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Opinion
Justin Fox

A Gift From Republicans to All Those LLCs and LPs

The House and Senate tax-cut plans offer such "uncorporations" a $450 billion break.
Before Chrysler LLC.

Before Chrysler LLC.

Photographer: Robert Alexander, via Getty Images

Something small yet big has changed about American business over the past few decades. You know, the letters after company names. As the late, great University of Illinois legal scholar Larry Ribstein put it at the beginning of his 2009 book "The Rise of the Uncorporation":

Yes, it does signify something of importance! Several things, actually. The one that's in the news right now has to do with taxes. Ribstein's "uncorporations" are also known as pass-through entities, because their profits are usually passed through to their owners and subjected to the individual income tax rather than taxed at the firm level. As part of their broader effort to reduce taxes on business, House and Senate Republicans are now proposing to reduce the individual income taxes paid by pass-through owners by about $450 billion over 10 years. That's almost one third of the total cuts envisioned in the legislation, all going straight to the uncorporations.
  
It seems like a good time, then, to take a look at where these creatures have come from and how they've grown. My, how they've grown: