A Tax Planning Cautionary Tale: Timing and Formalities Are Critical

A business owner learned the hard way (and at great cost) not to dawdle or cut corners when it comes to tax plans involving the sale of a business.

A red alarm clock sits atop stacks of coins of varying heights.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This cautionary tale is based upon the recent tax case of Estate of Hoensheid v Commissioner, TC Memo 2023-34. When owners of a company plan to sell their business, there is very often a desire to minimize the resultant income tax. This tax is effectively taxing the increase in the value of the business often earned over many years and decades into a single year. The resultant tax will often be at the highest marginal rate, substantially reducing the net proceeds to the seller.

Many of the tools used to minimize income tax in this situation have a charitable giving component. When properly planned and implemented, three separate goals are achieved.

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John M. Goralka
Founder, The Goralka Law Firm

Founder of The Goralka Law Firm, John M. Goralka assists business owners, real estate owners and successful families to achieve their enlightened dreams by better protecting their assets, minimizing income and estate tax and resolving messes and transitions to preserve, protect and enhance their legacy. John is one of few California attorneys certified as a Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in both Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate.