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More Estate Planning Benefits For Business Owners

Last update on: Jun 17 2020
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The IRS continues to lose important cases on the valuation of closely-held business interests. Only a few years ago the IRS stopped arguing that family members who receive less than 50% ownership of a business cannot take discounts for owning a less-than-controlling interest in the business and also for a lack of marketability, if the business is not publicly-traded. In past issues, I’ve discussed how you can use those two factors to discount the value of property 20% to 50% in their Estate Planning.

Now, two courts have ruled that the capital gains taxes inherent in the gifts also can be used to reduce the value of property for gift tax purposes. But the courts said that the full capital gains tax could not be used as a discount and left in doubt exactly what the discount should be. Nevertheless, it is another reason why closely-held business owners should give away some stock now as gifts instead of leaving it to be taxed at full value in their estates.


Bob Carlson is the editor of the monthly newsletter, Retirement Watch, the monthly video series, Retirement Watch Spotlight, and a weekly free e-letter, Retirement Watch Weekly. In these, he provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and estate planning.

Mr. Carlson, is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets, and has served on the board since 1992. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Retirement System, which oversaw $42 billion in assets, from 2001-2005.

Carlson is an attorney. He received his J.D. and an M.S. (Accounting) from the University of Virginia and received his B.S. (Financial Management) from Clemson University and passed the CPA Exam. He also is an instrument rated private pilot. He is listed in several recent editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

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