Wishing you all the very happiest of New Years, with the hope that the surprises that lie ahead in 2018 are only of the most positive kind.
This is perhaps an appropriate, albeit bittersweet, segue way to where our Tax Bill effort ended up in 2017.
Bittersweet because while we achieved a doubling of the lifetime tax exemption, from $5.6M to $10.2M per person, but we did not succeed in repealing, or lowering, the rate of tax. Both politics and optics played big roles in the final vote with Senate Republicans sound-biting it all with: “We have taken care of all but 1300 families in America.”
Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, held out for repeal, but the Senate provision ultimately prevailed. Senator John Thune (R-SD), 3rd highest ranking Senator, who we thought was our champion in the Senate, would not consider a rate reduction, even though the revenue impact was not significant. He felt that doubling the exemption took care of his constituents and most of the farmers, and that was good enough.
Doubling the exemption will be good for many families, and I do celebrate that, but it is still a band aid for many families, their employees, and their businesses. But it is not over; we have been told by members of Congress that it is not done; “the tax needs to go away and permanently”. So, while it is unlikely that it will happen in 2018, or that another tax bill will happen soon, death tax repeal can be tied to other legislation, and now repealing it once and for all will cost less in loss tax revenue, which will still be an issue. So, our plan at Policy and Taxation Group is to continue the fight, to keep what we have achieved, and keep trying to ultimately repeal the death tax once and for all. We hope you will support our work; we need you more than ever.
I will continue to develop our strategy, alongside the PATG Board, meet with politicians on the Hill, make presentations to groups and at family meetings when asked, and meet with our Supporters. The fight is not over, and we need our Supporters to stand strong with us.
If you would like to hear more about the 2017 Tax Bill, and how politics played in the final outcome of the bill, I will be presenting at Institute for Private Investors Winter Forum, on February 13 in San Francisco. I will also be facilitating a discussion on various family office topics with others, in the closed-door family office session at Lido Consulting’s 13th Annual Family Office Investment Symposium on February 26 in Santa Monica.
On the personal front, I have formally retired from consulting for GenSpring. It’s been a great eight years working with talented colleagues and clients, whom I know are well served by them. I am continuing to consult independently with families and family businesses, and if I might be permitted a “personal pitch”, I would be most interested in serving on a company, or family-owned business board — having sat in such board room meetings for so many years!
I am also working with Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Family Business and facilitating its monthly Women in Leadership Affinity Group which is comprised of successful women business owners, running their family businesses. I have also started working with Dean Jenny Darroch at Claremont Graduate School, helping to build a Global Family Business Institute. It’s exciting stuff.
And for some bedtime reading. . . enclosed is an article from Trust & Estates magazine which I co-authored with Kathryn McCarthy, also an advisor to families and family offices: “SFO’s Evolve as the Landscape Changes.” The last time Kathryn and I wrote on this topic was twelve years ago, so an update seemed timely!
Please note my new e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My Policy and Taxation email address continues to be email@example.com. and my cell phone remains the same. (But please delete my “old” Genspring e-mail address!)
Thank you again for your interest and support and all my very best for 2018.