considerations can be complex, and everyone’s situation is unique. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional to ensure you’re making the best decisions for your specific circumstances. These are just a few aspects to consider when balancing IDR plans, S-Corp, and 1099 statuses, and tax implications. A comprehensive financial strategy will take into account many more factors.


In summary, navigating IDR plans as an S-Corp owner or a 1099 contractor involves strategic financial planning to maximize benefits. For S-Corp owners, the key is setting a reasonable salary and understanding how distributions can influence your AGI and IDR payments. On the other hand, 1099 contractors should focus on their fluctuating income and how maximizing tax deductions can affect both IDR payments and future credit qualifications.

Remember, these are just a few of the many factors to consider. The financial landscape is complex and ever-evolving, making personalized advice essential. Here at FitBUX, we’re dedicated to providing expert guidance tailored to your unique situation. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. Our team of financial experts is always ready to help you navigate your financial journey with confidence.

Joseph Reinke, CFA

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About the Author

Joseph Reinke is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder and founder of FitBUX which has helped over 14,000 young professionals on their journey to financial freedom. Joseph has been personally investing since he was 12 years old.

In addition, he has experience in student loans, mortgages, wealth management, investment banking, valuation, stock trading, and option trading. He has been on 100s of podcast and has been invited to 100s of universities to discuss financial planning with their soon to be graduates.

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