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Definition of Franchise Tax


The concept of franchise tax sounds relatively new to most people, but it has been in practice for several decades. A franchise tax is a periodic payment that a company makes to the state for the privilege of doing business in that state. Almost every state in the US collects a franchise tax from businesses, and the rate and calculation method tend to vary from one state to the other.

The amount of franchise tax a business pays depends on multiple factors, including income, net worth, and business structure. In this article, we will explore the definition of franchise tax, how it works, and the different types of franchise taxes that businesses may encounter.

What is a Franchise Tax?

A franchise tax is a type of tax that a business entity pays to the state government for the privilege of doing business in that state. It is worth noting that the responsibility of paying franchise tax falls on all business entities that operate in a given state, whether they are corporations, LLCs, partnerships, or sole proprietorships.

The name “franchise tax” may be misleading since it has nothing to do with a franchise business model. Instead, it refers to the fee that a company pays to receive authorization to operate as a business within the geographic boundaries of a state. As such, the definition of a franchise tax varies from one state to another, as do the methods and rates of calculation.

How Franchise Tax Works

Franchise tax is usually assessed annually, and the rate and calculation method vary from state to state. Some states calculate the tax based on the net worth of the business, while others use the business’s revenue or gross receipts. Regardless of the calculation method, the state’s Secretary of State’s office usually administers the collection of franchise taxes.

The due date for franchise tax payments varies by state, but many states require businesses to pay the tax on a specific date each year, such as the anniversary of the business’s formation. In some cases, a state may give a business a grace period within which to pay the tax, while others may impose penalties or interest for late payment.

It is essential to note that different states have different rules regarding franchise tax, and every business should be familiar with their state’s regulations. It is wise to consult a tax lawyer or accountant for guidance on how to pay franchise tax in your state.

Types of Franchise Taxes

1) Corporate Franchise Tax

Corporate franchise tax is usually imposed on corporations and is designed to compensate the state for the privilege of doing business in that state. In most states, the franchise tax levied on corporations is based on the corporation’s net worth or assets. The tax rate for corporations also varies from state to state, and some states may provide tax credits for businesses that invest in the state or participate in specific industries.

2) LLC Franchise Tax

In some states, LLCs are subject to franchise tax like corporations. The tax rate and method of calculation for LLCs vary by state. Some states may impose a flat fee or a fee based on the number of members in the LLC.

3) Partnership Franchise Tax

Like corporations and LLCs, partnerships may be subject to franchise tax. The tax rate for partnerships also varies from state to state, with some states using income, net worth, or gross receipts to calculate the tax.

4) S Corporation Franchise Tax

In many states, S corporations are exempt from paying franchise tax. However, in some states, S corporations must pay franchise tax at the individual level based on their share of the company’s earnings.

5) Franchise Tax Waivers

Some states offer franchise tax waivers to new businesses to encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth. A franchise tax waiver is a one-time exemption from paying franchise tax that is usually valid for a specific period, such as the first year of operation.


Franchise tax is mandatory for all types of businesses operating in almost every state in the US. The tax compensates the state for the privilege of allowing a business to operate within its boundaries. The rate and calculation method of franchise tax differ from state to state, and it is essential for companies to understand the regulations regarding franchise tax within their state of operation.

Businesses should consult tax experts to understand the impact and relevance of franchise tax on their operations. As a source of revenue for the state, franchise tax is crucial in financing state development projects and maintaining government operations. Franchise taxes ensure that businesses are held accountable and contribute to the growth and development of the state’s economy.

What is a Franchise Tax?

A franchise tax is a levy charged by some states in America. The franchise tax is placed on corporations that possess a filing obligation with the underlying states in which they operate.

The primary and common feature of a state’s franchise tax is that the levies is not calculated, deliver, nor based on the income of the paying corporation or franchise.

Instead of income, the franchise tax calculation is established based on the “net worth” of the responsible franchise. This calculation, meaning the level of taxation, is based on the number of shares the franchise issues to the general public. In some cases; however, the amount of the franchise’s assets can also be used to determine the franchise tax calculation.

The purpose of the franchise tax is to raise revenue for the state in which the franchise or corporation operates out of.

The presence and corresponding rate attached to the franchise tax is dependent on the individual state. For instance, the state of Delaware has a significant franchise tax, while other regions or states, such as Nevada, possess no franchise tax or a mitigated one.

In most cases, states with higher corporate income taxes typically have decreased franchise taxes and vice versa. This relationship can be observed in the case of Delaware, who has no corporate income tax for companies that are listed as operating within the boundaries of the state. Although no corporate income tax is present, the state of Delaware places a substantial tax to those businesses who operate outside of the state.