Businessman Having Discussion With Colleagues

Numerous states have enacted a workaround to the state and local income tax deduction cap of $10,000, allowing certain pass-through entities to be taxed at the entity level for state taxes and then deducting tax payments at the federal level. The owner can benefit since the income distributed has already been reduced by the state tax expense.

Tax strategies

Could the California State Tax Workaround (AB 150) Help You?

  • Dana Houston
  • Dustin Hubbard
  • 8/23/2021

Key insights

  • AB 150 was passed on July 16, making this election available to qualified pass-through entities.
  • Qualified pass-through entities need to make the election annually on a timely filed return.
  • Each member of the qualified entity must make the election separately.
  • Estimated payments for the entity need to be made by the original due date of the 2021 return.

We can help analyze whether this election makes sense for you and your entity.

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in late 2017 put a limit on the amount of state taxes individuals could subtract as itemized deductions. Since that time, numerous states have enacted a workaround to the state and local income tax (SALT) deduction cap of $10,000 by allowing certain pass-through entities (PTEs) to be taxed at the entity level for state taxes. This allows PTEs, such as S corporations and partnerships, the ability to deduct their tax payments at the federal level as a business expense, essentially bypassing the SALT deduction limit at the owner level. This is especially beneficial to PTE owners who are limited by the $10,000 limit or are taking the standard deduction on their individual return.

On July 16, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 150, allowing this workaround for S corporations and partnerships for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021. PTEs can elect to pay a 9.3% income tax as long as they do not have owners that are partnerships, are not part of a combined reporting group, or are not publicly traded. Owners of entities who pay personal income tax can claim a credit equal to the tax the entity pays. The workaround will be in effect through tax years beginning before January 1, 2026 to match the timing of the federal deduction limit law.

Election and credits

The election is irrevocable and must be made annually on the original timely filed return in the form and manner as prescribed by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). We are waiting on guidance from the FTB regarding how to make the election and whether or not “timely filed” includes extensions.

Each owner within an eligible PTE can consent to have their share of income subject to the PTE tax. If an owner does not consent, it doesn’t preclude other owners from making the annual election to pay the tax. The tax withheld will be computed based on the electing owner’s distributive share of pass-through income.

In the event the credit allowed exceeds the net tax reported on the owner’s return, the excess will be carried forward to reduce the tax in the following taxable year, and any of the succeeding four years (for a total of five years).

Estimated tax payments

For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, and before January 1, 2022, the PTE tax is due on or before the original due date of the return. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2026, the PTE tax is due in the following increments:

  • The first installment is due on or before June 15 of the taxable year of the annual election, which is to be the greater of either 50% of the elective tax paid the prior taxable year or $1,000.
  • The second installment is due on or before the due date of the original return for the qualified entity without regard to any extensions (March 15 for a calendar entity).

PTEs that have already made tax distributions to owners for first and second quarter estimated tax payments will likely be coming out of pocket twice to pay the tax, since the estimated tax paid at the individual level is not automatically applied against the PTE tax that is due.

How we can help

Determining whether or not to make this election can be complicated — based on where your entity is doing business and the location of the owners. Our state and local tax professionals can assist with questions on how the calculation works and whether or not this election could be beneficial for you. We’re here to know you and to help you.

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