The Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit (KSBTC): Top 5 Benefits to Kentucky Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups, and Small Businesses

Kentucky is a great state for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and investors alike. This article, focused on the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit, is the first in a series of Biz&TaxHax articles that will outline some of the key benefits that exist in Kentucky for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and investors. The Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit has broad application to Kentucky companies, providing the following top five benefits to Kentucky small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs:

  1. Broad Eligibility: Many Companies Can Qualify for the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit.

Assuming other requirements are met, the KSBTC is available to for-profit companies with 50 or fewer full-time employees. Additionally, this tax credit includes businesses in the retail, service, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale industries. This means that if you are a Kentucky entrepreneur, own a Kentucky start-up, or run a Kentucky small business, there’s a good chance you could qualify for the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit.

  1. Rewards Investment in New Kentucky Jobs and New Kentucky Equipment and Technology.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups that are on their way to becoming established small businesses, and small businesses that are growing into larger ones, are continuously purchasing additional technology and equipment and hiring new team members. The good news is, the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit rewards Kentucky entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses for those very actions: hiring new employees and buying new technology and equipment.

Biz&TaxHax Tip: It is great the KSBTC focuses on rewarding expenses that Kentucky companies are already incurring, but it is important to note that there are specific requirements and thresholds for qualification relating to: (1) eligible employees hired (must be new, full-time position; certain requirements for wages paid and hours worked); (2) qualifying equipment and technology (does not include real property, consumable supplies, or inventory (generally); expenditure of at least $5,000); and (3) the timing of the new hires and equipment/technology expenses (generally, a company must have hired an employee for at least one new full-time position and invested at least $5,000 in qualifying new equipment or technology in the past 24 months), to name a few. An experienced Kentucky tax attorney or Kentucky tax consultant can help navigate these specific requirements to determine if your company is eligible for the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit.

  1. Up to $25,000 in Credit Each Year.

The KSBTC provides a credit against tax liability for each calendar year that a Kentucky entrepreneur, start-up, or small business qualifies. Depending on the number of eligible new positions created and the amount of investment in qualifying technology or equipment, the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit ranges from $3,500 up to $25,000 per calendar year.

Biz&TaxHax Tip: Given the timing requirements noted in the tip to #2 above, it is a good idea to discuss your hiring and investment plans with your business attorney or tax lawyer early and often. If your timing for hiring and investment is flexible from a business standpoint, your tax attorney or business lawyer can help you plan for maximizing the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit in a particular year or over a period of years.

  1. Carryforward of Unused Credits.

A credit approved under the KSBTC program is first applied against any tax due on the return for the calendar year for which the credit was granted. But, if the credit is not fully utilized in the award year, the taxpayer may carry forward the remaining amount of credit to offset against tax due for up to the next five years. This is important for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses, as often times in the initial years they are in expenditure and growth mode, and may not have significant taxable income and tax liability. This five year carry forward enables small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs to recognize the benefit of the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit in later years when they may generate more taxable income and have more tax liability.

Biz&TaxHax Tip: The KSBTC is a non-refundable credit, meaning that a taxpayer cannot obtain a cash refund for the difference between the credit and the taxpayer’s tax liability for a particular year. Rather, as noted above, the taxpayer may carry forward any unused portion of the credit for offsetting future tax liability, for up to five years.

  1. Broad Applicability to Different Tax Liabilities.

The KSBTC may be used by a taxpayer to offset tax liability on a Kentucky individual income tax return, limited liability entity tax return, or corporation income tax return. So, the KSBTC’s broad applicability benefits a wide range of taxpayers, from entrepreneurs and pass-through entity owners who may be primarily concerned with the individual income tax and limited liability entity tax, to small businesses that may be subject to the corporation income tax.

Biz&TaxHax Tip: Depending on a particular taxpayer’s structure (such as sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company, S corporation, C corporation) and other factors, the taxpayer may be subject to one or more of the taxes noted in #5 above. So, it is best to consult an experienced Kentucky tax lawyer or Kentucky tax consultant to ensure proper tax compliance and utilization of the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit.

As always, for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses considering eligibility for the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit and related planning, as well as Kentucky tax reporting and payment obligations, it is best to consult an experienced Kentucky tax attorney or Kentucky tax consultant. A Kentucky tax lawyer or Kentucky tax consultant can fully evaluate your facts and circumstances along with applicable law and guidance to develop the most effective, efficient, and proper solution to your Kentucky tax compliance and planning needs.

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