MARPA has been asked to sign onto a letter supporting a bill that would repeal Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that relates to estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. The Bill is entitled the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017.
Although it is typically thought of as only affecting the very wealthy, the estate tax can also have an effect on small and family-owned businesses; particularly those that are land- or asset-rich but cash poor. One oft-cited example is that of the family farmer, whose is land-rich (the value of his real property is high) but operating on very thin margins and doesn’t have a large amount of cash saved or other liquid assets. The family of the farmer may be forced to sell off a piece of the farm land in order to raise the money to pay the estate tax assessed against the total value of the farm upon the farmer’s death.
More close to home, in the aviation industry, companies may have millions of dollars in inventory that would be counted toward the value of a family business owner’s estate. This sort of inventory often cannot be quickly liquidated upon a business owner’s death to cover an estate tax assessed against the value of the business (that includes that inventory). Additionally, because many companies rely on their inventory as collateral against which to take out loans or lines of credit, they cannot simply depreciate the value of the inventory to zero to minimize the value of the business for estate tax purposes, or they risk also minimizing the apparent value of the business as a whole.
On the other hand, many people feel that the estate tax is something that only effects the very wealthy and thus repeal should not be a high priority (or a priority at all).
I would like to hear what our members think. Is a letter supporting the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 something MARPA should sign on to? We have been asked to respond by Monday, January 23, so please let us know what you think before then. You can email your thoughts to MARPA’s VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at firstname.lastname@example.org.