With all the assaults the IRS has made on FLP’s during the last few years,Guest Posting culminating at the Strangi III selection in July 2005, many have inquired as to the continued viability of FLP’s, especially with respect to estate tax valuation discounts. The Strangi instances (I, II and III) have been intense cases regarding a truth sample that weighed heavily in opposition to the taxpayer and must be used to make clear how to structure an FLP with a view to limit tax effects.
Background – In the Strangi case, Mr. Strangi’s blackhorn 209 powder son-in-regulation, acting as his agent under a long lasting strength of lawyer, created an FLP months earlier than his demise in 1994. Approximately 98% of Mr. Strangi’s net worth was transferred to the FLP and he became the 99% restricted accomplice; but, he also retained a small percentage of the 1% popular partnership interest.
On Mr. Strangi’s property tax return, the executor mentioned the cost of Mr. Strangi’s partnership interest at a reduction from the cost of the underlying partnership property using the “estate tax valuation discount.” In claiming this bargain the executor asserted that the FLP agreement created restrictions that could cause a 3rd birthday celebration to price the constrained partnership hobby decrease than the cost of the underlying assets held by way of the partnership. On audit, the IRS disagreed and knowledgeable the executor that it was seeking an extra $2.5 million in estate taxes. Litigation has persevered considering that then, with the most recent selection in desire of the IRS, noted a Strangi III. It is unknown at the moment whether the Estate will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
§ 2036(a) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that transferred belongings can nonetheless be covered inside the taxable estate if previous to death the decedent retained (1) ownership or amusement of the property or (2) the proper to designate men and women who shall possess or revel in the belongings. In Strangi II, which become upheld by Strangi III, the courts decided that § 2036(a) applied to the property held via the Strangi FLP, thereby increasing the estate’s tax legal responsibility significantly.
Lessons from Strangi III – Here is what we have discovered as a ways as what to keep away from in the formation of FLP’s, and matters to look for inside the operation and control of FLP’s.
• Don’t put all of your assets in the partnership. The partnership should be viewed as a business or funding vehicle, no longer a tax making plans car or account. Reserve an quantity of assets outside of the partnership sufficient to can help you live for your desired wellknown of dwelling for the remainder of your anticipated life expectancy. In addition, in the Strangi case, the IRS become particularly crucial that the FLP paid property administration expenses following Mr. Strangi’s death. Therefore, it might be a good concept to include expected costs within the reserve described above, perhaps even considering a reserve for estimated property and inheritance taxes, or presenting for the ones taxes thru a lifestyles insurance policy.
• Don’t put “private use” assets inside the partnership. One of the various records that caught the IRS’s interest become Mr. Strangi’s occupying his home hire-unfastened after it had become a partnership asset. Personal use assets encompass vacation homes, boats, airplanes, artwork collections and comparable objects. It’s just no longer a terrific idea to position these in a Family Limited Partnership.
• Don’t make any distribution that fails to follow the phrases of the partnership settlement. Most FLP agreements require that once the overall associate makes distributions to the companions, the distributions must be made pro-rata based totally on each associate’s proportionate interest within the partnership. Distributions to simplest one constrained partner implies to the IRS that there may be some form of agreement the various companions to gain one partner over others This can provide the IRS with good sized ammunition in opposition to the valuation discounts.
• Don’t make too many distributions. The IRS is consistently arguing that most FLP’s have no business cause, and in sure conditions is finding achievement with that argument within the courts. Treat the partnership like a business and feature a business cause for the FLP. Most well run corporations do distribute each greenback – they assess their opportunities and first are trying to find to reinvest in the enterprise. If good enough reserves had been identified, the partnership coins waft should no longer be necessary to support the life-style of the restrained companions. The retained funds need to then be invested for the benefit of all of the partners.
• Don’t fail to re-identify assets that belong to the partnership. Once it’s far determined what belongings might be transferred to the partnership, make certain to alternate their title. For example, if an funding account is to be a partnership asset, then alternate the account name to the call of the partnership, despite the fact that this requires opening a new account and ultimate the antique. A very clean line desires to be maintained between which property belong to the partnership and which assets belong to the confined partners as individuals.