Family Business Director

Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses



Capital Budgeting Planning & Strategy

The Case for Research and Development

A Case Study of Innovation and Taxes

Consistent investment in research and development is at the heart of many family business breakthroughs. Like any investment, R&D spending consumes family capital today in the expectation of generating more cash flow in the future, and for many years, companies deducted R&D costs from taxable income as those dollars were spent. However, a little-heralded provision of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act of 2017 upended the status quo for tax treatment of R&D expenditures. Taxpayers are now required to capitalize R&D costs, deducting them from taxable income over a period of five years rather than in the period the costs were incurred. With this in mind, we present a brief case study to help family businesses visualize this change and better prepare for capital budgeting decisions in the future.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

Now Could Be a Great Time to Transfer Stock to Heirs

Rising inflation and higher interest rates have significantly affected business values and the broader economy, with some industries managing to navigate the higher-rate environment while others struggle. The Federal Reserve has indicated potential rate cuts later this year, which could have widespread implications for businesses and the economy. Now is the time to explore favorable opportunities for transferring business value to future generations and consult with estate planning advisors.

Planning & Strategy

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The sunsetting provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) are set to expire after 2025. Family business directors must be aware of these changes, especially the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction and federal gift and estate tax exemption amounts. Expiration of the QBI deduction would increase taxes for pass-through entities, while the reduction of estate tax exemptions would significantly impact family wealth planning. Proactive planning and consultation with tax professionals are essential to ensure the continued success of family businesses.

Capital Budgeting Planning & Strategy

Capital Planning and IRS Section 6166

Successful enterprising families are careful and deliberate consumers of family capital. In specific circumstances, Section 6166 of the Internal Revenue Code can provide a capital planning alternative family business directors should consider when facing large contingent liabilities for shareholder estate tax obligations.

Planning & Strategy

An $80 Billion Estate & Gift Tax Valuation Update

3 Things to Do When Selecting a Business Appraiser

The Inflation Reduction Act allocates an $80 billion budget increase for the IRS, significantly boosting enforcement capabilities, particularly targeting complex tax filings and high-dollar noncompliance. Recent data indicate a stable trend in gift and estate tax audits, but the increased focus on wealthier individuals hints at a potential shift, urging family businesses and estate planners to brace for more scrutiny. As the landscape evolves, selecting a seasoned business appraiser becomes crucial for family businesses, underscoring the importance of expertise, early involvement in tax planning, and high expectations for appraisal accuracy and thoroughness.

Planning & Strategy

Navigating the Estate Tax Horizon

The Time Is Now

There is an urgency to consider a range of estate tax strategy options in order to maximize gifting family wealth rather than family drama. The options range from straightforward gifts to heirs, accelerated gifting, use of irrevocable trusts, and other estate freeze tactics to lock in assets at current value and transfer future appreciation to heirs without triggering additional taxes. Why? The current basic exclusion amount ($12.92 million per individual) is due to sunset to its pre-TCJA level of $5 million, as adjusted for inflation, at the end of 2025. Tax planners expect a spike in estate planning transactions between now and then. Don’t be caught unprepared. Read more in this week’s post.

Three Reminders on Gift and Estate Taxes

New Video Released on Family Business On Demand Resource Center

Estate planning may appear to be less pressing than other issues on your family business’ radar. However, the positive impact of effective planning on the long-term health of both the family and the family business is hard to overstate. In this video, Atticus Frank covers some reminders and quick to-dos to help you and your family implement your estate planning goals.

Planning & Strategy

A Little Planning—A Lot of Tax Savings

Charitable Giving Prior to a Business Sale

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had both professional and personal conversations with family business owners who utilized a business transaction to maximize their charitable giving and minimize their tax burden. While taxes are not generally the primary driver in making large gifts to charity, a little foresight and planning can create flexibility in your giving, yield more bang for your buck, and result in fewer taxes owed to Uncle Sam. In this week’s post, we discuss the tax strategy that charitable family business owners should keep in mind when selling their business.

Special Topics

Estate Tax Exemption Uncertainty

And Other Takeaways from the Heckerling Estate Planning Conference

We had the opportunity to attend the 57th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, one the largest conferences for estate planning professionals. This year’s week-long conference was the first to be held in person in a few years, and the exhibit hall and education sessions were full of good information and details on the estate, gift, and tax planning fronts. We share just a few topics of conversation and tidbits we picked up from the sessions and conference last week.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

What Should We Do About Estate Taxes?

Most family business owners desire to provide financially for their family. Due to this, one of the widespread concerns of these owners is the ability to transfer ownership of the family business to the next generation in the most tax-efficient way. In this post, we explain the importance of understanding the concept of fair market value when evaluating an estate planning strategy and some potential next steps to take to ensure the estate plan accomplishes the desired goals.

