Cash flow can be protected from income taxes by provisions such as depletion or depreciation. Hence, cash flow is the number to watch rather than profits.But yes, MLPs depend on the income stream from a given asset. Production rates or interruptions, pricing of key commodities, and other factors can cause variations. Plus payments made in January often go to the previous tax year.These are often nice yielding investments, but they are also risky because they usually own no underlying assets and have no book value. When the partnership expires, the "units" are often worthless.They are ok as part of a diversified investment and for those prepared to accept the risk, but this is not a good place for the rent money.
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