The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, along with more than 3,800 organizations and family-owned enterprises, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew opposing and asking for withdrawal of the Department of Treasury's newly proposed estate tax regulations. The proposed regulations under section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code would change estate planning for families that own a controlling interest in a privately held entity.
“The proposed guidance is one of the most sweeping changes to estate tax policies in the last 25 years and would be detrimental to active enterprises and family-owned businesses that employ millions of workers throughout the nation,” the letter reads. “In particular, these rules would impose significant new tax costs on family-owned businesses, diverting capital from business investment, costing jobs and threatening the ability of families to pass businesses on to the next generation of owners.”
The proposed rules are open for public comment through Nov. 2.
Danielle Beck, NCBA director of government affairs, said the regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce available valuation discounts for family-related entities, which in turn increase the tax associated with common transfers including inheritance.
“These proposed regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce marketability for family related entities, effectively discouraging families from continuing to operate or grow their businesses and pass them on to future generations,” said Beck. “Producers are often forced into selling land or cattle in order to pay the tax, and in some cases, are put out of business. The administration is causing unnecessary economic harm to family businesses.”
"It is common for wealthy taxpayers and their advisors to use certain aggressive tax planning tactics to artificially lower the taxable value of their transferred assets,” writes Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the U.S. Department of Treasury. “By taking advantage of these tactics, certain taxpayers or their estates owning closely held businesses or other entities can end up paying less than they should in estate or gift taxes. Treasury’s action will significantly reduce the ability of these taxpayers and their estates to use such techniques solely for the purpose of lowering their estate and gift taxes."