Planning & Strategy

2022 Tax Update for Estate Planners and Family Businesses

As 2022 kicks off, tax policy largely remains unchanged from a year ago. President Biden’s Build Back Better Act went through numerous iterations over the year and was politicked down from a headline program cost of $3.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion before ultimately being kiboshed by Senator Joe Manchin in late December.

But where does that leave estate planners and family businesses? There are three things estate planners and business advisors need to keep top of mind regarding tax policy in 2022.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

Looming Estate Plan Disruptions

Are You Prepared?

Numerous changes lurk in the current reconciliation bill snaking its way through Congress and it could have major ramifications to the estate plans you worked up just a few years ago.

In this post we briefly touch on planning vehicles and structures as well as valuation tools currently being debated in the reconciliation bill and why they are important to many family business owners and advisors.

Special Topics

Tax Changes Remain Murky: A(nother) Tax Update

The U.S. House Ways and Means markup of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is here and we’ve discovered surprises both big and small.

In this post, we summarize some of the key proposals that you and your family board need to keep an especially close eye on.

Special Topics

Estate Planning Changes Update

It’s been over six months since we last took inventory of where we stood in the face of tax changes (increases) affecting estate planning. While we currently have some ideas on what to expect regarding the tax policy changes, the full picture remains murky. In this post, we try to clear up some of the murkiness by sharing what we are reading, listening to, and learning regarding tax changes and other factors affecting family businesses and estate plans.

Planning & Strategy

Capital Gains Taxes and Family Businesses

Don’t Let the Tax Tail Wag the Family Business Dog

It was “leaked” last week that the Biden administration is planning to nearly double the federal capital gains tax rate on taxpayers earning more than $1 million from 20% to 39.6%. In states with high taxes, the combined blended rate could top 50%. This week we discuss the capital gains tax and provide some helpful reminders for family business owners.

Special Topics

A 2021 Estate Planning Reader

While we are not political prognosticators, the recent Senate runoff results appear to have given new life to the Biden Administration’s tax policy goals. Numerous publications have written about the Biden Administration’s tax plan and do not want to duplicate them here. However, we want to take the opportunity to highlight other thought leaders we are reading and what family business owners should be thinking about given recent political developments.

COVID-19 Coverage

Now Is a Great Time to Transfer Stock to Heirs

Depressed Market Values Provide an Opportunity for Tax-Efficient Transfers of Family Wealth for Estate Planning Purposes

The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are dire, and family businesses are not immune to the economic fallout from the virus. Yet we are confident that family businesses are best positioned to survive and lead in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

For family shareholders who are optimistic about the resilience of their family businesses and focused on the long view, this is an ideal time to execute intrafamily transfers in pursuit of estate planning objectives.

COVID-19 Coverage Planning & Strategy

A 2020 Estate Planning Reader

Amid a Global Pandemic, It's Easy to Lose Track of Some Big Things That are Going On

In this week’s post, we have assembled some helpful resources we have come across that provide helpful insight on the estate planning opportunities and strategies available to family business owners during 2020.

COVID-19 Coverage

Opportunity Times Two?

Estate Planning Opportunities Abound as a Result of Low Valuations and Low Interest Rates

As family business leaders tackle the many operating challenges thrust upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is tempting to let tasks like estate planning fall to the bottom of the to-do list.  While estate planning may appear to be less pressing than other issues, the positive impact of effective planning on the long-term health of both the family and the family business is hard to overstate.  If you are confident in the long-term resilience of your family business, you should not miss the current opportunity for tax-efficient estate planning activity.

Planning for Estate Taxes To-Do List

As a part of a series of to-do lists aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of your family business, this week’s to-do list focuses on eliminating unwanted surprises related to the estate tax. Part of this means adequately preparing shareholders to manage their emerging liabilities.

A Taxing Matter for Family Businesses

Family business owners cite different motives for investing their time, energy, and savings into building successful businesses. Most family business owners have the desire to provide financially for their heirs.  As a result, one of the most common concerns such owners cite is the ability to transfer ownership of the family business to the next generation in the most tax-efficient way.


Five Takeaways for Family Business Directors from Kress v. U.S.

A recent federal court decision in a tax dispute represented a significant victory for family business shareholders.  The case (Kress v. U.S.) revolved around the value of a multi-generation family business, Green Bay Packaging (“GBP”). While we generally think family business directors have more important things to think about than tax-related judicial decisions, the Kress decision is one with which family business directors should be familiar.  In this post, we identify five important takeaways for family business directors from Kress.

Consulting Services

Family Business Advisory Services

Mercer Capital provides financial education services and other strategic financial consulting to family businesses