Some things to know about general business credit

General business credit is the cumulative total of some credits and calculates the tax credit available to businesses engaged in various activities. To determine the total credit for a business that can be applied, you must start by calculating each credit on your own form and then apply the credit to the applicable totals on Form 3800.

General business credit
General business credit

Each business credit has a target index, but the goal of this account is to help and promote quality instead of and support in the environment. Here is a list of some general business credit parameters used.


This post includes three parts, they are “What is the general business credit?”, “The business tax credit in general business credit” and “Some things to keep in mind about the general business credit”

1. What is the general business credit

General Business Credit (GBC) is made up of a number of separate credits that are incorporated into the so-called Common Business Credit. In other words, general business credit may be just one or more of many credits available. Each separate credit is calculated on a form for that particular credit.

This credit is subject to a limit based on your tax liability, which is included in the form used to calculate the specific credit. If you qualify for more than one of the credits that make up the general business credit, you must file Form 3800, Business Credit.

If you only request a credit, Form 3800 is not required. A credit is considered your general business credit. Keep track of the individual credits you request as they are considered exhausted in a certain order. See instructions on Form 3800.

2. The business tax credit in general business credit

The new business credits:

  • Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
  • HIRE Act (Jobs Bill) Tax Credits

The on-going tax credits:

  • The alternative motor vehicle credit (Form 8910).
  • The renewable diesel fuels and biodiesel credit (Form 8864).
  • The Medicare taxes and credit for employer social security paid on certain employee tips (Form 8846).
  • The business credit for employer differential wage payments (Form 8932).
  • The business credit for employer-provided childcare facilities and services (Form 8882).
  • The business credit for increasing research activities (Form 6765).
  • The business credit for small employer pension plan startup costs (Form 8881).
  • Much renewable energy, non-conventional fuels, and credits alternative fuels are available.
  • The disabled access credit (Form 8826).
  • The renewal community employment credit and empowerment zone (Form 8844).
  • The new markets credit (Form 8874).
  • The Indian employment credit (Form 8845).
  • The non-conventional source fuel credit (Form 8907).
  • The work opportunity credit (Form 5884). 

3. Some things to keep in mind about the general business credit

3.1. Each business credit is generally computed on a tax form for that particular credit.

3.2. If people claim only one credit:

  • The form 3800 is not required.
  • The one credit people are claiming is the general business credit.
  • The credit claimed is subject to a limit based on the tax liability, calculated on the form used to calculate that specific credit.
  • People enter the allowable credit as the general business credit on Form 1040, Line 54.

3.3. If people claim more than one credit:

  • The Form 3800 must be filed.
  • Each business credit is computed first on its own particular tax form before completing Form 3800.
  • The combined credit is subject to a limitation based on the tax liability.
  • To figure the limit people must compute tentative alternative minimum tax on Form 6251 even if the computation on Form 6251 shows people do not have an actual AMT liability for the year.
  • The limit for the general business credit on Form 3800 is the regular tax liability, plus actual AMT liability from Form 6251, minus whichever of the following is larger: The tentative AMT from Form 6251 and 25% of the regular income tax liability over $25,000.
General business credit
General business credit

3.4. General business credits are considered to be used up in a specific order (see the instructions to Form 3800).

3.5. Carrybacks and carryforwards

  • If people cannot claim the full credit in the current tax year because of the tax liability limitation people may be able to carry back the excess one year, starting with the earliest year.
  • The carryforward period is 15 years, for credits arising before 1998.
  • The carryforwards and carrybacks are listed on Form 3800.

3.6. Your limit for the general business credit on Form 3800 is

  • The regular tax liability
  • Actual alternative minimum Tax from Form 6251 (if any)
  • Whichever of the following is large: The tentative AMT from Form 6251 or and 25% of the regular income tax liability over $25,000.

3.7. Passive activities

If people have business credits from a passive activity people must figure the credits on Form 8582-CR.

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