Tax Form 8832: Default Rules and Definitions

Introduction to Tax Form 8832

Default Rules for Tax Form 8832

Existing entity default rule

Certain domestic and foreign entities that were in existence before January 1, 1997, and have an established federal tax classification generally do not need to make an election to continue that classification. If an existing entity decides to change its classification, it may do so subject to the 60-month limitation rule. See the instructions for lines 2a and 2b. See Regulations sections 301.7701-3(b)(3) and 301.7701-3(h)(2) for more details.

Domestic default rule

Unless an election is made on Form 8832, a domestic eligible entity is:

  1. A partnership if it has two or more members.
  2. Disregarded as an entity separate from its owner if it has a single owner.

A change in the number of members of an eligible entity classified as an association (defined below) does not affect the entity’s classification. However, an eligible entity classified as a partnership will become a disregarded entity when the entity’s membership is reduced to one member and a disregarded entity will be classified as a partnership when the entity has more than one member.

Foreign default rule

Unless an election is made on Form 8832, a foreign eligible entity is:

  1. A partnership if it has two or more members and at least one member does not have limited liability.
  2. An association taxable as a corporation if all members have limited liability.
  3. Disregarded as an entity separate from its owner if it has a single owner that does not have limited liability.

However, if a qualified foreign entity (as defined in section 3.02 of Rev. Proc. 2010-32) files a valid election to be classified as a partnership based on the reasonable assumption that it had two or more owners as of the effective date of the election, and the qualified entity is later determined to have a single owner, the IRS will deem the election to be an election to be classified as a disregarded entity provided:

  1. The qualified entity’s owner and purported owners file amended returns that are consistent with the treatment of the entity as a disregarded entity;
  2. The amended returns are filed before the close of the period of limitations on assessments under section 6501(a) for the relevant tax year; and
  3. The corrected Form 8832 is filed and attached to the amended tax return. Corrected Form 8832 must include across the top the statement “FILED PURSUANT TO REVENUE PROCEDURE 2010-32;”

Also, if the qualified foreign entity (as defined in section 3.02 of Rev. Proc. 2010-32) files a valid election to be classified as a disregarded entity based on the reasonable assumption that it had a single owner as of the effective date of the election, and the qualified entity is later determined to have two or more owners, the IRS will deem the election to be an election to be classified as a partnership provided:

  1. The qualified entity files information returns and the actual owners file original or amended returns consistent with the treatment of the entity as a partnership;
  2. The amended returns are filed before the close of the period of limitations on assessments under section 6501(a) for the relevant tax year; and
  3. The corrected Form 8832 is filed and attached to the amended tax returns. Corrected Form 8832 must include across the top the statement “FILED PURSUANT TO REVENUE PROCEDURE 2010-32”; see Rev. Proc. 2010-32, 2010-36 I.R.B. 320 for details.

Tax Form 8832 Definitions

Association

For purposes of this form, an association is an eligible entity taxable as a corporation by election or, for foreign eligible entities, under the default rules (see Regulations section 301.7701-3).

Business entity

A business entity is any entity recognized for federal tax purposes that is not properly classified as a trust under Regulations section 301.7701-4 or otherwise subject to special treatment under the Code regarding the entity’s classification. See Regulations section 301.7701-2(a).

Corporation

For federal tax purposes, a corporation is any of the following:

  1. A business entity organized under a federal or state statute, or under a statute of a federally recognized Indian tribe, if the statute describes or refers to the entity as incorporated or as a corporation, body corporate, or body politic.
  2. An association (as determined under Regulations section 301.7701-3).
  3. A business entity organized under a state statute, if the statute describes or refers to the entity as a joint-stock company or joint- stock association.
  4. An insurance company.
  5. A state-chartered business entity conducting banking activities, if any of its deposits are insured under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, as amended, 12 U.S. C. 1811 et seq., or a similar federal statute.
  6. A business entity wholly owned by a state or any political subdivision thereof, or a business entity wholly owned by a foreign government or any other entity described in Regulations section 1.892-2T.
  7. A business entity that is taxable as a corporation under a provision of the Code other than section 7701(a)(3).
  8. A foreign business entity listed on page 7. See Regulations section 301.7701-2(b)(8) for any exceptions and inclusions to items on this list and for any revisions made to this list since these instructions were printed.
  9. An entity created or organized under the laws of more than one jurisdiction (business entities with multiple charters) if the entity is treated as a corporation with respect to any one of the jurisdictions. See Regulations section 301.7701-2(b)(9) for examples.

Disregarded entity

A disregarded entity is an eligible entity that is treated as an entity not separate from its single owner for income tax purposes. A “disregarded entity” is treated as separate from its owner for:

  • Employment tax purposes, effective for wages paid on or after January 1, 2009; and
  • Excise taxes reported on Forms 720, 730, 2290, 11-C, or 8849, effective for excise taxes reported and paid after December 31, 2007.

See the employment tax and excise tax return instructions for more information.

Limited liability

A member of a foreign eligible entity has limited liability if the member has no personal liability for any debts of or claims against the entity by reason of being a member. This determination is based solely on the statute or law under which the entity is organized (and, if relevant, the entity’s organizational documents). A member has personal liability if the creditors of the entity may seek satisfaction of all or any part of the debts or claims against the entity from the member as such. A member has personal liability even if the member makes an agreement under which another person (whether or not a member of the entity) assumes that liability or agrees to indemnify that member for that liability.

Partnership

A partnership is a business entity that has at least two members and is not a corporation as defined above under Corporation.


This post is an excerpt from the IRS’s fact sheet on IRS Form 8832.

This is part of a series of posts on Tax Form 8832.