USA Payroll vs Distributions

Oct 11, 2019
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United States
The first 10 years I was using S-Corp for "Side gigs". I did not take distributions or salary for like 8 years. The next 4 the income increased and I took a reasonable salary and very little distributions.
In 2019 I will probably net only $2000 because I did not do anything in the S Corp. I do not want to take a salary on $2000 as the fees are ridiculous for that little payroll.
My question is I have a lot of money from the last 14 years that I already paid taxes on. Can I take them as distributions (retained earnings) this year without a payroll in 2019?
It doesn't seem right if you earn $1,000,000 in a year and take $100,000 salary but leave the $900,000 in the account for future years that you would have to take a payroll in a year with no earnings just so you can access the $900,000.
It does make sense that you would have to take a salary in a year you are taking distributions IF you have net income to justify it.


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