IRS data shows an increase in the number of sole proprietorships and S corporations in recent years.

The summer 2009 edition of the IRS’s Statistics of Income Bulletin features sole proprietorship data for tax year 2007. About 23.1 million individual income tax returns reported nonfarm sole proprietorship activity, a 4.7 percent increase since tax year 2006. Reported profits for these sole proprietorships were $280.6 billion in 2007.

The IRS also reported in the bulletin that the number of S corporations increased 5.1 percent to 3.9 million for tax year 2006, so that S corporations represent nearly two-thirds of all U.S. corporations. The number of shareholders in S corporations increased 5.1 percent to 6.7 million. Total net income (less deficit) increased 7.0 percent to $386.2 billion.

The IRS also highlighted trends in foreign-controlled domestic S corporations and foreign tax credits. The number of U.S. income tax returns filed by foreign-controlled domestic corporations increased by 3.4 percent for tax year 2006, to about 63,950. FCDCs accounted for 1.1 percent of all corporation income returns filed. FCDC assets totaled $9.7 trillion, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year, while assets for all corporations totaled $73.1 trillion, a 10.0 percent increase.

For tax year 2005, about 5,840 U.S. corporations claimed more than $84 billion in foreign tax credits, reducing their U.S. tax on worldwide income by 30.3 percent, from $278.2 billion to $194 billion.

In terms of individual returns, for tax year 2006, 24.7 million individual income taxpayers itemized $52.6 billion in deductions for noncash charitable contributions. Of these taxpayers, 6.2 million reported $46.8 billion in deductions for charitable contributions in excess of $500, as shown on Form 8283, "Noncash Charitable Contributions." Though filers of this form declined by 5.9 percent between tax years 2005 and 2006, the amount of charitable contributions increased 14.1 percent, from $41.1 billion in tax year 2005.