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Publication 3402

LLCs Classified as Disregarded Entities(p2)


Income tax.(p2)

If an LLC has only one member and is classified as an entity disregarded as separate from its owner, its income, deductions, gains, losses, and credits are reported on the owner's income tax return. For example, if the owner of the LLC is an individual, the LLC's income and expenses would be reported on the following schedules filed with the owner's Form 1040:
Note.The LLC should not file an income tax return.

Employment tax and certain excise taxes.(p3)

A single-member LLC disregarded for income tax purposes is considered a corporation for employment tax and collection of income tax and certain excise tax purposes and must use its own name and identification number for those purposes.
See the employment and excise tax returns and instructions, including the following, for more information.
For the purposes of determining certain exceptions from employment tax because of the familial relationship or religious affiliation of the employer and employee, the owner of the LLC is considered the employer. Additionally, the owner of the entity is subject to the withholding requirements imposed by section 3406 (backup withholding).

Self-employment tax.(p3)

An individual owner of a single-member LLC classified as a disregarded entity isn't an employee of the LLC. Instead, the owner is subject to tax on the net earnings from self-employment of the LLC which is treated in the same manner as a sole proprietorship. Similarly, a partner in a partnership that is the owner of a single-member LLC classified as a disregarded entity is not an employee of the LLC. Instead, the partner is subject to the same self-employment tax rules as a partner of a partnership that does not own a disregarded entity.

Example 3.(p3)

LLC is a disregarded entity owned by Irene. LLC has three employees (Kent, Patricia, and Tex) and pays wages. LLC is treated as an entity separate from its owner for purposes of employment taxes. For the wages paid to Kent, Patricia, and Tex, LLC is liable for income tax withholding, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes. In addition, LLC must file under its name and EIN the applicable employment tax returns; make timely employment tax deposits; and file with the Social Security Administration and furnish to LLC's employees (Kent, Patricia, and Tex) Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Irene is self-employed for purposes of the self-employment tax. Thus, Irene is subject to self-employment tax on her net earnings from self-employment with respect to LLC's activities. Irene isn't an employee of LLC for purposes of employment taxes. Because LLC is treated as a sole proprietorship of Irene for income tax purposes, Irene must report the income and expenses from LLC on her Schedule C. Irene will figure the tax due on her net earnings from self-employment on Schedule SE. Irene can also deduct one-half of her self-employment tax on line 27 of her Form 1040.

Taxpayer identification number.(p3)

For all income tax purposes, a single-member LLC classified as a disregarded entity must use the owner's social security number (SSN) or EIN. This includes all information returns and reporting related to income tax. For example, if a disregarded entity LLC that is owned by an individual is required to provide a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, the LLC must provide the owner's SSN or EIN, not the LLC's EIN.
However, most new single-member LLCs classified as a disregarded entity will need to obtain an EIN for the LLC. An LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed above (see Employment tax and certain excise taxes earlier). See Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, for information on applying for an EIN.

Change in default classification.(p3)

If a single-member LLC classified as a disregarded entity for income tax purposes acquires an additional member, it becomes a partnership under Regulations section 301.7701-3(f)(2). However, if the LLC has made an election to be classified as a corporation (discussed later) and that elective classification is in effect at the time of the change in membership, the default classification as a partnership will not apply.
Other tax consequences of a change in membership, such as recognition of gain or loss, are determined by the transactions through which an interest in the LLC is acquired or disposed of. If a disregarded entity that becomes a partnership as a result of an increase in the number of members makes an election to be classified as a corporation, the applicable deemed transactions discussed in Subsequent Elections, later, apply.

Example 4.(p3)

Bart, who isn't related to Alain, buys 50% of Alain's interest in an LLC that is a disregarded entity for $5,000. Alain doesn't contribute any portion of the $5,000 to the LLC. Alain and Bart continue to operate the business of the LLC as co-owners of the LLC. The LLC is converted to a partnership when the new member, Bart, buys an interest in the disregarded entity from the owner, Alain. Bart's buying a 50% interest in Alain's ownership interest in the LLC is treated as Bart's buying a 50% interest in each of the LLC's assets, which are treated as owned directly by Alain for federal income tax purposes. Immediately thereafter, Alain and Bart are treated as contributing their respective interests in those assets to a partnership in exchange for ownership interests in the partnership. Alain recognizes gain or loss from the deemed sale to Bart of the 50% interest in the assets. Neither Alain nor Bart recognizes any gain or loss as a result of the deemed contribution of the assets to the partnership.

Example 5.(p3)

Charles, who isn't related to Danielle, contributes $10,000 to an LLC owned by Danielle for a 50% ownership interest in the LLC. The LLC uses all of the contributed cash in its business. Charles and Danielle continue to operate the business of the LLC as co-owners of the LLC. The LLC is converted from a disregarded entity to a partnership when Charles contributes cash to the LLC. Charles' contribution is treated as a contribution to a partnership in exchange for an ownership interest in the partnership. Danielle is treated as contributing all of the assets of the LLC to the partnership in exchange for a partnership interest. Neither Charles nor Danielle recognizes gain or loss as a result of the conversion of the disregarded entity to a partnership.
For more details on the preceding two examples, see Revenue Ruling 99-5, 1999-6 I.R.B. 8. You can find Revenue Ruling 99-5 at