On Aug. 5 the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued proposed regulations targeting the valuation practices of family-owned businesses. The proposed rules would lead to dramatically higher estate and gift taxes by eliminating the use of discounts currently permitted to reflect lack of control and marketability, respectively. The Wall Street Journal has referred to it as a "stealth death tax increase" that "rewrites long-standing interpretations of law."

By considering minority family interests as if they were controlling stakes, the rules would impose higher effective tax rates by applying existing estate and gift taxes to inflated asset valuations that don't reflect their fair market price. If allowed to go into effect, the rules would amount to a de facto tax increase of 30 percent or more compared to current levels. The Obama administration is counting on it to raise an additional $18 billion over current law based on their annual "greenbook" of budget proposals.

Perhaps more importantly, the rules would jeopardize the already fraught prospect of succession and generational planning for family businesses. Maintaining continuity is hard enough for family-owned companies without a hidden tax hike that ignores economic reality. 

ABC has joined the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and other national organizations in demanding that the Treasury Department withdraw the proposed rules, and is asking family-owned member companies to do the same.

Please click here and add your company name by Monday, Sept. 26 to stop the latest assault on family-owned businesses.