Selling Your Company
With Minimal Capital Gains
Related Matters Newsletter
by Kevin M. Flatley, Esq.
Private Bank at Bank of Boston
Some years ago, two brothers came to my office intent upon selling their business. They each were to receive $1 million and were prepared to pay what today would be a 28 percent federal capital gains tax including better than a ten percent capital gains tax to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This meant a $300,000 tax payment from each of them.
Instead of paying this tax, they simply sold all their corporate assets and the buyer also bought their corporate name. This left them with a “personal holding company,” the remains of their old company, but with a new name. The personal holding company held nothing but cash.
Our first reaction is that this is no bargain for these individuals; they will be taxed twice on their income, once at the corporate level and a second time as the income is paid to them as dividends. Further, we assume that eventually someone is going to pay the capital gains tax. Our two brothers, however, never paid taxes on their income at the corporate level; and when they died some years ago, the death resulted in the forgiveness of all capital gains. The reason is that the brothers took advantage of two major benefits of the tax law. More…
Family Limited Partnerships and Family LLCs:
Sheltering Growth From Estate and Gift Taxes
by John V. Ivsan
Shumamker, Loop & Kenkdrick
A problem inherent in most family businesses involves the issues of succession and taxation. As a family business continues to grow, the business becomes an increasingly valuable asset in the hands of the elder family members. If the business remains in a parent’s estate, upon death there may be significant estate taxes, as well as liquidity problems involved with paying those taxes. The parent’s estate may be compelled to sell valuable assets to pay for estate taxes, jeopardizing the family business and leaving heirs with a diminished estate.
Parents are often reluctant to remove a family business from their estates.Typically, a parent does not want to part with management control over the family business, risking the fortunes of a growing enterprise with children who may be less experienced at the business.Additionally, many traditional forms of transferring ownership of the family business from parents to children are subject to high levels of gift tax.
The explosion in popularity of family limited partnerships (“FLPs”) in the past few years as a solution to these problems can be attributed to the versatility that a FLP offers to a family business.By contributing their interests in a family business to a FLP, parents may transfer future ownership and control of the business to their children at a substantially reduced transfer tax cost while at the same time permitting the parents to retain control over the business. More…