Deductible Expenses for a Newly-Formed Partnership

Are you planning on starting a partnership for business purposes? Usually, partnerships will incur various costs while forming a partnership. Some of these costs may be deductible or amortizable, others will not. This article will examine the deductibility of the most common costs in the formation of a partnership.

Partnerships often involve complex legal and tax issues, so it may be advisable to obtain legal counsel when forming a partnership. Sherayzen Law Office, Ltd. can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs.

Syndication Costs

Often, the formation of a partnership will involve various costs associated with marketing and selling partnership interests to prospective partners. These fees are termed “syndication” costs. Unfortunately for taxpayers, such costs are neither deductible nor amortizable under Internal Revenue Code Section 709. This will be the case regardless of whether the costs were incurred or actually paid.

Organizational Expenses

Unlike syndication costs, however, certain organization costs connected with forming a partnership may be deductible or amortizable. Under IRC Section 709, organizational costs include expenses that are: “(1) are incident to the creation of the partnership; (2) are chargeable to a capital account; and (3) would be amortized over the life of the partnership if they were incurred for a partnership having a fixed life.” Organizational costs may include certain legal and accounting fees associated with the formation of a partnership.

In general, a partnership may be allowed a $5,000 initial deduction for the organizational costs it incurs in its first year of business. However, if organization costs amount to more than $50,000, the $5,000 deduction will be reduced by any amount that exceeds the $50,000 threshold. Organization costs that are not deductible because of the threshold may be amortizable over a period of not less than 180 months, beginning with the month that the partnership begins operating its business. Note, special rules that are not covered in this article apply to partnerships formed before October 22, 2004.

It is important to also note that not all initial costs a partnership may incur or pay will be treated as organizational costs. Besides syndication costs (covered above), costs associated with acquiring and transferring assets to the new partnership, admitting or removing partners after the initial formation of a partnership, and various other costs may not be treated as organizational costs under these rules.

Startup Costs

Startup Costs are amounts that are paid or incurred after a business is formed, but before business operations actually start. In general, startup costs include pre-operation costs associated with employee training, advertising, promotion and market surveys, and related expenses. Costs associated with investigating the purchase of a partnership interest of a partnership may also be treated as startup costs by partners, provided certain rules are met.

A partnership may deduct $5,000 of startup costs in its initial year of operations. Startup costs that exceed $50,000 will reduce this amount, similar to operating expenses (explained above). A partnership may elect to amortize startup costs that have been reduced by the $50,000 limit over a period of 180 months, beginning with the month the partnership commences its operations. If a business is acquired, the period of amortization will begin the month after the business is purchased.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Partnership Organization and Tax Planning

If you are thinking about starting a partnership or your existing partnership is need of a sound tax plan, contact Sherayzen Law Office. Our experienced business and tax law firm will thoroughly analyze your current situation and create a customized plan to move your business toward achieving your business and tax goals.

Form 1065 Penalties

IRS Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) is an information return used to report the income, gains, losses, deductions, credits, and related items from the operation of partnerships.

Partnerships generally do not pay taxes because they are pass-through entities. Instead, profits or losses, and related items, are reported by partners (typically based upon their partnership interests) on their individual tax returns. Despite the fact that income taxes are not owed by partnerships, the form must still be filed for those required to do so, and there are various penalties that may be imposed, for various reasons, by the IRS.

This article covers the penalties that may apply for failures to comply with Form 1065 requirements. The penalties may be steep in certain circumstances, so taxpayers subject to filing Form 1065 should be aware of them.

Failure to File Penalty

A penalty will be assessed against a partnership that is required to file a partnership return if it either fails to file the return by the due date (including extensions) or if it files a return that does not report all required information, unless such failure is due to reasonable cause. If a partnership plans to demonstrate reasonable cause, it must attach an explanation to the partnership return.

The late filing penalty is $195 for each month (or part of a month) for a maximum of 12 months that the failure continues multiplied by the total number of individuals who were partners during any part of the partnership’s tax year for which the return is due.

