Do You Export? Think About an IC-DISC

Interest Charge – Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISC) serve as conduits for tax savings on qualified export sales.

Here’s how an IC-DISC works:

  • Midsized exporting company forms a corporation (i.e., the IC-DISC), which generally mirrors the ownership structure of the exporting company.
  • The IC-DISC charges the exporting company a commission on qualified export sales.
  • The exporting company fully deducts the commission expense.
  • The IC-DISC distributes profits to its shareholders via dividends
  • U.S. income tax is imposed on the IC-DISC shareholder’s dividends.

Instead of the exporting company paying up to a 35 percent corporate tax, the tax burden (related to the commissions paid) falls to IC-DISC shareholders, who pay a 15 percent individual tax rate. Because of the reduced 15% dividend tax rate on individuals, taxpayers realize a 20 percent tax savings. In effect, this allows businesses to more than double their tax savings on qualified export sales.

No employees are required within the IC-DISC and the entity has no effect on exporting operations. Also, an IC-DISC may be established at any time during the year. IC-DISCs are particularly well-suited for midsized companies because individual shareholders — not companies — will benefit from the tax rate reduction.