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Deducting LLC business expenses

Dear Tax Talk,
I receive a K-1 from an LLC each year. Where can I deduct my personal expenses incurred (such as mileage, meals and entertainment and supplies) as a result of doing work associated with this LLC?
-- Jay

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Dear Jay,
A limited liability company is usually treated as a partnership for tax purposes. This seems to be your case, as you are receiving a Schedule K-1, which is an information form filed by the partnership or LLC to advise the partners or members of their distributive share of the company's income and expenses.

The Form 1040 Schedule E instructions provide that you can deduct unreimbursed ordinary and necessary expenses you paid on behalf of the partnership, if you were required to pay these expenses under the partnership agreement. A partnership agreement can be either oral or written. A partnership agreement may be modified with respect to a particular taxable year subsequent to the close of such taxable year, but not later than the date (not including any extension of time) prescribed by law for the filing of the partnership return. The modifications may be either oral or written.

Typical partner expenses that may not be reimbursed by the partnership could be travel, including the use of the partner's automobile for business purposes, cellular phone and entertainment, subject to the 50-percent limitation (unreimbursed meals and entertainment are only 50-percent deductible).

Unreimbursed partner expenses should be claimed on Schedule E on line 27 and should be labeled as "UPE." You should not combine these amounts with other partnership items as the IRS matches the partnership K-1 items to your tax return. Any combining could flag your return as omitting income or overstating losses.

You do not have to detail the items that were unreimbursed, but you obviously should keep a record of what was included. You may even want to complete a Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, for your records to help you with the automobile portion of the expenditures and also entertainment. However, unlike an employee, you would carry the total to Schedule E and not Schedule A.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy-- Posted: Dec. 7, 2005
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