By: Jeffrey D. Urbach, CVA, CPA/ABV/CFF
Business owners have been saving estate taxes by transferring assets in the form of FLPs (Family Limited Partnerships)
or outright gifts of company stock to family members.
The tax savings are the result of discounts taken by business appraisers on the value of the gift.
The IRS is proposing to disallow these discounts as of Jan. 1, 2017.
Based on many published surveys, selling a non-controlling interest can result in a 30 to 40% (or more) total discount off the value of the company because of the combination of the following two discounts.
These discounts are commonly called Minority (or Control) Discounts and DLOM (Discounts for Lack of Marketability).
A simple example:
Company A is worth $10,000,000 and 100% of the shares are owned by Mr. Smith. Assume he wants to gift 1/3 of the company to his daughter. The appraiser valued the company at $10,000,000 and in her judgment, the gift would warrant a combined Marketability and Control discount of 40%.
On the face of it, a 1/3 interest of a $10,000,000 is $3.3 Million. After application of the 40% discount ($1.32 Million), the value of the gift becomes $1.98 Million. ($3.3 million less $1.32 Million, or $1.98 million).
In the end, Mr. Smith removes $3.3 of value from his taxable estate and pays a Gift Tax on $1.98 million, say roughly 40% or $790,000. The same 1/3 interest, if left in his estate would have incurred a tax of $1.3 Million ($3.3 Million times 40%).
The gift saved his family $510,000 ($1.3 Million less $790,000).
The new IRS proposals to disallow these discounts may take effect on January 1, 2017. You should consult with your estate attorney and other financial advisors ASAP and to have a strategy in place when and if this change occurs.