Schedule K-1: Beneficiary's Share of Income, Deductions, Credits

What Is Schedule K-1 Beneficiary's Share of Income, Deductions, and Credits?

Schedule K-1 is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax form issued annually for an investment in partnership interests. The purpose of Schedule K-1 is to report each partner's share of the partnership's earnings, losses, deductions, and credits. It serves a similar purpose for tax reporting as one of the various Forms 1099, which report dividend or interest from securities or income from the sale of securities.

The Schedule K-1 is also used by shareholders of S corporations, companies with under 100 stockholders that are taxed as partnerships. Trusts and estates that have distributed income to beneficiaries also file Schedule K-1s.

While a partnership itself is generally not subject to income tax, individual partners (including limited partners) are liable to be taxed on their share of the partnership income, whether or not it is distributed. A K-1 is commonly issued to taxpayers who have invested in limited partnerships (LPs) and some exchange traded funds (ETFs), such as those that invest in commodities.

The federal income tax filing due date for individuals is the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the tax year.

Key Takeaways

  • Schedule K-1 is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax form issued annually for an investment in a partnership. 
  • The purpose of the Schedule K-1 is to report each partner's share of the partnership's earnings, losses, deductions, and credits. 
  • Schedule K-1 serves a similar purpose as Form 1099.
  • A Schedule K-1 is issued to taxpayers who have invested in limited partnerships (LPs) and some exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
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Schedule K-1

Who Can File Schedule K-1 Beneficiary's Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.?

The tax code in the United States in some cases allows the use of pass-through taxation, which shifts tax liability from an entity (like a partnership) to the individuals who have an interest in it. Hence, the presence of the Schedule K-1, which requires the partnership to track each partner's basis (that is, the degree of financial participation) in the enterprise.

A partnership prepares a K-1 to get a sense of what each partner's share of the returns is based on the amount of capital they have in the partnership. A partner's basis is increased by capital contributions and their share of income, while it is reduced by a partner’s share of losses and any withdrawals.

IRS Form K-1

All versions of Schedule K-1 are available on the IRS website.

The financial information posted to each partner's Schedule K-1 is sent to the IRS along with Form 1065. S Corporations also file K-1s, accompanying them with Form 1120S.

Special Considerations When Filing Schedule K-1

While not filed with an individual partner's tax return, the Schedule K-1 is necessary for a partner to accurately determine how much income to report for the year. Unfortunately, the K-1 has a reputation for arriving late. It is required to be received by March 15 (or the 15th day of the third month after the entity's tax year ends). In fact, it's often one of the last tax documents to be received by the taxpayer.

The most common reasons are the complexity of calculating partners' shares and the need to individually calculate every partner's K-1. (It used to be worse: Before the IRS rules changed in 2017, K-1s didn't have to be received until April 15.)

To add insult to the injurious wait, the Schedule K-1 can be quite complex and require multiple entries on the taxpayer's federal return, including entries on the Schedule A, Schedule B, and Schedule D.

That's because a partner can earn several types of income on Schedule K-1, including rental income from a partnership's real estate holdings and income from bond interest and stock dividends.

It's also possible that K-1 income can trigger the alternative minimum tax.

Article Sources
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  1. Internal Revenue Service. "S Corporations."

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) for a Beneficiary Filing Form 1040 or 1040-SR."

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 509 (2022), Tax Calendars."

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "Tax Information for Partnerships."

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "About Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income."

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "2021 Shareholder's Instructions for Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S)."

  7. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 1120S - Introductory Material."

  8. Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 509, Tax Calendars for Use in 2022," Page 4.

  9. Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 509, Tax Calendars for Use in 2017," Pages 1, 4.

  10. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 1065 - Introductory Material."

  11. Internal Revenue Service. "2021 Partner's Instructions for Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)."

  12. Internal Revenue Service. "Income - Schedules K-1 and Rental."

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