The IRS intends to issue proposed regulations to clarify that state and local income taxes imposed on and paid by a partnership or an S corporation are deductible by the partnership or S corporation in computing non-separately stated taxable income for the year of the payment. The proposed regulations are intended to provide certainty to individual partners and S corporation shareholders in calculating their state and local tax (SALT) deduction limitations.
The proposed regs described in the notice apply to specified income tax payments made on or after November 9, 2020. Taxpayers can also apply these rules to specified income tax payments made in tax years ending after December 31, 2017, and before the proposed regulations are published in the Federal Register.
For tax years beginning after 2017 and before 2026, an individual’s federal SALT deduction is generally limited to $10,000 ($5,000 for married individuals who file separate returns). The SALT deduction includes real property taxes, personal property taxes, income, war profits, and excess profits taxes, and general sales taxes.
However, legislative history indicates that this limit should not apply to taxes imposed at the entity level, such as a business tax imposed on pass-through entities, that are reflected in a partner’s or S corporation shareholder’s distributive or pro-rata share of income or loss on a Schedule K-1 or similar form. Instead, these taxes should continue to reduce the partner’s or shareholder’s distributive or pro-rata share of income.
New Entity-Level Taxes
Some state and local jurisdictions have enacted or are considering entity-level income tax on partnerships and S corporations, sometimes with a corresponding credit, deduction or exclusion for the owners. There is uncertainty as to whether the entity’s payment of such taxes must be taken into account in applying an owner’s SALT deduction limit.
The proposed regs will clarify that specified income tax payments are deductible by partnerships and S corporations in computing their non-separately stated income or loss.
Specified Income Tax Payments
A “specified income tax payment” is any amount paid by a partnership or an S corporation to satisfy the entity’s liability for income taxes imposed by and paid to a state, a state’s political subdivision, or the District of Columbia. This definition applies regardless of whether the tax results from an election by the entity, or whether an owner receives any deduction, exclusion or credit for the payment. Specified income tax payments do not include income taxes imposed by U.S. territories or their political subdivisions.
The partnership or S corporation can deduct specified income tax payments in computing taxable income for the year the payment is made. The specified income tax payments will be reflected in a partner’s or a shareholder’s distributive or pro-rata share of non-separately stated income or loss. Thus:
- a specified income tax payment is not an item of deduction that a partner or shareholder takes into account separately in determining its own federal income tax liability; and
- a specified income tax payment is not taken into account in applying the SALT deduction limitation to any individual partner or shareholder.