Frequently Asked Questions for Owners of S Corps, LLCs and Partnerships

What is a pass-through entity?

A pass-through entity is a for-profit company that does not pay taxes directly to the government. The tax liability (taxes owed) passes through to the owners. The owners are responsible for paying the company’s taxes on their personal income tax returns.


What is the difference between C corporations and pass-through entities?

A C corporation pays taxes directly to the government. A pass-through entity does not. The owners pay the income taxes on the company’s income. Each year, the owners of the pass-through receive a statement from the company giving the owner the amount of company income for which he or she is responsible. The form is IRS form K-1. The company’s income is included on the owner’s income tax returns.


What are the types of pass-through entities?

There are three broad categories: S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs) and partnerships.

S corporations can include P.C.’s (professional corporations which are typically formed by physicians, dentists, attorneys, CPAs, and architects) and P.A.’s (professional associations for physicians’ practices). Partnerships may also include limited partnerships (LPs) or limited liability partnerships (LLPs).


How can I tell if an entity is a pass-through?

It is difficult for an outsider to know whether an entity is a pass-through or is a direct taxpaying company. The owners can usually self-identify or will consult their tax advisers.

If a for-profit corporation is not an S corporation, it must be a C corporation. It must be one or the other. Either way, there is GRACE eligibility. A C corporation can redirect up to 75 percent of the company’s estimated income tax liability.


What is the maximum tax credit available?

Each owner is eligible for up to a $25,000 Georgia income tax credit of the amount they contribute to an SSO (GRACE Scholars), as long as they would have paid Georgia income tax on their share of taxable income. This means if both joint taxpayers earn income from pass-through entities, each can contribute up to the $25,000 limit for a total of $50,000.


Is the taxpayer eligible for a tax credit on each pass-through entity in which he owns an interest?

No.  The tax credit is per-taxpayer and cannot exceed $25,000. If the taxpayer owns interests in more than one pass-through, he may choose which entities he wants to include in the tax credit calculation.


How is the pass-through tax credit liability calculated?

The taxpayer estimates pass-through income (includes W-2 and K-1 income) for the tax year and multiplies the estimate by 5.5%. The product is the estimated tax liability.

Example: The company will have an estimated taxable income of $500,000. The taxpayer owns a 30% interest in the company and is therefore responsible for tax on $150,000 (30% x $500,000). The taxpayer’s pass-through tax liability is $8,250 (5.5% x $150,000). Therefore, the credit on the taxpayer’s pass-through share of the company’s tax liability caps at $8,250.


What if the taxpayer cannot use all of the tax credit in one tax year?

Any excess amounts not claimed in the current year may not be carried forward.


How can I find out more about the tax credit for pass-through entities?

GRACE can provide general information. GRACE encourages you to consult with your tax professional to determine the specifics of your personal tax situation.