The recently issued proposed regulations under Code Section 2704 are specifically targeted at substantially reducing valuation discounts associated with family-controlled businesses. The clear losers are the families that have taxable estates. These families will likely pay additional estate and gift tax once the §2704 regulations are finalized. In order to reduce the impact that will occur when the regulations are finalized, families that have taxable estates should review their existing plans to determine whether planning now could save them substantially later.
The IRS is likely to win in the long run, but the increased estate and gift tax revenue will be offset to an extent by a reduction in income tax. In addition, courts have been reluctant to go along with the IRS’s past attempts to substantially change the value of a family-controlled business. Accordingly, if the IRS finalizes the regulations without substantial changes, we can expect multiple challenges to be forthcoming from taxpayers, which could further reduce what the IRS likely perceives as a significant revenue booster.
The clear winners are the family business owners that do not have taxable estates ($5.45MM on an individual basis and $10.9MM for a married couple) because the proposed regulations should allow their family to receive a larger step up in the income tax basis of the business, and in some cases the business’ assets, when they pass away.
This post is part of a series of blog posts addressing the proposed 2704 regulations and the parties that should be reviewing their plans as a result.
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