To qualify as allowable deductions in computing unrelated business taxable income, the expenses, depreciation, and similar items generally must be allowable income tax deductions that are directly connected with carrying on an unrelated trade or business. They cannot be directly connected with excluded income.
For an exception to the "directly connected" requirement, see Charitable contributions deduction, under Modifications, later.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067549
To be directly connected with the conduct of an unrelated business, deductions must have a proximate and primary relationship to carrying on that business. For an exception, see Expenses attributable to exploitation of exempt activities, later. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067550
Expenses, depreciation, and similar items attributable solely to the conduct of an unrelated business are proximately and primarily related to that business and qualify for deduction to the extent that they are otherwise allowable income tax deductions.
For example, salaries of personnel employed full-time to carry on the unrelated business and depreciation of a building used entirely in the conduct of that business are deductible to the extent otherwise allowable.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067551
When facilities or personnel are used both to carry on exempt functions and to conduct an unrelated trade or business, expenses, depreciation, and similar items attributable to the facilities or personnel must be allocated between the two uses on a reasonable basis. The part of an item allocated to the unrelated trade or business is proximately and primarily related to that business, and is allowable as a deduction in computing unrelated business taxable income, if the expense is otherwise an allowable income tax deduction. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067552
A school recognized as a tax-exempt organization contracts with an individual to conduct a summer tennis camp. The school provides the tennis courts, housing, and dining facilities. The contracted individual hires the instructors, recruits campers, and provides supervision. The income the school receives from this activity is from a dual use of the facilities and personnel. The school, in computing its unrelated business taxable income, may deduct an allocable part of the expenses attributable to the facilities and personnel. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067553
An exempt organization with gross income from an unrelated trade or business pays its president $90,000 a year. The president devotes approximately 10% of his time to the unrelated business. To figure the organization's unrelated business taxable income, a deduction of $9,000 ($90,000 × 10%) is allowed for the salary paid to its president. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067554
Generally, expenses, depreciation, and similar items attributable to the conduct of an exempt activity are not deductible in computing unrelated business taxable income from an unrelated trade or business that exploits the exempt activity. (See Exploitation of exempt functions under Not substantially related in chapter 3.) This is because they do not have a proximate and primary relationship to the unrelated trade or business, and therefore, they do not qualify as directly connected with that business. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067555
Expenses, depreciation, and similar items may be treated as directly connected with the conduct of the unrelated business if all the following statements are true.
- The unrelated business exploits the exempt activity.
- The unrelated business is a type normally carried on for profit by taxable organizations.
- The exempt activity is a type normally conducted by taxable organizations in carrying on that type of business.
The amount treated as directly connected is the smaller of:
- The excess of these expenses, depreciation, and similar items over the income from, or attributable to, the exempt activity, or
- The gross unrelated business income reduced by all other expenses, depreciation, and other items that are actually directly connected.
The application of these rules to an advertising activity that exploits an exempt publishing activity is explained next.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067556
The sale of advertising in a periodical of an exempt organization that contains editorial material related to the accomplishment of the organization's exempt purpose is an unrelated business that exploits an exempt activity, the circulation and readership of the periodical. Therefore, in addition to direct advertising costs, exempt activity costs (expenses, depreciation, and similar expenses attributable to the production and distribution of the editorial or readership content) can be treated as directly connected with the conduct of the advertising activity. (See Expenses attributable to exploitation of exempt activities under Directly Connected, earlier.) taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067557
The UBTI of an advertising activity is the amount shown in the following chart.
|If gross advertising income is . . .||THEN UBTI is . . .|
|More than direct advertising costs||The excess advertising income, reduced (but not below zero) by the excess, if any, of readership costs over circulation income.|
|Equal to or less than direct advertising costs||Zero.|
• Circulation income and readership costs are not taken into account.
• Any excess advertising costs reduce (but not below zero) UBTI from any other unrelated business activity.
The terms used in the chart are explained in the following discussions.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067558taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067559
This is all the income from the unrelated advertising activities of an exempt organization periodical.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067560
This is all the income from the production, distribution, or circulation of an exempt organization's periodical (other than gross advertising income). It includes all amounts from the sale or distribution of the readership content of the periodical, such as income from subscriptions. It also includes allocable membership receipts if the right to receive the periodical is associated with a membership or similar status in the organization. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067561
This is the part of membership receipts (dues, fees, or other charges associated with membership) equal to the amount that would have been charged and paid for the periodical if:
- The periodical was published by a taxable organization,
- The periodical was published for profit, and
- The member was an unrelated party dealing with the taxable organization at arm's length.
The amount used to allocate membership receipts is the amount shown in the following chart.
