High Personal Tax Levels Top Concerns of America’s Largest Private Employer, Family Businesses, New Study Finds


New Data from Family Enterprise USA Annual Family Business Survey 2023 Show Taxes, Both Personal and Business, Are Biggest Worries


Sky-high income and business taxes are the top issues America’s largest private employer, family businesses, point to when looking at this year’s economic challenges, a new study finds.

This, according to a Family Enterprise USA Family Business Survey 2023, burdensome taxes top a list of worries family business of all sizes face today. The next greatest worry is finding labor, and then training them to do a job effectively.

The survey assessed a cross section of America’s multi-generational family-owned industries, contributing $7.7 trillion annually to the U.S. gross domestic product. Family businesses account for 83.3 million jobs, or 59 percent of the country’s private workforce, according to research.

Taxes and tax policies were found as the biggest challenges, with 50 percent of respondents saying high personal income taxes were the number one concern, up from 45 percent a year ago, a 10 percent jump.

Some 19 percent of the respondents said the “most important” tax issue was to reduce personal income taxes, while 18 percent said reducing the Estate Tax, or The Death Tax, was also priority. When it came to changing the Estate Tax provision, 33 percent thought it important to keep it “as is,” while 24 percent said this a year ago.

A main factor for this centers on the 80 percent of family businesses operating as “pass-through entities,” which pay 37 percent or more in income tax, while non-pass-through entities, or corporations, pay 21 percent. 

“Few people in Congress understand that our tax policies favor corporations while hurting the majority of family businesses, which often pay at personal tax rates of over thirty percent,” said Pat Soldano, President of Family Enterprise USA and the Policy and Taxation Group, both Washington DC-based bipartisan, non-profit family business advocacy organizations. “What came out in this year’s survey is a clear push back on our personal and high business tax rates, but also the strain of high personal taxes on workers,” Soldano said. “Our largest private employer is saying ‘high personal taxation is putting strain on our workers, and our productivity.’”

The Family Enterprise USA Annual Family Business Survey 2023 was conducted in the first two months of 2023. The respondents were 571 family businesses or family business offices from across the country. The study’s main sponsors are Squire Patton Boggs and Brownstein, both leading law and lobby firms advocating for family businesses.

Another primary concern among family businesses was finding, training, and keeping employees, with 31 percent of family businesses and family offices saying this was of critical concern. Shifting “market conditions” were also a key worry, with 30 percent of respondents citing it as a main worry for the coming year.

Despite these concerns, these multi-generational family businesses, 74 percent of which have been in business for 30 years or more, 65 percent expect to grow in 2023 and 71 percent saw their business increase in 2022. Nearly, 40 percent of the respondents have revenues of $21 million or more, according to the survey.

“Family businesses are a driver of the US economy, and they can adapt easier than larger corporations,” said Soldano. “Yet they are often at a disadvantage tax wise and are often penalized for not being set up as a corporate entity.”

The top breakdown of family business industries were 26 percent in manufacturing, 14 percent in construction/facilities, and 7 percent in real estate. Agricultural businesses made up 5 percent of respondents.

“This year’s survey shows once again the resiliency of our country’s family businesses,” said Soldano. “Family businesses keep jobs, add jobs, pay better than average wages, and give back to their communities, all of which are strong arguments to keep our family businesses thriving.”

For the full details of the new “Family Enterprise USA Annual Family Business Survey 2023” can be found at www.familyenterprise.com.

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That’s why Policy and Taxation Group is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill.  Those issues include Step Up in Basis, gift tax, Valuation Discounts, Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax Rates, Wealth Tax, & Estate Tax (death tax).

Policy and Taxation Group is the leading information, education and advocacy organization working for the reduction and ultimate elimination of estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer taxes, and other taxes that punish hard work and success. Our Mission is to challenge hostile tax policies that meaningfully and measurably impact families and limit the ability of family businesses to remain family owned. We work with Congress in Washington DC against high Income Tax Rates, possible elimination of Valuation Discounts, increase in Capital Gains Tax, enactment of a Wealth Tax, and the continued burden of the Estate Tax (death tax), and the possible elimination of Step up in Basis.

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