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Accumulated Earnings Tax

Accumulated Earnings Tax

What Is an Accumulated Earnings Tax?

An accumulated earnings tax is a tax forced by the federal government on companies with retained earnings considered to be unreasonable and in excess of what is viewed as ordinary. Basically, this tax urges companies to issue dividends, instead of hold their earnings. The IRS considers certain exemptions to the tax rule.

Understanding an Accumulated Earnings Tax

Corporations that gather their earnings or profits, rather than distributing them as dividends to shareholders, will be exposed to the accumulated earnings tax on the off chance that the amount of earnings retained is over a certain level. These companies might gather earnings of up to $250,000 without causing an accumulated earnings tax; any amount higher is considered by the Internal Revenue Service as past the reasonable necessities of the business. The accumulated tax rate is 20% of the accumulated earnings.

Justification for an Accumulated Earnings Tax

The government forced the accumulated rate tax to deflect shareholders from negatively impacting a company's decision to pay dividends and subsequently trying not to need to pay taxes on dividends. On the off chance that a company circulates no dividends by keeping a portion of retained earnings as accumulated earnings, shareholders are able to stay away from this tax.

Companies that hold earnings regularly experience higher stock price appreciation. Albeit this is beneficial to stockholders as capital gains taxes are lower than dividend taxes, it is adverse to the government since tax revenues decline. By adding an extra tax upon an association's retained earnings, the government will either collect additional taxes from the company or convince them to issue dividends, in this manner, permitting the government to collect from the shareholders.

Accumulated Earnings Tax Exemptions

A corporation has an exemption amount of $250,000. This means that a base accumulation earnings of $250,000 is permitted, and any amount that surpasses the exemption is taxed at 20%. For companies whose principal function is performing services in the fields of accounting, actuarial science, architecture, counseling, engineering, wellbeing, law, and the performing expressions, the exemption amount is $150,000.

A corporation that has an accumulation of earnings might be liable to pay the accumulated earnings tax except if the business can show that the earnings over the threshold are for reasonable necessities of the business, some of which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) characterizes as:

  • "Explicit, unequivocal, and practical plans for the utilization of the earnings accumulation
  • Product liability loss where the accumulated amount is required for the payment of sensibly anticipated product liability losses
  • Different redemption needs"


  • The IRS likewise permits certain exemptions in view of the required requirement for the accumulated earnings.
  • The accumulated earnings tax rate is 20%.
  • Dividends are taxed higher than capital gains so it is monetarily beneficial for shareholders to try not to pay taxes on dividends.
  • The government taxes accumulated earnings in order to keep corporations from not paying dividends to its shareholders.
  • An accumulated earnings tax is a tax on retained earnings that are thought of as unreasonable, which ought to be paid out as dividends.
  • Exemption levels in the amounts of $250,000 and $150,000, contingent upon the company, exist.