Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Helping Family Businesses succeed.

IRS Proposal Threatens Discounts on Transfers of Family-Owned Business

For years, proactive taxpayers have used family limited partnerships (FLPs) and other family-owned business entities in estate planning. If properly structured and administered, these estate-planning tools allow high net worth individuals to transfer their wealth to family members and charities at a substantial discount from the value of entities' underlying assets. Examples of assets that may be contributed to an FLP include marketable securities, real estate and private business interests. 

Important Note. The FLP must be set up for a legitimate purpose (such as protecting assets from creditors and professional-grade asset management) to preserve valuation discounts. Valuation discounts on FLPs relate to the lack of control and marketability associated with owning a limited partner interest. These interests are typically subject to various restrictions under the partnership agreement and state law.

The IRS has targeted FLPs and other family-owned businesses in various Tax Court cases. To strengthen its position in court, the IRS issued a proposal in August that could significantly reduce (or possibly eliminate) valuation discounts for certain family-owned business entities. Among other changes, the proposal would add a new category of restrictions that would be disregarded in valuing transfers of family-owned business interests.

If finalized, the proposed changes won't go into effect until 2017 (at the earliest). So there still may be time to use these estate-planning tools and be grandfathered in under the existing tax rules. If you've been considering setting up an FLP or transferring additional interests in an existing one, it may be prudent to act before year end.

Contact our  estate planning advisor for more details on this proposal — or to utilize this strategy before any new restrictions go into effect. 

Source: Sol Schwartz & Associates

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