LLCs and the Charitable Deduction

February 7, 2012

Authored by: Keith Kehrer

Under the so-called “check the box regulations” a single member limited liability company (“SMLLC”) is disregarded for federal income tax purposes unless it elects to be taxed as a corporation.  Therefore, where a Section 501(c)(3) organization establishes a SMLLC that does not seek Section 501(c)(3) status or otherwise elect to be taxed as a corporation, the SMLLC is treated as a division of the 501(c)(3) organization for federal income tax purposes.   Strangely, the IRS has declined to rule whether a donation to a SMLLC qualifies as a deductible charitable contribution made to or for the use of a Section 501(c)(3) organization for purposes of Section 170.  The New York State Bar Association recently sent a report to the Treasury and the IRS in support of the position that contributions to such SMLLCs should be eligible for the charitable deduction.   I also believe that this is the appropriate treatment for federal income tax purposes and hope the IRS will be prompted to issue formal guidance soon and finally put this important issue to rest.