Entity Choice in Light of Estate and Gift Tax Rules

Man and woman in meetingWhat advisors need to know about the structures under which their clients do business.

By Blake Christian

As many advisors have learned, the 2013 increase in personal federal income tax rates – up to 39.6 percent, plus a potential 3.8 percent federal tax on net investment income (NII) – combined with a drop in the maximum estate and gift tax rate to 40 percent (only on net assets of $5.34 million per spouse), significantly changed estate tax planning for most taxpayers. It’s especially important for your successful business owner clients.

MORE: 11 Tax Client Questions for Year-Round Billings

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One of the most common questions I get from clients and friends is about which legal structure they should opt for to run their new or existing business. My standard answer is, “Well, it depends.”

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Blake E. Christian

BLAKE CHRISTIAN

About the Author

Blake Christian, CPA, MBT, is a tax partner in the Long Beach, Calif., office of CPA firm HCVT, LLP.

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He brings over 35 years of experience providing tax consulting and compliance services to clients that include multinational, publicly traded corporations, as well as closely held owner-managed businesses. His industry experience is broad and includes manufacturing and distribution, service companies, restaurant, shipping, and transportation, energy, and healthcare.  In addition to corporate, partnership and individual tax compliance and planning, Blake specializes in federal, state and local tax incentive, tax credits, grants and other benefits associated with hiring and investing.

He brings over 35 years of experience providing tax consulting and compliance services to clients that include multinational, publicly traded corporations, as well as closely held owner-managed businesses. His industry experience is broad and includes manufacturing and distribution, service companies, restaurant, shipping, and transportation, energy, and healthcare.  In addition to corporate, partnership and individual tax compliance and planning, Blake specializes in federal, state and local tax incentive, tax credits, grants and other benefits associated with hiring and investing.

Blake joined HCVT to open the firm’s Long Beach office over 23 years ago and opened the firm’s Park City, Utah office in 2014. The success of the growth of Long Beach office is attributed to Blake’s deep involvement within the business community. Blake serves, and has served, in leadership positions on numerous community boards including the Long Beach Community Foundation as Vice Chair, Cal State Long Beach Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership Governing Council, and the Long Beach Rotary where he served as president. Blake is also an active member of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and served as chairman. He is bringing the same level of energy and commitment to the Park City business community and is a regular member of the Park City Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. Blake was named as one of the Top 10 California Accounting Professionals in 2015 and 2014.  In 2016 Blake was awarded the Community Spirit Award by the Long Beach, California Chamber of Commerce.   In 2011, the CalCPA Society honored Blake with its CPA Public Service Award. He also was recognized as the 2010 – 2011 Rotary Businessman of the Year for District 5320. In 2007, Blake received one of five statewide Small Business Advocate of the Year Award from the California Chamber of Commerce.

Blake is a thought leader and is a frequent contributor to leading industry related publications. TaxConnections.com named Blake as one of the Top 50 Tax Bloggers in the US. Blake is a contributing columnist for the AICPA CPA Insider, a past columnist for the AICPA Corporate Tax Insider Newsletter as well as CEG/Elite Advisors Newsletter. Blake is also a regular contributor to the Long Beach Business Journal as well as numerous other publications. He has lectured at a number of universities, including University of Southern California (MBT Program) and California State University Long Beach (Annual Tax Conference) as well as various business and tax forums throughout the country. Blake has also been a technical resource for a number of news organizations, including USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Press-Telegram, KTLA News, KNX NewsRadio and KFI Radio.

Blake began his career at KPMG LLP and was admitted to its partnership. Blake holds a master’s of taxation from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in finance from California State University, Long Beach. Active in his community, Blake supports the fundraising efforts of Rotary, the Long Beach and Park City Community Foundations, Plant LB and the National Ability Center.

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