For this purpose, the total periodical costs are the sum of the direct advertising costs and the readership costs, explained under Periodical Costs
, later. The cost of other exempt activities means the total expenses incurred by the organization in connection with its other exempt activities, not offset by any income earned by the organization from those activities.
|IF . . .||THEN the amount used to allocate membership receipts is . . .|
|20% or more of the total circulation consists of sales to nonmembers||The subscription price charged nonmembers.|
|The above condition does not apply, and 20% or more of the members pay reduced dues because they do not receive the periodical ||The reduction in dues for a member not receiving the periodical.|
|Neither of the above conditions applies||The membership receipts multiplied by this fraction:|
| ||Total periodical costs|
Total periodical costs
Cost of other exempt activities
U is an exempt scientific organization with 10,000 members who pay annual dues of $15. One of U's activities is publishing a monthly periodical distributed to all of its members. U also distributes 5,000 additional copies of its periodical to nonmembers, who subscribe for $10 a year. Since the nonmember circulation of U's periodical represents one-third (more than 20%) of its total circulation, the subscription price charged to nonmembers is used to determine the part of U's membership receipts allocable to the periodical. Thus, U's allocable membership receipts are $100,000 ($10 times 10,000 members), and U's total circulation income for the periodical is $150,000 ($100,000 from members plus $50,000 from sales to nonmembers).taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067563
Assume the same facts except that U sells only 500 copies of its periodical to nonmembers, at a price of $10 a year. Assume also that U's members may elect not to receive the periodical, in which case their dues are reduced from $15 a year to $6 a year, and that only 3,000 members elect to receive the periodical and pay the full dues of $15 a year. U's stated subscription price of $9 to members consistently results in an excess of total income (including gross advertising income) attributable to the periodical over total costs of the periodical. Since the 500 copies of the periodical distributed to nonmembers represent only 14% of the 3,500 copies distributed, the $10 subscription price charged to nonmembers is not used to determine the part of membership receipts allocable to the periodical. Instead, since 70% of the members elect not to receive the periodical and pay $9 less per year in dues, the $9 price is used to determine the subscription price charged to members. Thus, the allocable membership receipts will be $9 a member, or $27,000 ($9 times 3,000 copies). U's total circulation income is $32,000 ($27,000 plus the $5,000 from nonmember subscriptions). taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067564taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067565
These are expenses, depreciation, and similar items of deduction directly connected with selling and publishing advertising in the periodical.
Examples of allowable deductions under this classification include agency commissions and other direct selling costs, such as transportation and travel expenses, office salaries, promotion and research expenses, and office overhead directly connected with the sale of advertising lineage in the periodical. Also included are other deductions commonly classified as advertising costs under standard account classifications, such as artwork and copy preparation, telephone, telegraph, postage, and similar costs directly connected with advertising.
In addition, direct advertising costs include the part of mechanical and distribution costs attributable to advertising lineage. For this purpose, the general account classifications of items includable in mechanical and distribution costs ordinarily employed in business-paper and consumer-publication accounting provide a guide for the computation. Accordingly, the mechanical and distribution costs include the part of the costs and other expenses of composition, press work, binding, mailing (including paper and wrappers used for mailing), and bulk postage attributable to the advertising lineage of the publication.
In the absence of specific and detailed records, the part of mechanical and distribution costs attributable to the periodical's advertising lineage can be based on the ratio of advertising lineage to total lineage in the periodical, if this allocation is reasonable. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067566
These are all expenses, depreciation, and similar items that are directly connected with the production and distribution of the readership content of the periodical. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067567
Deductions properly attributable to exempt activities other than publishing the periodical may not be allocated to the periodical. When expenses are attributable both to the periodical and to the organization's other activities, an allocation must be made on a reasonable basis. The method of allocation will vary with the nature of the item, but once adopted, should be used consistently. Allocations based on dollar receipts from various exempt activities generally are not reasonable since receipts usually do not accurately reflect the costs associated with specific activities that an exempt organization conducts. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067568
If an exempt organization publishes more than one periodical to produce income, it may treat all of them (but not less than all) as one in determining unrelated business taxable income from selling advertising. It treats the gross income from all the periodicals, and the deductions directly connected with them, on a consolidated basis. Consolidated treatment, once adopted, must be followed consistently and is binding. This treatment can be changed only with the consent of the Internal Revenue Service.
An exempt organization's periodical is published to produce income if:
- The periodical generates gross advertising income to the organization equal to at least 25% of its readership costs, and
- Publishing the periodical is an activity engaged in for profit.
Whether the publication of a periodical is an activity engaged in for profit can be determined only by all the facts and circumstances in each case. The facts and circumstances must show that the organization carries on the activity for economic profit, although there may not be a profit in a particular year. For example, if an organization begins publishing a new periodical whose total costs exceed total income in the start-up years because of lack of advertising sales, that does not mean that the organization did not have as its objective an economic profit. The organization may establish that it had this objective by showing it can reasonably expect advertising sales to increase, so that total income will exceed costs within a reasonable time. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067569
Y, an exempt trade association, publishes three periodicals that it distributes to its members: a weekly newsletter, a monthly magazine, and a quarterly journal. Both the monthly magazine and the quarterly journal contain advertising that accounts for gross advertising income equal to more than 25% of their respective readership costs. Similarly, the total income attributable to each periodical has exceeded the total deductions attributable to each periodical for substantially all the years they have been published. The newsletter carries no advertising and its annual subscription price is not intended to cover the cost of publication. The newsletter is a service that Y distributes to all of its members in an effort to keep them informed of changes occurring in the business world. It is not engaged in for profit.
