United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 07, 2022

§ 38.
General business credit
(a)
Allowance of credit
There shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year an amount equal to the sum of—
(1)
the business credit carryforwards carried to such taxable year,
(2)
the amount of the current year business credit, plus
(3)
the business credit carrybacks carried to such taxable year.
(b)
Current year business credit
For purposes of this subpart, the amount of the current year business credit is the sum of the following credits determined for the taxable year:
(1)
the investment credit determined under section 46,
(2)
the work opportunity credit determined under section 51(a),
(3)
the alcohol fuels credit determined under section 40(a),
(4)
the research credit determined under section 41(a),
(5)
the low-income housing credit determined under section 42(a),
(6)
the enhanced oil recovery credit under section 43(a),
(7)
in the case of an eligible small business (as defined in section 44(b)), the disabled access credit determined under section 44(a),
(8)
the renewable electricity production credit under section 45(a),
(9)
the empowerment zone employment credit determined under section 1396(a),
(10)
the Indian employment credit as determined under section 45A(a),
(11)
the employer social security credit determined under section 45B(a),
(12)
the orphan drug credit determined under section 45C(a),
(13)
the new markets tax credit determined under section 45D(a),
(14)
in the case of an eligible employer (as defined in section 45E(c)), the small employer pension plan startup cost credit determined under section 45E(a),
(15)
the employer-provided child care credit determined under section 45F(a),
(16)
the railroad track maintenance credit determined under section 45G(a),
(17)
the biodiesel fuels credit determined under section 40A(a),
(18)
the low sulfur diesel fuel production credit determined under section 45H(a),
(19)
the marginal oil and gas well production credit determined under section 45I(a),
(20)
the distilled spirits credit determined under section 5011(a),
(21)
the advanced nuclear power facility production credit determined under section 45J(a),
(22)
the nonconventional source production credit determined under section 45K(a),
(23)
the new energy efficient home credit determined under section 45L(a),
(24)
the portion of the alternative motor vehicle credit to which section 30B(g)(1) applies,
(25)
the portion of the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit to which section 30C(d)(1) applies,
(26)
the mine rescue team training credit determined under section 45N(a),
(27)
in the case of an eligible agricultural business (as defined in section 45O(e)), the agricultural chemicals security credit determined under section 45O(a),
(28)
the differential wage payment credit determined under section 45P(a),
(29)
the carbon dioxide sequestration credit determined under section 45Q(a),
(30)
the portion of the new clean vehicle credit to which section 30D(c)(1) applies,
(31)
the small employer health insurance credit determined under section 45R,
(32)
in the case of an eligible employer (as defined in section 45S(c)), the paid family and medical leave credit determined under section 45S(a), plus
(33)
in the case of an eligible employer (as defined in section 45T(c)), the retirement auto-enrollment credit determined under section 45T(a).
(35)
1
1
 See Amendment of Subsection (b) note below.
the sustainable aviation fuel credit determined under section 40B,
(36)
the clean hydrogen production credit determined under section 45V(a),
(37)
the qualified commercial clean vehicle credit determined under section 45W, plus
(38)
the advanced manufacturing production credit determined under section 45X(a).
(c)
Limitation based on amount of tax
(1)
In general
The credit allowed under subsection (a) for any taxable year shall not exceed the excess (if any) of the taxpayer’s net income tax over the greater of—
(A)
the tentative minimum tax for the taxable year, or
(B)
25 percent of so much of the taxpayer’s net regular tax liability as exceeds $25,000.
For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term “net income tax” means the sum of the regular tax liability and the tax imposed by section 55, reduced by the credits allowable under subparts A and B of this part, and the term “net regular tax liability” means the regular tax liability reduced by the sum of the credits allowable under subparts A and B of this part.
(2)
Empowerment zone employment credit may offset 25 percent of minimum tax
(A)
In general
In the case of the empowerment zone employment credit—
(i)
this section and section 39 shall be applied separately with respect to such credit, and
(ii)
for purposes of applying paragraph (1) to such credit—
(I)
75 percent of the tentative minimum tax shall be substituted for the tentative minimum tax under subparagraph (A) thereof, and
(II)
the limitation under paragraph (1) (as modified by subclause (I)) shall be reduced by the credit allowed under subsection (a) for the taxable year (other than the empowerment zone employment credit and the specified credits).
(B)
Empowerment zone employment credit

For purposes of this paragraph, the term “empowerment zone employment credit” means the portion of the credit under subsection (a) which is attributable to the credit determined under section 1396 (relating to empowerment zone employment credit).

