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Instructions for Schedule C (Form 1040)

General Instructions


Other Schedules and Forms You May Have To File(p1)

Single-member limited liability company (LLC).(p1)
Generally, a single-member domestic LLC is not treated as a separate entity for federal income tax purposes. If you are the sole member of a domestic LLC, file Schedule C or C-EZ (or Schedule E or F, if applicable). However, you can elect to treat a domestic LLC as a corporation. See Form 8832 for details on the election and the tax treatment of a foreign LLC.
Single-member limited liability companies (LLCs) with employees.(p1)
Single-member LLCs that are disregarded as entities separate from their owner for federal income tax purposes are now required to file employment tax returns using the LLC's name and employer identification number (EIN) rather than the LLC owner's name and EIN. Single-member LLCs not previously needing an EIN may now need to obtain an EIN for the payment and reporting of those taxes. For more information, see the Instructions for Form SS-4.
Heavy highway vehicle use tax.(p2)
If you use certain highway trucks, truck-trailers, tractor-trailers, or buses in your trade or business, you may have to pay a federal highway motor vehicle use tax. See the Instructions for Form 2290 to find out if you must pay this tax and visit for the most recent developments.
Information returns.(p2)
You may have to file information returns for wages paid to employees, certain payments of fees and other nonemployee compensation, interest, rents, royalties, real estate transactions, annuities, and pensions. See Line I, later, and the 2012 General Instructions for Certain Information Returns for details and other payments that may require you to file a Form 1099.
If you received cash of more than $10,000 in one or more related transactions in your trade or business, you may have to file Form 8300. For details, see Pub. 1544.

Qualified Joint Venture(p2)

If you and your spouse each materially participate (see Material participation, later, in the instructions for line G) as the only members of a jointly owned and operated business and you file a joint return for the tax year, you can elect to be treated as a qualified joint venture instead of a partnership. This election, in most cases, will not increase the total tax owed on the joint return, but it does give each of you credit for social security earnings on which retirement benefits are based and for Medicare coverage. By making the election, you will not be required to file Form 1065 for any year the election is in effect and will instead report the income and deductions directly on your joint return. If you and your spouse filed a Form 1065 for the year prior to the election, the partnership terminates at the end of the tax year immediately preceding the year the election takes effect.
Note.(p2) Mere joint ownership of property that is not a trade or business does not qualify for the election.

Making the election.(p2)
To make this election, you must divide all items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit attributable to the business between you and your spouse in accordance with your respective interests in the venture. Each of you must file a separate Schedule C, C-EZ, or F. On each line of your separate Schedule C, C-EZ, or F, you must enter your share of the applicable income, deduction, or loss. Each of you must also file a separate Schedule SE to pay self-employment tax, as applicable.
Once made, the election can be revoked only with the permission of the IRS. However, the election technically remains in effect only for as long as the spouses filing as a qualified joint venture continue to meet the requirements for filing the election. If the spouses fail to meet the qualified joint venture requirements for a year, a new election will be necessary for any future year in which the spouses meet the requirements to be treated as a qualified joint venture.
The election generally does not require that you and your spouse obtain an employer identification number (EIN) since you and your spouse will file as sole proprietors. However, you may need an EIN to file other returns such as employment or excise tax returns. To apply for an EIN, see the Instructions for Form SS-4.
For more information on qualified joint ventures, go to Enter qualified joint venture in the search box and select Election for Husband and Wife Unincorporated Businesses.
Rental real estate business.(p2)
If you and your spouse make the election for your rental real estate business, you must each report your share of income and deductions on Schedule E. Rental real estate income generally is not included in net earnings from self-employment subject to self-employment tax and generally is subject to the passive loss limitation rules. Electing qualified joint venture status does not alter the application of the self-employment tax or the passive loss limitation rules.

Husband-Wife Partnership(p2)

Generally, if you and your spouse jointly own and operate an unincorporated business and share in the profits and losses, you are partners in a partnership, whether or not you have a formal partnership agreement. You generally have to file Form 1065 instead of Schedule C or C-EZ for your joint business activity; however, you may not have to file Form 1065 if either of the following applies. Otherwise, use Form 1065. See Pub. 541 for more details.
Exception—community income.(p2)
If you and your spouse wholly own an unincorporated business as community property under the community property laws of a state, foreign country, or U.S. possession, the income and deductions are reported as follows.
The only states with community property laws are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. A change in your reporting position will be treated as a conversion of the entity.

Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement(p2)

Use Form 8886 to disclose information for each reportable transaction in which you participated. Form 8886 must be filed for each tax year that your federal income tax liability is affected by your participation in the transaction. You may have to pay a penalty if you are required to file Form 8886 but do not do so. You may also have to pay interest and penalties on any reportable transaction understatements. The following are reportable transactions.
See the Instructions for Form 8886 for more details.

Capital Construction Fund(p3)

Do not claim on Schedule C or C-EZ the deduction for amounts contributed to a capital construction fund set up under chapter 535 of title 46 of the United States Code. Instead, reduce the amount you would otherwise enter on Form 1040, line 43, by the amount of the deduction. Next to line 43, enter CCF and the amount of the deduction. For details, see Pub. 595.

Additional Information(p3)

See Pub. 334 for more information for small businesses.