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If your business is a partnership with foreign partners, you have no doubt faced having to file Form 8804 to determine your tax liability. This form can look ominous at first glance, but you’ll find that, in some ways, its structure and function are very similar to Form 1040, which you file annually. Before getting into important details concerning Form 8804, let’s first establish what this form is and for whom it’s required.

What Is Form 8804?

Form 8804 is a tax form used by partnerships with foreign partners to report and pay their share of effectively connected taxable income (ECTI). ECTI is income derived from a trade or business within the United States. Partnerships with foreign partners are required to file form 8804 if they have ECTI to report or if they made certain distributions to foreign partners during the tax year.

Understanding the Filing Requirements

Filing Form 8804 is a simple process. All partnerships with US ECTI that can be allocated to a foreign partner must file this form, regardless of whether they had any effectively connected taxable income. In other words, Form 8804 needs to be filed even if the partnership has recorded a loss in that year.

Along with Form 8804, the partnership must provide each foreign partner with a Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), which reports the partner’s share of income, deductions, and credits. The foreign partner will use this information to report their share of ECTI on their individual tax return.

Important Deadlines and Extensions

Similar to your personal tax return Form 1040, there is a Form 8804 deadline, as well as penalties for not filing on time. If you can’t meet the deadline, you can file a Form 8804 extension with the IRS.

Deadline for Filing Form 8804

Form 8804 must be filed annually by the due date, which is generally the 15th day of the third month following the close of the partnership’s tax year. For example, if the partnership operates on a calendar year basis, the due date for Form 8804 would typically be March 15th.

How to Request an Extension if Needed

To request an extension for filing Form 8804, you will need to complete and submit IRS Form 7004*, which can be submitted electronically or by mail.

*Requesting an extension does not absolve you of any taxes due on the original deadline. You’ll need to calculate any estimated tax due and include it with your extension request. Failure to make the required payment may result in penalties and interest.

Gathering Required Information, Supporting Documentation, and Attachments

For filing Form 8804, you’ll need to gather specific information, supporting documentation, and attachments to complete the form accurately. Here is some of the required information for Form 8804 and the documents you’ll need:

image of form 8804

Partnership Information: Partnership name, address, and employer identification number (EIN)

Partner Information: Identification of foreign partners, including their names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers (TINs)

Effectively Connected Taxable Income (ECTI): Calculation of the partnership’s effectively connected taxable income

Schedule K-1 (Form 1065): A separate Schedule K-1 for each foreign partner, providing their respective share of income, deductions, and credits, must also be filed by the partnership.

Supporting Documentation: Documents substantiating the partnership’s income, deductions, and credits. These would include sales and expense receipts, and documentation of any taxes withheld or paid on behalf of foreign partners.

It’s important to carefully review the instructions provided by the IRS for the specific tax year in question. The instructions will outline the required information, documentation, and any specific attachments or schedules that need to be included with Form 8804.

Completing Form 8804 and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Completing Form 8804 accurately is critical to ensuring compliance with tax regulations. Here are some common mistakes made when completing Form 8804 and the steps you can take to avoid them:

  1. Not Reviewing the Instructions: Carefully read the instructions provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for Form 8804. Make sure you have the version of the instructions for the tax year you are filing.
  2. Submitting Incorrect Partnership and Partner Information: Ensure that the partnership’s name, address, and employer identification number (EIN) are accurately entered on the form. Similarly, provide correct and up-to-date information for each foreign partner, including their names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers (TINs). Similar information for domestic partners would be included on their Form 1040.
  3. Calculating ECTI and Partner Allocations Inaccurately: Take the time to accurately calculate the partnership’s effectively connected taxable income (ECTI) and allocate it among the partners according to their ownership percentages or agreed-upon allocation methods.
  4. Not Paying Attention to Specific Line Item Instructions: Some line items on Form 8804 may have specific instructions or require additional attachments. Read the instructions carefully for each line item to ensure accurate completion and inclusion of any required supporting documentation.
  5. Not Double-Checking for Accuracy and Completeness: Before submitting Form 8804, review all the information you entered for accuracy and completeness. Check for typos, mathematical errors, and missing information. Missing or incorrect information can lead to delays, penalties, or IRS inquiries.
Common Mistakes Potential Consequences How to Avoid
Not Reviewing the Instructions Could result in misunderstanding of the requirements Read IRS instructions for Form 8804 carefully, ensuring the correct version for your tax year.
Submitting Incorrect Partnership and Partner Information Could lead to issues with processing the form Enter accurate partnership details including name, address, and EIN. Provide up-to-date and correct information for each foreign partner.
Calculating ECTI and Partner Allocations Inaccurately Could result in inaccurate reporting of taxable income Accurately calculate ECTI and allocate it among partners based on ownership percentages or agreed methods.
Not Paying Attention to Specific Line Item Instructions May lead to incomplete or inaccurate filing Carefully follow instructions for accurate completion, including necessary supporting documentation.
Not Double-Checking for Accuracy and Completeness May lead to delays, penalties, or IRS inquiries Review Form 8804 for accuracy, completeness, typos, errors, and missing information before submission.

Form 8804 Filing and Submission Process

Filing and submitting Form 8804 can be accomplished in two ways: electronically or on paper.

  • Electronic Filing: Consider filing form 8804 electronically using IRS-approved e-filing software or through a tax professional. E-filing offers convenience, faster processing, and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Paper Filing: If you choose to file on paper, mail the completed Form 8804, Schedule K-1s, and any required attachments to the appropriate IRS address. Use certified mail for tracking purposes.

Penalties and Consequences for Non-Compliance

If you don’t file Form 8804 on time, the penalty is usually 5% of the unpaid tax for each month that the return is late (upto a max of 25% of the unpaid tax). The penalty won’t apply if the partnership can show reasonable cause for filing late.


Understanding and complying with the Form 8804 submission process is essential for any partnership with foreign partners. Non-compliance can result in costly penalties and the needless loss of hard-earned profits. More information concerning Form 8804 can be found on the IRS website.

Modified Date & Time : 22 Apr 2024, 06:36 am

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Jamie Stadtmauer is the Vice President of Business Development at Agora and has over 20 years of experience in commercial real estate investing.


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