[(3)
Repealed. Pub. L. 115–141, div. U, title IV, § 401(d)(6)(B)(iii), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1211]
(4)
Special rules for specified credits
(A)
In general
In the case of specified credits—
(i)
this section and section 39 shall be applied separately with respect to such credits, and
(ii)
in applying paragraph (1) to such credits—
(I)
the tentative minimum tax shall be treated as being zero, and
(II)
the limitation under paragraph (1) (as modified by subclause (I)) shall be reduced by the credit allowed under subsection (a) for the taxable year (other than the specified credits).
(B)
Specified credits
For purposes of this subsection, the term “specified credits” means—
(i)
for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2004, the credit determined under section 40,
(ii)
the credit determined under section 41 for the taxable year with respect to an eligible small business (as defined in paragraph (5)(A) after application of the rules of paragraph (5)(B)),
(iii)
the credit determined under section 42 to the extent attributable to buildings placed in service after December 31, 2007,
(iv)
the credit determined under section 45 to the extent that such credit is attributable to electricity or refined coal produced—
(I)
at a facility which is originally placed in service after the date of the enactment of this paragraph, and
(II)
during the 4-year period beginning on the date that such facility was originally placed in service,
(v)
the credit determined under section 45 to the extent that such credit is attributable to section 45(e)(10) (relating to Indian coal production facilities),
(vi)
the credit determined under section 45B,
(vii)
the credit determined under section 45G,
(viii)
the credit determined under section 45R,
(ix)
the credit determined under section 45S,
(x)
the credit determined under section 46 to the extent that such credit is attributable to the energy credit determined under section 48,
(xi)
the credit determined under section 46 to the extent that such credit is attributable to the rehabilitation credit under section 47, but only with respect to qualified rehabilitation expenditures properly taken into account for periods after December 31, 2007, and
(xii)
the credit determined under section 51.
(5)
Rules related to eligible small businesses
(A)
Eligible small business
For purposes of this subsection, the term “eligible small business” means, with respect to any taxable year—
(i)
a corporation the stock of which is not publicly traded,
(ii)
a partnership, or
(iii)
a sole proprietorship,
if the average annual gross receipts of such corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship for the 3-taxable-year period preceding such taxable year does not exceed $50,000,000. For purposes of applying the test under the preceding sentence, rules similar to the rules of paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 448(c) shall apply.
(B)
Treatment of partners and S corporation shareholders

For purposes of paragraph (4)(B)(ii), any credit determined under section 41 with respect to a partnership or S corporation shall not be treated as a specified credit by any partner or shareholder unless such partner or shareholder meets the gross receipts test under subparagraph (A) for the taxable year in which such credit is treated as a current year business credit.

(6)
Special rules
(A)
Married individuals

In the case of a husband or wife who files a separate return, the amount specified under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall be $12,500 in lieu of $25,000. This subparagraph shall not apply if the spouse of the taxpayer has no business credit carryforward or carryback to, and has no current year business credit for, the taxable year of such spouse which ends within or with the taxpayer’s taxable year.

(B)
Controlled groups

In the case of a controlled group, the $25,000 amount specified under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall be reduced for each component member of such group by apportioning $25,000 among the component members of such group in such manner as the Secretary shall by regulations prescribe. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term “controlled group” has the meaning given to such term by section 1563(a).

(C)
Limitations with respect to certain persons

In the case of a person described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 46(e)(1) (as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990), the $25,000 amount specified under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall equal such person’s ratable share (as determined under section 46(e)(2) (as so in effect) of such amount.

(D)
Estates and trusts

In the case of an estate or trust, the $25,000 amount specified under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall be reduced to an amount which bears the same ratio to $25,000 as the portion of the income of the estate or trust which is not allocated to beneficiaries bears to the total income of the estate or trust.

(E)
Corporations
In the case of a corporation—
(i)
the first sentence of paragraph (1) shall be applied by substituting “25 percent of the taxpayer’s net income tax as exceeds $25,000” for “the greater of” and all that follows,
(ii)
paragraph (2)(A) shall be applied without regard to clause (ii)(I) thereof, and
(iii)
paragraph (4)(A) shall be applied without regard to clause (ii)(I) thereof.
(d)
Ordering rules
For purposes of any provision of this title where it is necessary to ascertain the extent to which the credits determined under any section referred to in subsection (b) are used in a taxable year or as a carryback or carryforward—
(1)
In general

The order in which such credits are used shall be determined on the basis of the order in which they are listed in subsection (b) as of the close of the taxable year in which the credit is used.

(2)
Components of investment credit

The order in which the credits listed in section 46 are used shall be determined on the basis of the order in which such credits are listed in section 46 as of the close of the taxable year in which the credit is used.

(Added and amended Pub. L. 98–369, div. A, title IV, § 473, title VI, § 612(e)(1), July 18, 1984, 98 Stat. 827, 912;
cite as: 26 USC 38