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Flow-Through (Pass-Through) Entity, Types, Pros & Cons

File Photo: Flow-Through (Pass-Through) Entity, Types, Pros & Cons
File Photo: Flow-Through (Pass-Through) Entity, Types, Pros & Cons File Photo: Flow-Through (Pass-Through) Entity, Types, Pros & Cons

What exactly is a flow-through entity?

A flow-through entity directly distributes profits to its owners, shareholders, or investors. This means the profits are taxable to the people involved rather than the company. Flow-through entities are a typical mechanism to avoid double taxation, which arises with revenue from conventional businesses.

Identifying a Flow-Through Entity

Everyone, from sole proprietors to multimillion-dollar corporations, must pay taxes on their profits. Individuals on their income pay income tax, whereas businesses pay corporation tax on their profits. Flow-through enterprises, on the other hand, are exempt from paying corporate income tax. Instead, an individual investor, shareholder, or business owner is responsible for paying taxes on the profits made by a pass-through entity—earnings “flow-through” (directly) to the persons responsible for paying taxes on them.

These people pay taxes on the money they make from their company stakes at the same rate as they do on their income. In addition, business losses can be deducted from the owner’s tax returns.

Unlike C-corporations, flow-through firms pay taxes just once, even if they are subject to exact inventory accounting, depreciation, and other regulations impacting the determination of corporate earnings. On the other hand, profits earned by C companies are subject to double taxation—income is taxed at the corporate tax rate initially and then taxed again when paid out as dividends to shareholders or when owners realize capital gains coming from retained earnings.

Varieties of Flow-Through Organizations

Sole proprietorships, partnerships (limited, general, and limited liability partnerships), S corporations, income trusts, and limited liability companies are all examples of flow-through businesses. A lone proprietor’s company earnings must be included in their tax return. Since the firm is not taxed independently, the IRS classifies this type of organization as a flow-through.

Shareholders of an S corporation can deduct their portion of its profits from their tax returns using Schedule E. Despite avoiding the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) tax on profits, S company owners must still pay themselves “reasonable compensation,” subject to the standard Social Security tax.

Investment corporations, mortgage investment corporations, mutual fund corporations, partnerships, and trusts are all examples of flow-through entities in Canada.

Although flow-throughs are deemed non-entities for tax reasons, they must file an annual K-1 statement, as ordinary public businesses must.

Consequences of Using a Flow-Through Organization

The proprietors of a company that chooses to operate as a flow-through corporation will still be subject to taxation on any profits they do not personally collect. For instance, even if a corporation retains its earnings and does not pay dividends to its shareholders but instead reinvests them, the shareholders must still account for and maybe pay taxes on those earnings.

Although pass-through businesses do not pay taxes, the proprietors of these organizations may.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pass-Through Entities

Is it possible to have both a flow-through and a pass-through organization?

Yes, a flow-through entity is the same as a pass-through entity.

Why is it beneficial to use a pass-through organization?

A pass-through entity’s primary benefit may be summed up in two words: tax treatment.

Before distributing revenues to investors and owners, regularly incorporated enterprises must pay a flat corporation income tax on all profits. Any dividends or other distributions these stockholders receive must be reported on their tax filings. This amounts to a double taxation of the same monetary unit.

Profits can escape the first round of corporate taxation with a pass-through corporation. There are no corporate taxes for a pass-through. Investors will be responsible for paying taxes on the profits they make. The money is taxed once, though.

Owners and investors in a pass-through corporation may be eligible for a higher personal tax deduction. Also passed through is any loss the company incurs, which can be deducted from the owner’s taxable income.

What business entity is not considered a pass-through entity?

Familiar business entities that do not qualify as pass-through entities include C corporations.

Is tax recognized for a disregarded entity?

There is still taxation for a disregarded entity. However, the IRS does not regard sole proprietorships as separate entities because a single individual often operates them. It files its tax returns with the individual taxpayer who owns it.

Like sole proprietorships, disregarded entities are subject to two forms of taxation:

  • Flat-rate taxes for independent contractors.
  • Taxes on income (rate varies by owner’s tax level)

Do we automatically disregard a single-member LLC as a separate legal entity?

An LLC with a single member is treated as a disregarded entity by default. It has the right to file a tax exemption request.

Do employees exist in a disregarded entity?

Employees are allowed in a disregarded organization. Employment is unaffected by “disregarded entity” status, and a disregarded business employing employees may be required to pay employment taxes.

However, the IRS and courts have concluded that a single-member LLC, one of the most prevalent types of disregarded businesses, cannot designate an owner as both an employee and a partner.


  • Any company that distributes its profits directly to its shareholders or owners is called a “flow-through” or “pass-through” organization.
  • Double taxation on profits is often avoided with the use of flow-through corporations.
  • Unlike corporations, flow-through organizations have their profits taxed only at the regular income rate of their owners.
  • Flow-through companies include S Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and partnerships (including sole proprietorships, limited partnerships, and general partnerships).
  • The owners of flow-through entities may be subject to income taxation even if they do not benefit from it.

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