Difference Between GAAP and 704 B (With Table)

The most critical aspect of partnership taxation is keeping track of partners’ capital accounts appropriately. the financial position of the company and taxing parties must be disclosed appropriately by all the tax experts. Understanding the differences in partnership and LLC reporting is critical for tax professionals who work with both entities.

GAAP vs 704 B

The main difference between GAAP and 704 B is that GAAP balances indicate balances that comply with accounting board rules. GAAP accounts generally also reflect a partner’s economic stake in the organization. Whereas 704B balances display a partner’s capital balance in accordance with federal income tax principles and include gains and losses.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) mandates the use of GAAP capital accounting. A partnership that is not openly traded yet is registered is not subject to GAAP. Many partnerships, on the other hand, are required to maintain GAAP-compliant records and accounts by auditors, lenders, or other regulatory bodies.

Partners share in all partnership income and losses as well as gains and losses, deductions, and credits. Instead of allocating taxable income. A common requirement in partnership agreements is to divide taxable income and losses in the same way. Section 704(b) income allocations are not equal to dividends from the partnership.

Comparison Table Between GAAP and 704 B

Parameters of ComparisonGAAP704 B
Balance indicationAccounting board guidelines are followedShows balance of a partner in line with federal income tax principles
ResponsibilityGAAP does not apply to a partnership that is not publicly traded but is still registered.Partners have an equal stake in the partnership’s profits and losses.
necessityMany partnerships are obliged to keep documents.They need to split taxable income and losses equally
Usagefinancial statements are used to evaluate firms for investment purposes are uniformIt shows the importance of partner allocation in the economy
Market value an asset’s fair market value is only changed in certain circumstances.There is no requirement to determine the fair market value

What is GAAP?

Businesses adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to guarantee that financial statements used to evaluate companies for investment purposes are uniform. Many businesses use GAAP guidelines when preparing financial reports for investors and other stakeholders. In contrast to 704 (b), the fair market value of an asset is only adjusted by GAAP accounting processes on defined occurrences known as “book up” events.

if a new partner enters a partnership business, the present partners may wish to restate their books capital account and reflect their involvement in asset appreciation that occurred before the new partner joined the firm for commercial goals.

The method used to account for investment depends on the investor’s capacity to influence the investee’s operating and financial policies. Management has the last word on whether an investor’s ownership position meets the standards for “substantial influence” (equity) or “control.” These approaches are not optional (consolidation).

For example, if the primary owner of the company moves, the GAAP financial records could reflect the FMV. A transaction that needs purchase accounting modifications may occur. To put it another way, this is kind of similar to Sec. 704(b) accounts, but the rules for modifying them to reflect FMV for GAAP and Sec.

What is 704 B?

books prepared according to GAAP standards are based on financial accounting concepts. 704 (b) books, on the other hand, are used to demonstrate the economic significance of partner allocation. Capital accounts must be managed in accordance with standards other than GAAP or tax, as stipulated in section 704 of the regulations (b).

 You have to include the FMV in your capital account under section 704 if a partner provides a house for your partnership firm (b). if the property is dispersed, the distributor‘s capital account should be reduced by the fair market value of the distributed item.

Section 704 requires the books to be kept, but no precise estimate of fair market value is required. If the parties cannot agree and the transaction is an arm’s length transaction, the laws allow all partners to agree on the fair market value.

A partner’s Sec. 704(b) wealth account could not be in minus unless there is a DRO or the negative-sum is desired to be recovered under a minimum advance chargeback rule. The impact of GAAP capital accounting on tax base is minimal, and Sec. 704(b) capital accounts, are commonly used as a starting point for these other accounts in practice.

Main Differences Between GAAP and 704 B

  1. When computing GAAP balances, the accounting board’s standards are followed. while 704B balances depict a partner’s capital balance in accordance with federal income tax rules
  2. A partnership that isn’t publicly traded but is nonetheless registered is exempt from GAAP. When it comes to partnership earnings and losses in 704B, Partners have the same interest in each other’s success or failure.
  3. Keeping GAAP records is mandatory for many partnerships. Unlike 704B, where taxable income and losses must be shared evenly, partnership agreements frequently impose this requirement.
  4. GAAP is used to guarantee uniformity in financial statements. Whereas 704 (b) is used to highlight the importance of partner allocation.
  5. The fair market value of an asset can only be modified under specified situations according to GAAP accounting. Whereas Section 704 does not require the determination of fair market value but the books must be kept (b).


At the moment of liquidation, the funds should be distributed to the partners according to their positive capital accounts. Instead of tax or GAAP capital accounts, these are known as section 704 (b) capital accounts. When using GAAP, the profits are divided among the partners by the income and loss sharing ratios.

There is no obligation to include Section 704 (b) books in the partnership’s tax return balance even if they are required by tax law. Secondly, the deal’s economic substance is determined using the information found in these publications. GAAP books, on the other hand, must be kept to meet the reporting obligations of the company and to establish consistency in the financial information provided to shareholders and other stakeholders.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/taxtm92&section=22
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1506/car.24.3.1

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