Form 1065 – What is a 1065 Form Used For?

What Is Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income? 

Form 1065Form 1065 is a U.S. Return of Partnership Income tax document issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  It is used to declare the profits, losses, deductions, and credits of a business partnership. In addition to Form 1065, partnerships must also submit Schedule K-1, a document prepared for each partner.

Form 1065 gives the IRS a summary of the company’s financial status for the year. The partners must report and pay taxes on their shares of income from the partnership on their tax returns. Partners must pay income tax on their earnings regardless of whether the earnings were distributed.

Partnerships file an information return to report their income, gains, losses, deductions, credits, etc.  A partnership does not pay tax on its income but “passes through” any profits or losses to its partners. Partners must include partnership items on their tax or information returns.  (Source:

Key Points

  • Form 1065 is used to declare profits, losses, deductions, and credits of a business partnership.
  • Who uses this form – LLCs, foreign partnerships with income in the U.S., and nonprofit religious organizations.
  • Form 1065 does not determine individual taxes owed.  Partnerships must also submit a completed Schedule K-1.

Understanding Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income

All domestic partnerships must file Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income. The IRS defines a partnership as two or more people who carry on a trade or business together. Each person contributes money, skill, labor, or property with the expectation that all partners will reap the economic benefits and the losses.  The form does not determine how much tax a partnership owes.  Partnerships that use Form 1065 include:

  • Limited liability corporations (LLCs) classified as domestic partnerships and headquartered in the U.S.
  • Foreign partnerships with income in the U.S. must also file Form 1065. As of 2018, foreign partnerships earning less than $20,000 in the country or partnerships may not have to file.  Also, partnerships that receive less than 1% of their income in the U.S. may not have to file.
  • Nonprofit religious organizations also file this form. They must show that profits were given to their members as dividends.  This is regardless of whether the dividends were distributed.

Who needs to file a Form 1065? 

All partnerships in the United States must submit one IRS Form 1065.  The IRS defines a partnership as any relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. A partnership is not a corporation. Unlike a corporation, a partnership is not a separate legal entity from the individual owners.

Not sure if your business is a partnership? Most partnerships are spelled out in a formal written agreement called a partnership agreement. And, are registered in the state in which they do business. Your partnership agreement might say you’re a general partnership, a limited partnership, or a limited liability partnership.  If your company is an LLC and has not decided to be taxed as a corporation this year, then you will file taxes as a partnership and you must submit a Form 1065.  Foreign partnerships with more than $20,000 annual income in the United States, or those who earn more than 1% of their income in the United States, must file Form 1065.  (Source:

Why Partnership Agreements Matter to 1065 Filings

When starting a business, partners will often work with a lawyer to draft their partnership agreement. In addition to outlining the entity type of the business, partnership agreements include information on important details.  For example, how decisions will be made within the company and how profits will be split among partners.   How profits and losses are allocated matters most come tax time.  And, there are many ways this can be sorted out. Most commonly, ownership will be divided based on the amounts each partner contributed to the business.

For example, if two partners in a small business each contribute $100,000 to their business, they may agree to split profits (or possibly losses) 50/50.   If one partner puts in $100,000 and the other only put in $25,000, they may opt for a 75/25 split instead. There are a number of factors beyond how much money is invested upfront that can impact how profits are allocated, so partners should pay close attention when drafting the partnership agreement to make sure they’re comfortable with their allocation.  That’s because when the year is over and it’s time to file the partnership tax return, they will only pay taxes on the profits allocated to them on their personal returns.  (Source:

How to File Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income 

Form 1065 requires significant information about partners and their annual financial dealings. This includes income information detailing gross receipts or sales. Deductions and operating expenses such as rent, employee wages, bad debts, interest on business loans, and other costs are also included. Additionally, the form requires information about the partners and their stake in the company by the percentage of ownership.  Before completing Form 1065, filers need information from:

  • Depreciation and Amortization – Form 4562
  • Cost of Goods Sold – Form 1125
  • Sale of Business Property – Form 4797
  • Copies of any Form 1099 issued by the partnership
  • Material Advisor Disclosure Statement – Form 8918
  • Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Disclosure Statement – Form 114
  • Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts – Form 3520
  • Farming Partnerships need a copy of Form 1040 as well.

Other Filing Information

To properly file Form 1065, you’ll need all of your partnership’s important year-end financial statements.  This should include a profit and loss statement that shows net income and revenues.  Also, a list of all the partnership’s deductible expenses, and a balance sheet for the beginning and end of the year. If your business sells physical goods, you’ll need to provide information for calculating the cost of goods sold.

