Financial advisors have been highly focused on the prospect of the Biden Administration imposing a new capital gains tax rate. In particular, the abolition of the “step-up in basis” at death that inheritors currently benefit from. The popular parlance that has emerged in the industry is “death tax”. Clients generally hate this new proposal, but one of the underappreciated risks is the major liquidity risk that the rule presents. On many assets, capital gains taxes could be large—and take a large amount of cash to pay, cash that many inheritors may not have.
FINSUM: One typical example is on US farms, where land has become hugely valuable over time, but where the actual farming business runs on slim margins. This means inheritors may have high wealth in terms of assets, but little liquidity, creating a significant tax debt under Biden’s proposals.