How Does an Owner’s Draw Affect Payroll

Business owners can work longer hours than their employees due to fear of failure or a lack in support. More than 80% of business owners work over 40 hours per week. Many business owners seek out flexible options when a traditional salary is not sufficient to meet their changing job responsibilities. Owner’s draws are also called “personal draws” and “draws”. They allow business owners to withdraw money when they need it, as well as as as much profit as they can afford.

Draws may be a better option than a salary. Is it always the best option? What are the tax implications of owner’s draws? Continue reading to find out if owner’s draw is the right fit for you business.

What’s an owner’s draw?

Owner’s draw refers to the owner of a partnership, sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC), who takes money from their business to use for personal purposes. This money is not taken as a traditional salary but used to pay personal expenses.

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An owner’s draw is a way to help you pay yourself, without having to commit to a 40-hour-per-week salary or a yearly salary. Instead, you withdraw from your owner’s equity. The owner’s equity is all the money that you have invested in your business and any profits or losses.

Owner’s draws are great for business owners who work more than 40 hours per week or have significantly different profits month to month. If you are sole proprietor of your business, drawing a prize is the only way to earn an income.

You should make sure that all co-owners are included in any draws. Hidden draws can cause distrust and reduce cash flow.

Owners can draw cash from any ATM or transfer money online. They also have the option to write checks and debit their accounts. Owners of businesses can also enjoy material goods perks. If your company has discounts with vendors, you can have your company purchase the discounted goods for your business and give them to your company. Also, the price of the goods could be considered a draw.

What kinds of businesses are available for an owner?

Some LLCs, partnerships, and sole proprietorships owners can draw an owner’s share. Draws are not available for S corporations or C corporations. Corporation owners, however, can use their salaries and dividend distributions for personal pay.

How taxes are affected by an owner’s draw

Owner’s draws are subject to a few restrictions, provided you maintain your IRS withdrawals. You can withdraw a fixed amount more than once (similar to a paycheck) or you can take out smaller amounts as needed.

Draws are exempt from payroll taxes so you’ll need to file your quarterly estimated tax return. All owner withdrawals are subjected to income taxes, self-employment taxes, and federal, state and local income taxes.

Owner’s draws should not appear on the Schedule C tax form for your business as they are not tax-deductible. You can boost your deductions by paying yourself a salary that’s deductible through IRS.

It is simple to take owner withdrawals as sole proprietor. If you have an LLC, it is possible to lose your limited liability status by managing your personal and business finances together.

Contact a trusted CPA/Attorney to help you decide which payment method works best for you.

How to draw

You need to keep your books current in order to know your equity balance as well as ownership interest value. Your equity balance represents the sum of all your financial contributions and the accumulation of losses, profits, and liabilities.

How do you track and record your draws


One way to track owner withdrawals is through a spreadsheet. You will need to have some bookkeeping experience and be able to create a custom spreadsheet. Most online spreadsheet templates don’t allow this.

To keep track of all the money coming into and going out of your business, create a balance sheet. This will allow you to determine whether the company is still profitable even after you transfer money from your business account into your personal account.

Payroll software

Many payroll software will automatically set up an equity account in the payroll process and accounting system. This default equity account is not always specific to money taken out of the company.

You should create an equity account you can only use for the owner’s draws. You can run periodic reports to track all money that is being taken from your business account into your personal account once you have set up your custom equity account through your software.

If you have multiple draws or draw in different amounts, a balance sheet is necessary. Software will track every draw automatically, making it easy to keep track of your spending.

You need payroll software that meets your company’s specific needs. For more information about how payroll software can improve your business’ finances, check out our Paychex review or our ADP review.

Alternatives to drawing

Some businesses may not have multiple options to pay their owners. If you’re unsure about the best way to pay yourself, consult a tax professional.

  1. Salary

Business owners must be classified as employees in order to receive a salary. The company decides when a salaried worker will receive a payment. This is regardless of how many hours they work.

Payroll taxes are applicable to salaries at the time of payment. Both payroll taxes and salaries can be categorized as business expenses that can be deducted from your company’s taxes. It can help reduce your company’s net income by paying yourself a salary.

  1. Guaranteed payments

In partnership arrangements, guaranteed payments are a fixed amount that mirrors a salary. These payments can be used to help you plan securely for your future, even if your business is in trouble.

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