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So You Got a K-1, What's Next?

September 18, 20232 min read

If you've recently received a K-1 form, you might be wondering about the next steps. In this guide, we'll dive deep into the intricacies of the K-1 form and provide insights on what to look out for when you receive this crucial document.

What is a K-1 Form?

A K-1 form is a statement of income and expense that represents an owner's share of the income or loss from pass-through companies, such as S corporations and partnerships. These forms are typically due by March 15th but can be extended to September 15th with an automatic six-month extension.

Key Takeaways from the K-1 Form:

1. Income and Expense: The top section of the K-1 form provides details about the company's income or loss. A positive number indicates profit, while a negative number indicates a loss.

2. Distributions and Capital Accounts: This section provides information about the money paid out to the owner. It's essential to ensure that the distribution amount matches the actual money received.

3. Additional Information: The K-1 form also includes details about tax credits, self-employment income, foreign income, Section 179 deductions, and more. This information can be crucial for tax planning and ensuring compliance.

Why is the K-1 Form Important?

Many individuals are involved in syndications or equity deals where they hold a minority ownership position. In such cases, even if you own a small percentage, you have the right to access the full tax return. This allows you to:

- Verify Distributions: Ensure that the distributions mentioned on the K-1 form match the actual money received.

- Check Capital Accounts: By accessing the full tax return, you can see where the money is going and ensure that distributions are being made fairly and transparently.

Opportunities for Revisions:

There are instances where the K-1 form might undergo revisions. For example, cost segregation studies on commercial properties can shift depreciation from being spread out over the property's lifetime to being front-loaded. This can result in significant changes in the reported loss or income for the initial year.

Final Thoughts:

When you receive a K-1 form, it's not just about glancing over the numbers. Take a closer look, understand the distributions, and always consult with a tax professional to ensure you're making informed decisions. Whether you're a minority owner in a syndication or actively involved in the business, understanding the K-1 form is crucial for your financial well-being.


About the Author: Neal is a tax expert and the face behind Tax Sherpa. With years of experience in the field, he offers valuable insights and tips on tax planning and compliance. For more tax insights, subscribe to the Tax Sherpa Stories channel.


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Neal McSpadden

Neal went from owing the IRS over $1,300,000 to Zero and in so doing discovered the world of tax planning. Since 2011 he's helped tens of thousands of clients save hundreds of millions of dollars on overpaid income taxes.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What's the difference between tax advisory and just filing my taxes?

Filing your taxes each year is a necessary task, but it is always backwards looking. Tax advisory works with you throughout the year to make sure that you are on the right track when it comes to your taxes and have strategies in place to save money now.


I've heard about tax write-offs for small businesses. What exactly can I write off, and how does it benefit my business?

Tax write-offs, also known as tax deductions, are expenses that a business incurs that can be subtracted from its revenue to reduce the amount of taxable income. Common write-offs include office supplies, mileage, rent for a business location, and advertising expenses, among many others. By writing off legitimate business expenses, you can significantly reduce your taxable income, which can lead to a lower tax bill. It's essential, however, to maintain proper records and ensure that the expenses are truly business-related.


What's the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of your income that is subject to taxation, which in turn can lower your tax liability. Common deductions include expenses like mortgage interest, student loan interest, and business expenses. A tax credit, on the other hand, is a direct reduction of your tax bill. This means if you owe $1,000 in taxes and have a $200 tax credit, your tax due would be reduced to $800. Some popular credits include the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and credits for energy-efficient home improvements.


I'm thinking of hiring an independent contractor instead of an employee. Are there different tax implications for each?

Yes, there are significant tax differences between hiring an employee and an independent contractor. When you hire an employee, you're responsible for withholding federal and possibly state income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from their paychecks. You also typically pay unemployment taxes on wages paid to employees. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are responsible for their own taxes. As a business owner, you'd provide them with a Form 1099-NEC (if you pay them $600 or more during the year) instead of a W-2, and they would be responsible for their own self-employment taxes. It's important to correctly classify your workers, as misclassifying can lead to penalties.

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