Under these circumstances, Y may consolidate the income and deductions from the monthly and quarterly journals in computing its unrelated business taxable income. It may not consolidate the income and deductions from the newsletter with the income and deductions of its other periodicals, since the newsletter is not published for the production of income. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067570
The net operating loss ( NOL) deduction (as provided in section 172) is allowed in computing unrelated business taxable income. However, the NOL for any tax year, the carrybacks and carryovers of NOLs, and the NOL deduction are determined without taking into account any amount of income or deduction that has been specifically excluded in computing unrelated business taxable income. For example, a loss from an unrelated trade or business is not diminished because dividend income was received.
If this were not done, organizations would, in effect, be taxed on their exempt income, since unrelated business losses then would be offset by dividends, interest, and other excluded income. This would reduce the loss that could be applied against unrelated business income of prior or future tax years. Therefore, to preserve the immunity of exempt income, all NOL computations are limited to those items of income and deductions that affect the unrelated business taxable income.
In line with this concept, an NOL carryback or carryover is allowed only from a tax year for which the organization is subject to tax on unrelated business income.
For example, if an organization just became subject to the tax last year, its NOL for that year is not a carryback to a prior year when it had no unrelated business taxable income, nor is its NOL carryover to succeeding years reduced by the related income of those prior years.
However, in determining the span of years for which an NOL may be carried back or forward, the tax years for which the organization is not subject to the tax on unrelated business income are counted. For example, if an organization was subject to the tax for 1996 and had an NOL for that year, the last tax year to which any part of that loss may be carried over is 2016, regardless of whether the organization was subject to the unrelated business income tax in any of the intervening years. The following special rules also apply:
- Certain electric utility companies may elect a 5-year carryback period for NOLs arising in tax years 2003, 2004, and 2005. The NOL carryback amount is limited to 20% of the total capital expenditures for electric transmission property and pollution control facilities. The election may be made during any tax year ending after December 31, 2005, and before January 1, 2009.
- Certain qualified Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) losses are eligible for a special 5-year carryback period. See section 1400N(k).
- An organization may elect to treat any GO Zone public utility casualty loss as a special liability loss to which the 10-year carryback period applies. See section 1400N(j).
For more details on the NOL deduction, see section 172.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067572
An exempt organization is allowed to deduct its charitable contributions in computing its unrelated business taxable income whether or not the contributions are directly connected with the unrelated business.
To be deductible, the contribution must be paid to another qualified organization. For example, an exempt university that operates an unrelated business may deduct a contribution made to another university for educational work, but may not claim a deduction for contributions of amounts spent for carrying out its own educational program.
For purposes of the deduction, a distribution by a trust made under the trust instrument to a beneficiary, which itself is a qualified organization, is treated the same as a contribution. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067573
An exempt organization that is subject to the unrelated business income tax at corporate rates is allowed a deduction for charitable contributions up to 10% of its unrelated business taxable income computed without regard to the deduction for contributions. See the Instructions for Form 990-T for more information.
An exempt trust that is subject to the unrelated business income tax at trust rates generally is allowed a deduction for charitable contributions in the same amounts as allowed for individuals. However, the limit on the deduction is determined in relation to the trust's unrelated business taxable income computed without regard to the deduction, rather than in relation to adjusted gross income.
Contributions in excess of the limits just described may be carried over to the next 5 tax years. A contribution carryover is not allowed, however, to the extent that it increases an NOL carryover. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100094836
The limitations discussed above are temporarily suspended for certain qualified cash contributions for relief efforts in Midwestern disaster areas, contributions of food inventory by qualified farmer or rancher, and qualified conservation contributions of property used in agriculture or livestock production. See the Instructions for Form 990-T for details.taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067574
In computing unrelated business taxable income, a specific deduction of $1,000 is allowed. However, the specific deduction is not allowed in computing an NOL or the NOL deduction.
Generally, the deduction is limited to $1,000 regardless of the number of unrelated businesses in which the organization is engaged. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067575
An exception is provided in the case of a diocese, province of a religious order, or a convention or association of churches that may claim a specific deduction for each parish, individual church, district, or other local unit. In these cases, the specific deduction for each local unit is limited to the lower of:
- $1,000, or
- Gross income derived from an unrelated trade or business regularly carried on by the local unit.
This exception applies only to parishes, districts, or other local units that are not separate legal entities, but are components of a larger entity (diocese, province, convention, or association) filing Form 990-T. The parent organization must file a return reporting the unrelated business gross income and related deductions of all units that are not separate legal entities. The local units cannot file separate returns. However, each local unit that is separately incorporated must file its own return and cannot include, or be included with, any other entity. See Title-holding corporations in chapter 1 for a discussion of the only situation in which more than one legal entity may be included on the same Form 990-T. taxmap/pubs/p598-007.htm#en_us_publink100067576
X is an association of churches and is divided into local units A, B, C, and D. Last year, A, B, C, and D derived gross income of, respectively, $1,200, $800, $1,500, and $700 from unrelated businesses that they regularly conduct. X may claim a specific deduction of $1,000 with respect to A, $800 with respect to B, $1,000 with respect to C, and $700 with respect to D.