All advisors are already nervous about Biden’s planned tax hikes on wealthy clients. As a quick refresher, the Biden administration wants to raise long-term capital gains taxes to 39.6% (in addition to applicable local and state taxes), as well as eliminate the “step-up in basis” at death in inheritance. This has major implications on its own, but advisors and CPAs have brought up another significant issue with the tax hikes completely aside from the increased level of taxation: it is extremely hard to document the original basis for many assets. This is particularly true for illiquid assets like real estate and small businesses—which often constitute the largest portion of an estate. According to Ed Zollars, a CPA, “How do you estimate the basis, especially when the person who had the best chance to answer that is deceased?”. KPMG summarized the difficulty of the situation further, saying “For a flow-through entity that’s been around for 45 years, in theory, I’d have to go through 45 years of tax returns … Many times, records aren’t handily available, and obtaining transcripts from the IRS is hard, too”.
FINSUM: On top of everything mentioned, remember that basis changes all the time in both LLCs and real estate, either by capital put in the company or through 1031 exchanges. This will be a reporting nightmare!