You’ll also need to provide your Employer Identification Number, also known as your Tax ID.  You must include your Business Code Number and the number of partners in your business.  Additionally, the start dates for the business, and information about whether your company uses the cash or accrual method of accounting.

If any portion of profits were paid out to owners beyond their standard salary, you need to include that.  If you paid anyone outside the partnership more than $600 to do contract work and filed a Form 1099, that information must be included as well.

Other Relevant Forms

Form 1065 does not determine the amount of tax owed by each partner.  The individual taxpayer must also include a completed Schedule K-1. This schedule identifies the percentage share of gains and losses assigned to each partner for the beginning and end of the reporting period.

Schedule K-1

Form 1065 won’t help you calculate how much tax your partners owe. Instead, income, losses, dividends, and capital gains are assigned directly to partners using Schedule K-1.  Each partner must file a Schedule K-1 separately, and items reported on it are assigned to each individual partner’s personal tax return.

Most of the information you’ll need to complete your Schedule K-1 will come from the Income and Expenses section of Form 1065. Beyond ordinary business income (or losses), Schedule K-1 also captures real estate income, bond interest, royalties and dividends, capital gains, and foreign transactions.  It also lists any other guaranteed payments that you might have received as part of your involvement in the partnership.

The most important line of the Schedule K-1 is often Line 1, or Ordinary Business Income (Loss). Partners who invested money into the business that year will only pay taxes on income that exceeds their initial investment.

Schedule L

Schedule L is a balance sheet.  It lists all of your business’s assets, liabilities, and capital.  Schedule L is designed to keep the IRS appraised about the financial state of your partnership.  If the answer to all four questions in part 6 of Schedule B on Form 1065 is “Yes,” then you don’t have to fill out Schedule L, Schedule M-2, or Schedule M-3.

If your partnership does not meet all four requirements in part 6 of Schedule B then you must fill out Schedules L, M-1, and M-2.  For example, if your partnership’s total annual receipts are more than $250,000 or its assets are more than $1 million.  All three of these schedules are located on page 5 of your 1065.  Any changes in the balance sheet over the reporting period should be consistent with the information you provide about income and capital accounts on Schedules M-1 and M-2.

Schedule M-1

The IRS often calculates things differently than the average partnership.  Therefore, it is normal for there to be a discrepancy between income and taxable profits.  Specifically, what a partnership records as its net income and what the IRS recognizes as actual taxable profits.  Schedule M-1 reconciles these differences by asking about any income, expenses, and depreciation recorded on your books.  The purpose is to reveal anything that you didn’t include in your tax return.  A partnership that does not meet all four requirements in part 6 of Schedule B must file Schedule M-1.  This is even in the event there are no differences between book income and reported income.

Schedule M-2

The purpose of Schedule M-2 is to inform the IRS of any changes to you or your partner’s capital accounts.  This can be in the form of cash, property, or any other capital contributions.  Schedules L and M-1 contain items that will have to match items on M-2.  Be consistent and make sure to fill those out first before filling out M-2.

How to Submit Form 1065

You can either file a paper or electronic form. If you choose to send a paper file to the IRS, you can download the forms on the IRS’s website.  Not all partnerships and multi-member LLCs have the option of paper filing. If you have more than 100 partners, you must file Form 1065, Schedules K-1, and all related forms electronically.

E-Filing Form 1065 

Partnerships can use the Modified e-file (MeF) platform provided by the IRS to e-file their Forms 1065.  This includes the Schedules K-1 they must provide to partners and the IRS. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 requires that partnerships with more than 100 partners must e-file.

Where to Mail Form 1065

Mailing your Form 1065 to an IRS center remains an option for partnerships with 100 or fewer partners. The exact center and address depend on several factors.  This includes your total asset value at the end of the tax year and the state where your business is principally located. The IRS provides a complete list of the appropriate addresses on its website.

Form 1065 Due date

You are required to file by the 15th day of the third month after your tax year ends. You can use the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or legal holiday.  Many partnerships and multi-member LLCs follow the calendar year for their tax year. So if your tax year ends on December 31, your due date is March 15.  Because partnerships are pass-through entities, partners will need to pay their individual tax obligations before the federal income tax due date on April 15.  Or, they’ll need to file an extension on their personal returns as well.

Up Next:  Hazard Insurance Definition – What is Hazard Insurance?

Hazard insurance is insurance coverage that protects a property owner against damage caused by fires, severe storms, or other natural events. As long as the specific weather event is listed within the policy, the property owner will receive compensation to cover the cost of damage incurred. Typically, the property owner will be required to pay for a year’s worth of premiums at the time of purchasing the policy.  Of course, this practice will depend on the exact details of the policy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *