Is there a checklist of things I should be aware of before jumping into this
- Talk to a tax adviser - EA, or a CPA/Attorney specializing in taxes and licensed in your State. Technically any licensed CPA or Attorney, and any EA, can provide tax advice. But most Attorneys and many CPAs do not specialize in tax, let alone specific issues pertinent to your kind of occupation. My experience, especially with attorneys, is that they don't know tax at all unless that's the area they practice. There's a reason why I'm emphasizing it, it's the next point:
- Talk to an attorney specializing in business formation. A corporation is a legal entity separate from yourself. It exists not just for tax purposes, but for any other as well. You need to manage books, you need to have shareholder meetings, you need to appoint directors and officers, you need to pay salaries. There are requirements on how to manage a corporation, and what protections and legal benefits and disadvantages it has.
I am posting a question here as most of the material I googled seem to be dishonest and trying to sell me something
Usually people who "sell" you S-Corps will also try to sell you tax "avoidance" schemes. I put it in quotes because for most parts it would be plain evasion, on the hopes that you don't get audited by the IRS. Hence a proper advice from a licensed tax professional is suggested.
There are a lot of questions about S-Corps here. We've had examples on this very forum of users who ended up realizing that they got themselves in too much of a mess, sometimes too late to easily fix it (sometimes, luckily, not too late).