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Franchise Tax Definition, Rates, Exemptions, and Example


Franchise tax is a fee imposed by a state on businesses for the privilege of incorporating or operating within that state. The rates vary depending on the state and are typically calculated based on net worth or capital held in the state, rather than income or profit. Some states provide exemptions for certain types of businesses such as non-profit organizations, or those below specific revenue thresholds.


“Franchise Tax Definition, Rates, Exemptions, and Example” in phonetics is:- Franchise: /ˈfranʧʌɪz/- Tax: /tæks/- Definition: /ˌdefɪˈnɪʃ(ə)n/- Rates: /reɪts/- Exemptions: /ɪgˈzempʃ(ə)ns/- And: /ænd/- Example: /ɪgˈzɑːmp(ə)l/ So, the entire phrase would be: /ˈfranʧʌɪz tæks ˌdefɪˈnɪʃ(ə)n reɪts ɪgˈzempʃ(ə)ns ænd ɪgˈzɑːmp(ə)l/

Key Takeaways

  1. Franchise Tax Definition: Franchise tax is a tax imposed by a state government on businesses for the privilege of incorporating or doing business within that state. It’s not based on profit but on the net worth or capital held by the entity. It’s different from an income tax which is a tax on the profits made by the businesses.
  2. Franchise Tax Rates: The franchise tax rates vary by state. Some states may have a flat rate, while others may charge a variable rate depending on the type of business entity or the net worth or capital of the business. Not all states impose a franchise tax, and some states may instead charge a business or corporate income tax.
  3. Franchise Tax Exemptions: Certain types of businesses are exempt from franchise taxes. This commonly includes non-profit organizations, certain types of partnerships, and businesses that fall below a certain threshold of income or assets. The specific exemptions vary from state to state.
  4. Franchise Tax Example: For instance, in Delaware, one of the states known for a beneficent corporate tax structure, corporations pay a franchise tax that ranges from $175 to $200,000 annually, depending on the type of corporation and the amount of shares and assets it has.


The business/finance term “Franchise Tax” is important as it refers to the tax levied by a state on businesses for the right of operating within its jurisdiction. This tax, which targets businesses chartered within or doing business in that state, influences the after-tax profit of the company, and consequently the price of goods and services provided to consumers. Understanding the definition, rates, and exemptions associated with the franchise tax is crucial for businesses to help in efficient tax planning and to maintain compliance with state tax laws. The significance of franchise tax is further heightened as its rates and exemptions vary from state to state, and specific examples help companies practically understand its impact on their finances. Therefore, understanding what franchise tax is, knowing the rates, being aware of exemptions, and learning from examples can aid businesses in reducing their tax liability, and helps individuals comprehend the cost structure of businesses operating in their state.


The main purpose of a franchise tax is to allow a corporation or LLC to conduct business within a particular jurisdiction or state. It is a tax imposed on businesses by state governments, essentially for the right to exist as a legal entity and do business within a state’s borders. It is a cost of running a business that is often passed on to consumers, and it is imposed whether a business is profitable or not. Importantly, franchise taxes not based on a corporation’s profit; it is typically calculated based on the net worth of or capital held by the entity.Franchise tax is used as a means for states to collect revenue. These funds can then be used to maintain the legal infrastructure that allows businesses to operate, in addition to supporting other state services. For example, some jurisdictions may use the revenue generated from franchise taxes to fund things like public transportation, health services, or education. Businesses often consider the amount of franchise tax they will owe when deciding where to incorporate or form their LLC, as it can significantly affect their cost of doing business. Some states also establish exemptions for businesses under certain circumstances, such as achieving specific revenue thresholds, thereby encouraging small business growth or attracting certain industries.


Franchise Tax refers to the tax levied by a state government on corporations, LLCs, and other businesses for the privilege of either doing business in that state, being incorporated in that state, or both. The rate can vary by state and type of business. Here are three real-world examples:1. **McDonald’s Corporation**: McDonald’s is a global fast-food franchise with branches in almost all U.S. states, among other countries. Even though the corporation is headquartered in Illinois, it’s required to pay franchise tax in every state where it operates. The rate varies depending on the particular state’s taxation policies.2. **Texas Franchise Tax**: In the state of Texas, corporations are required to pay a franchise tax as a fee for conducting business in the state. The tax rate ranges from 0.325 – 0.75%, depending on the revenue of the business. Certain small businesses with revenues lower than a specific threshold might be exempt from this tax. Thus, a company like Dell, which is based in Texas, is required to pay this tax.3. **Delaware Franchise Tax**: Delaware has been known for its business-friendly policies and is the state of choice for many corporations’ legal homes. As of 2022, the minimum franchise tax in Delaware is $175 for companies with 5,000 shares or less, and can go up to $200,000 for companies with more than 10 million shares. Companies incorporated in Delaware, such as Apple and Google, must pay this franchise tax regardless of whether they conduct any business operations within the state.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the meaning of Franchise Tax?

A franchise tax is a levy paid by certain entities that incorporate or do business within a state. It is essentially a privilege tax, meaning it grants the privilege of forming and operating a business in a particular state.

How are Franchise Tax rates determined?

Franchise tax rates can be flat or varied, depending on the state. Some states may calculate the tax based on net income, gross receipts, or a combination of both, while some others use a fixed rate.

When is Franchise Tax paid?

The payment timing for a franchise tax often varies by state, but it usually aligns with important business filing dates. Often this tax is due annually.

Does every business have to pay a Franchise Tax?

Not necessarily. The franchise tax only applies to organizations that conduct business within states that impose the tax. Also, the types of businesses that are subjected to the franchise tax may vary from state to state.

Are there exemptions available for Franchise Tax?

Yes, some states do provide franchise tax exemptions for certain types of businesses such as non-profits, educational organizations, and other entities. Check with your local tax authority or a tax professional to determine potential exemptions.

What is an example of Franchise Tax?

For example, let’s say a business operating in a state with a franchise tax rate of 0.1% and using net income to calculate the tax. If the company’s net income for the year is $500,000, the franchise tax the company would owe the state would be $500 ($500,000 x 0.001).

What happens if a business does not pay the Franchise Tax on time?

Penalties for late payment or non-payment of franchise taxes vary by state. They can range from fines to the revocation of the company’s right to conduct business in the state. It’s crucial to understand your state’s requirements and adhere to them.

What role does Franchise Tax play in the overall business tax structure?

Franchise tax is considered part of the cost of doing business in a given state. Therefore, a business needs to factor in this cost when determining its tax strategies and budgets for each fiscal year.

Related Finance Terms

  • Franchise Tax Base: This is the amount on which the tax would be calculated. It could be net income, capital, net worth or any other measure as decided by the taxing jurisdiction.
  • Franchise Tax Rate: The rate at which the franchise tax is charged. These rates vary widely by jurisdiction and can be either flat rates or vary based on the size of the business.
  • Franchise Tax Exemptions: Some businesses might be exempt from paying franchise tax based on the nature of their operations, assets, income or other criteria as laid out by the taxing jurisdiction.
  • Franchise Tax Example: For example, if a company has a net worth of $1 million and the franchise tax rate is 0.5%, then the franchise tax for that company would be $5,000.
  • Franchise Tax Filings: The process by which a business can file and report its earnings and assets for franchise tax purposes. Includes the filing deadlines and potential fines or penalties for late filings.

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