Tax treatment of an Investment Clubs
An investment club is formed when a group of friends, neighbors, business associates, or others pool their money to invest in stock or other securities. The club may or may not have a written agreement, a charter, or bylaws.
Usually the group operates informally with members pledging to pay a regular amount into the club monthly. Some clubs have a committee that gathers information on securities, selects the most promising securities, and recommends that the club invest in them. Other clubs rotate these responsibilities among all their members. Most clubs require all members to vote for or against all investments, sales, trades, and other transactions.
Each club must have an employer identification number (EIN) to use when filing its return. The club’s EIN also may have to be given to the payer of dividends or other income from investments recorded in the club’s name. To obtain an EIN, file Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.
Investments in name of member.
When an investment is recorded in the name of one club member, this member must give his or her SSN to the payer of investment income. (When an investment is held in the names of two or more club members, the SSN of only one member must be given to the payer.) This member is considered the record owner for the actual owner, the investment club. This member is a “nominee” and must file an information return with the IRS. For example, the nominee member must file Form 1099-DIV for dividend income, showing the club as the owner of the dividend, his or her SSN, and the EIN of the club.
Tax Treatment of the Club
Generally, an investment club is treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes unless it chooses otherwise. In some situations, however, it is taxed as a corporation or a trust.
Club as a Partnership
If your club is not taxed as a corporation or a trust, it will be treated as a partnership.
If your investment club is treated as a partnership, it must file Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. However, as a partner in the club, you must report on your individual return your share of the club’s income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits for the club’s tax year. (Its tax year generally must be the same tax year as that of the partners owning a majority interest.) You must report these items whether or not you actually receive any distribution from the partnership.
Schedule K-1 (Form 1065).
You should receive a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) from the partnership. The amounts shown on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) are your share of the partnership’s income, deductions, and credits. Report each amount on the appropriate lines and schedules of your income tax return.
The club’s expenses for producing or collecting income, for managing investment property, or for determining any tax are listed separately on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065). Each individual partner who itemizes deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) can deduct his or her share of those expenses. The expenses are listed on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23, along with other miscellaneous deductions subject to the 2% limit.
Passive activity losses.
Rules apply that limit losses from passive activities. Your copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) and its instructions will tell you where on your return to report your share of partnership items from passive activities. If you have a passive activity loss from a partnership, you must complete Form 8582 to figure the amount of the allowable loss to enter on your tax return.
No social security coverage for investment club earnings. If an investment club partnership’s activities are limited to investing in savings certificates, stock, or securities, and collecting interest or dividends for its members’ accounts, a member’s share of income is not earnings from self-employment. You cannot voluntarily pay the self-employment tax to increase your social security coverage and ultimate benefits.
Club as a Corporation
An investment club formed after 1996 is taxed as a corporation if:
· It is formed under a federal or state law that refers to it as incorporated or as a corporation, body corporate, or body politic,
· It is formed under a state law that refers to it as a joint-stock company or joint-stock association, or
· It chooses to be taxed as a corporation.
Choosing to be taxed as a corporation. To choose to be taxed as a corporation, the club cannot be a trust (see Club as a Trust , later) or otherwise subject to special treatment under the tax law. The club must file Form 8832 to make the choice.
If your club is taxed as a corporation, it must file Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return. In that case, you do not report any of its income or expenses on your individual return. All ordinary income and expenses and capital gains and losses must be reported on the Form 1120. Any distribution the club makes that qualifies as a dividend must be reported on Form 1099-DIV if total distributions to the shareholder are $10 or more for the year.
You must report any distributions you receive from the club on your individual return. You should receive a copy of Form 1099-DIV from the club showing the distributions you received.
For more information about corporations, see Publication 542, Corporations.
Club as a Trust
In a few cases, an investment club is taxed as a trust. In general, a trust is an arrangement through which trustees take title to property for the purpose of protecting or conserving it for the beneficiaries under the ordinary rules applied in chancery or probate courts. An arrangement is treated as a trust for tax purposes if its purpose is to vest in trustees responsibility for protecting and conserving property for beneficiaries who cannot share in that responsibility and so are not associates in a joint enterprise for the conduct of business for profit. If you need more information about trusts, see Regulations section 301.7701-4.
If your club is taxed as a trust, it must file Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. You should receive a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) from the trust. Report the amounts shown on Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) on the appropriate lines and schedules of your income tax return.
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