Form 1118: Foreign Tax Credit for Corporations

Woman filing Form 1118

Form 1118 is a tax form used by U.S. corporations with foreign subsidiaries or branches engaged in business activities abroad. It is designed to calculate and report the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC), which prevents double taxation on income earned in foreign countries and taxed by both the foreign country and the United States. 

Form 1118 involves complex calculations, various baskets for different types of foreign income, and considerations for tax treaties and anti-abuse rules. Proper documentation and accurate reporting are essential to ensure compliance and to prevent double taxation of foreign income.

Woman filing Form 1118

Key Takeaways

  • Form 1118 is used by U.S. corporations with foreign subsidiaries or branches to claim the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). This credit prevents double taxation by allowing corporations to offset U.S. tax liability with taxes paid to foreign governments on the same income.
  • Calculating the FTC involves intricate calculations and categorizing foreign income into different “baskets” (general, passive, and overall limitation) with specific rules and restrictions. The process considers foreign taxes paid, different income types, and potential carryover or carryback of excess credits.
  • Adequate record-keeping and documentation are crucial. Corporations must maintain accurate records of foreign income, taxes paid, and relevant tax treaties or agreements. Additionally, adherence to anti-abuse provisions and accurate reporting on Form 1118 are essential to avoid errors, delays, or penalties.
  • Corporations can strategically utilize Form 1118 to optimize their foreign tax credit claims. By understanding the various baskets, limitations, and tax treaties, businesses can minimize their overall tax liability and effectively manage their global tax obligations.

What is Form 1118?

Form 1118 allows foreign corporations to report income already taxed by a foreign government, making it eligible for exemption from U.S. taxes. The form requires certification of foreign tax payment and the absence of tax benefits from interest deductions. It’s also used by foreign corporations with U.S. income taxed by another country instead of the U.S.

This credit only applies to income taxes, not value-added or sales taxes—even in countries where a value-added tax is used as a substitute for income taxes.

Who Must File Form 1118?

Form 1118 must be filed by U.S. corporations that meet specific criteria related to their foreign operations. Specifically, U.S. corporations that have foreign subsidiaries, branches, or interests in controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) or passive foreign investment companies (PFICs) and are claiming the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) must file Form 1118. The form calculates and reports the FTC and related information.

In summary, U.S. corporations engaged in international business activities with foreign-source income, foreign taxes paid, and potential FTC claims are the entities that must file Form 1118 to accurately report their foreign tax credit information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Is There a Penalty for Not Filing Form 1118?

There is no penalty for failing to file Form 1118, but you could pay unnecessary taxes if you do not file.

How Long Does it Take to File Form 1118?

Completing Form 1118 is intricate and time-intensive. The IRS estimates that it takes around 25 hours due to the form’s 14-page length and the need for extensive details about the foreign corporation, relevant taxable income, and deductions/credits. The form necessitates segmenting income into multiple categories and performing complex calculations to determine the eligible credit. 

When is Form 1118 due?

The due date for Form 1118 is generally the same as the due date for the corporation’s income tax return (Form 1120 or Form 1120-F). This due date is usually the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the corporation’s tax year. If the due date falls on a weekend or Federal Holiday, then it is pushed to the next business day.

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What are the Common Errors Seen on Form 1118?

Form 1118 involves complex calculations and requires detailed reporting of foreign income, foreign taxes paid, and various adjustments. Due to its intricacies, taxpayers might make several common errors when completing the form. Some of these errors include:

  • Incorrect Categorization: Income and taxes must be correctly allocated to different categories or “baskets” on Form 1118. Mistakes in categorizing income types can lead to errors in the foreign tax credit calculation.
  • Mathematical Errors: The form involves multiple calculations, and mathematical errors can result in inaccurate credit calculations and reporting.
  • Missing Attachments: Form 1118 often requires various schedules and attachments to provide detailed information. Failure to include these attachments or not properly completing them can lead to delays or rejection of the form.
  • Misreporting Foreign Taxes: Accurately reporting foreign taxes paid or accrued is crucial. Errors in entering foreign tax amounts can result in incorrect credit calculations.
  • Overclaiming Credits: Claiming credits that exceed the allowable limits based on the specific baskets and limitations can lead to inaccuracies and potential issues with the IRS.
  • Omission of Information: Failing to report all foreign income, deductions, and relevant details can lead to incomplete or inaccurate calculations.
  • Lack of Documentation: Proper documentation of foreign income, foreign taxes paid, and supporting documents for tax treaties or agreements is essential. Inadequate documentation can result in challenges if the IRS audits the return.
  • Failure to Consider Tax Treaties: Tax treaties between the U.S. and foreign countries can impact the calculation of the foreign tax credit. Not considering these treaties can result in incorrect credit amounts.
  • Miscalculating Limitations: Form 1118 involves various limitations on the foreign tax credit that depend on different income categories. Failing to accurately calculate these limitations can lead to errors.
  • Ignoring Anti-Abuse Rules: The IRS has anti-abuse rules to prevent misuse of the foreign tax credit. Failure to comply can lead to incorrect credit calculations and potential penalties.

Can Cleer Help me File Form 1118?

YES! Cleer not only ensures tax filing compliance, but compliance with all agencies. For more information, email customer success at

Author Bio
Henry Shin
Henry loves to roll his sleeves up and dive into complex tax matters. As an IRS Enrolled Agent, Henry represents clients in front of the IRS, but what he really prefers is solving client issues BEFORE they become issues with the IRS! Henry tackles a lot of complex tax forms like Forms 5472 and 5471 for clients worldwide. Henry is also working towards his CPA certification in Texas where he lives.
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