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Congress Presses Forward on Tax Reform; Latest push by Republican leaders mirrors FLA agenda
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A joint statement released in late July makes it clear that Republican leadership in the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives will craft, introduce and work to build support for a comprehensive tax reform package this fall.

“We are all united in the belief that the single most important action we can take to grow our economy and help the middle class get ahead is to fix our broken tax code for families, small business, and American job creators competing at home and around the globe. Our shared commitment to fixing America’s broken tax code represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and so for three months we have been meeting regularly to develop a shared template for tax reform,” the statement reads.

The statement was warmly received by Forest Landowners Association staff and board members, serving as a clear signal that the Association’s efforts to elevate the importance of this issue for members is beginning to pay dividends.

“We now have a rational path forward towards a comprehensive reworking of our tax code, based on some of our core goals for multi-generation private forest landowners,” said FLA President Robert Crosby. “In their own words, the plan aims to provide ‘lower rates for all American businesses so they can compete with foreign ones allowing unprecedented capital expensing.’ The road to final passage will be bumpy and we need to remain engaged to ensure that FLA priorities are focus items and forest landowners’ unique needs are protected. We will continue to reach out to policymakers to make sure they understand the vital role forests and the industries they support play in the American economy and environment moving forward."

The full joint statement can be read here.

Progress on Death Tax

The FLA continues to push for withdrawal of the proposed regulations under Section 2704 on Restrictions on Liquidation of an Interest in Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes. As proposed these regulations would lower or eliminate the estate and gift tax discounts that have been allowed in the past on the transfer of minority interests in family-owned corporations, partnerships and limited liability corporations. The FLA has actively voiced their opposition to these proposed regulations since they emerged under the Obama Administration in August 2016.

FLA is seizing the opportunity with the Trump Administration and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ensure this proposal is taken off the books for good. In addition to working directly with the Department of Treasury, action is being taken within the appropriations process to remove it. The House FY18 appropriation bill contains a policy rider that defunds the implementation of the proposed regulations and prevents the IRS from finalizing the regulations as written, or any similar regulations that could be proposed under 2704.

Additionally the FLA, in conjunction with the Family Business Coalition, wrote to request the withdrawal of these regulations. During the comment period for the proposed changes to Section 2704, FLA sent a letter calling for Treasury to withdraw the regulations. Twenty-four members of the Ways and Means Committee and 41 Senators also wrote to the Department of the Treasury last year requesting that the regulations be withdrawn.

 

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