Failure To Timely Furnish Information

A $100 penalty (for each Schedule K-1 form for which a failure occurs) may be imposed for failure to furnish a Schedule K-1 to a partner when due and for each failure to include all required information (or the inclusion of incorrect information) on a Schedule K-1. A maximum penalty of $1.5 million for all such failures during a calendar year, may be imposed.

If the requirement to report accurate information is intentionally disregarded, the penalty for each failure is increased to the greater of $250 or 10% of the aggregate amount of items required to be reported. In such cases, the $1.5 million maximum penalty does not apply.

Trust Fund Recovery Penalty

A trust fund recovery penalty for Form 1065 may be imposed on all persons who are responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over various trust fund taxes (including certain excise, income, social security, and Medicare taxes), and who acted willfully in failing to collect, withhold, and/or pay such taxes (the IRS may determine who is responsible for such requirements). Such taxes are typically reported on various forms, including Form 720 (Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return), Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return), Form 944 (Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return), and Form 945 (Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax), among others.

The trust fund recovery penalty for Form 1065 is equal to the unpaid trust fund tax.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office For Legal Help in Dealing with Form 1065 Penalties

If you are facing Form 1065 penalties or wish to find out how to properly comply with the IRS requirements to avoid such penalties, contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help with Form 1065. Our experienced partnership tax firm will guide you through the complex web of partnership tax requirements as well as provide vigorous ethical IRS representation if necessary.

Cash and Property Contributions to Partnerships and Their Affect on a Partnership Interest

A partnership is defined to mean the relationship between two or more persons to carry on a trade or business, with each person contributing money, property, labor, or skill, and each expecting to share in profits and losses.  This article will provide a broad overview of some of the tax consequences of cash and property contributions to a partnership (whether upon formation or additional contributions later), the basis of partnership interests received by partners, the basis of contributed property to the partnership, and some other helpful information.

Basis of a Partner’s Interest

The basis of a partnership interest is the cash contributed by a partner, increased by the adjusted basis of any property contributed by a partner. In general, no gain or loss will be recognized when property is contributed by a partner in exchange for an interest in a partnership; however, in certain circumstances (explained further in this article), a partner must recognize gain, and if so, this gain is included in the basis of his or her partnership interest.

Special rules apply to a partner’s contribution to the partnership in the form of assumption of a partnership’s liabilities.

Basis of Contributed Property to the Partnership (Transferred Basis)

For the partnership, the basis of contributed property (for the purpose of determining depreciation, depletion, gain, or loss for the property) will be the same as the partner’s adjusted basis for the property as of the date it was contributed, increased by any gain that must be recognized by the partner.

Contribution of Property- Top Three Exceptions to General Recognition Rules

As mentioned above, usually no gain or loss will be recognized by either a partner or partnership when property is contributed to a partnership in exchange for an interest in the partnership. This general rule applies to both situations where a partnership is being formed and already existing partnerships.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule, three of which are explained below.

1) Property Subject to a Liability

If a partner contributes property that is subject to a liability, or if a partner’s liabilities are assumed by the partnership, that partner’s basis interest will usually be reduced (but never below zero) by the amount of the liability assumed by the other partners. The partner’s basis should be reduced because the assumption of the liability is treated as a distribution of cash to that partner; the other partners’ assumption of the liability is likely to be treated as a cash contribution by them to the partnership.

In most circumstances, a partner must recognize gain when property is contributed which is subject to a liability, and the resulting decrease in the partner’s individual liability exceeds the partner’s partnership basis.

2) Partnership Would be an Investment Company if Incorporated

Gain will be recognized when property is contributed in exchange for a partnership interest if the partnership would be treated as an investment company, if it were incorporated .

A partnership will usually be treated as an investment company if over 80% of the value of its assets is held for investment, and it consists of certain readily marketable items, such as money, stocks and other equity interests, real estate investment trusts, and interests in regulated investment companies. Whether a partnership will be treated as an investment company or not, is typically determined immediately after the contribution of property.

3) Partnership Capital in Exchange for Services Rendered

In most circumstances, if a partner receives a partnership interest in exchange for services rendered, that partner must recognize compensation income.

Partnership’s Holding Period for Contributed Property

Usually, the partnership’s holding period for contributed property includes the partner’s holding period.

Partner’s Holding Period for Partnership Interest

A partner’s holding period for a partnership interest usually includes the holding period of the property contributed (if the property was a capital asset or Section 1231 asset to the contributing partner).

Treatment of Built-In Gain/Loss to the Partnership

In general, if a partner contributes (non-depreciable) property, and the partnership eventually sells or exchanges the property and recognizes gain or loss, the built-in gain or loss must be allocated to the contributing partner. (If the property is depreciable, detailed rules apply to allocation procedures).

Partner’s Basis Increases/Decreases

A partner’s basis will usually increase by any additional contributions by a partner to a partnership (including an increased share of, or assumption of, a partnership’s liabilities), a partner’s distributive share of taxable and nontaxable partnership income, and in general, a partner’s distributive share of the excess of the deductions for depletion over the basis of depletable property.

In general, a partner’s basis will decrease (but not below zero) by any money (including a decreased share of partnership liabilities, or an assumption of the partner’s individual liabilities by the partnership) and adjusted basis of property distributed by a partnership to a partner, a partner’s distributive share of partnership losses, and a partner’s distributive share of nondeductible partnership expenses that are not capital expenditures (including a partner’s share of any section 179 expenses).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office For Legal and Tax Help Regarding Partnerships

The contribution of property to partnerships and various partnership-partner taxation matters can involve complex issues, and this article only attempts to provide a very general background information that should not be relied upon in forming a partnership, contributing property to the partnership or any other specific taxation aspects. Rather, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help with this issue. Our experienced business tax firm will guide you through the complex web of rules concerning U.S. partnership formation and taxation matters and help you with your specific needs.

IRS Issues Guidance on Tax Treatment of Cell Phones

On September 14, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance designed to clarify the tax treatment of employer-provided cell phones.

The guidance relates to Section 2043 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, Pub.L.No. 111-240 (enacted last fall) that removed cell phones from the definition of listed property, a category under tax law that normally requires additional recordkeeping by taxpayers.

Generally, a fringe benefit provided by an employer to an employee is presumed to be income to the employee unless it is specifically excluded from gross income by another section of the Code. (See Income Tax Regulations § 1.61-21(a)).

Pursuant to Notice 2011-72, the employer- provided cell phones are treated as an excludible fringe benefit. The Notice further provides that when an employer provides an employee with a cell phone primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, the business and personal use of the cell phone is generally nontaxable to the employee. The IRS will not require recordkeeping of business use in order to receive this tax-free treatment.

Simultaneously with the Notice, the IRS announced in a memo to its examiners a similar administrative approach that applies with respect to arrangements common to small businesses that provide cash allowances and reimbursements for work-related use of personally-owned cell phones. Under this approach, employers that require employees, primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, to use their personal cell phones for business purposes may treat reimbursements of the employees’ expenses for reasonable cell phone coverage as nontaxable. This treatment does not apply to reimbursements of unusual or excessive expenses or to reimbursements made as a substitute for a portion of the employee’s regular wages.

Under the guidance issued today, where employers provide cell phones to their employees or where employers reimburse employees for business use of their personal cell phones, tax-free treatment is available without burdensome recordkeeping requirements. The guidance does not apply to the provision of cell phones or reimbursement for cell-phone use that is not primarily business related, as such arrangements are generally taxable.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW for Legal Help Regarding Your Business Tax Issues!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other business tax issues, contact Sherayzen Law Office. Our experienced tax firm will guide you through the complex issues of business taxation, help you deal with current business transactions, as well as create a comprehensive business tax plan that allows you to take advantage of the existing Tax Code’s provision and engage in proactive tax planning.