Tax Planning in the Age of Dysfunctional Government

I have a great love for teaching. It brings me joy to share my knowledge of estate planning and help families achieve multi-generational success. One such opportunity was last week, when I spoke in Tyler at the Texas Society of CPAs East Texas Expo.

At the start of my speech, it occurred to me that my last speech in Tyler was in November 2016, the morning after election day. I woke up that morning to the news that Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. As I drove to Tyler, I was processing the impact of that outcome on tax planning. My whole speech changed.

Regardless of your political views, it’s indisputable that Trump’s election ushered in an era of polarization and partisanship. Early in the Trump presidency, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, passing without one Democrat vote. We entered a world where bipartisan support of legislation became more and more rare.

We are now in an age where the pendulum swings far right, then far left, back and forth, continuously over-correcting. Gone are the days when the pendulum hovered in the moderate zone near the middle of the curve. The problem is exacerbated by the primary system for selecting nominees, an electoral process that tends to favor extreme left and extreme right candidates.

In this age of extremism, tax law has become a ping pong ball. Each side uses tax law to advance its agenda. The result is an ever-changing tax landscape. We never know what’s coming.

But, we do know what the tax law is today. As tax law changes, Congress almost always grandfathers planning completed before the new law passes. My message in Tyler was this: take advantage of planning opportunities we have today while we’re still in the “Golden Age of Estate Planning.” To review my planning recommendations, click here for my presentation Last Chance Tax Planning: The Golden Age of Estate Planning Won’t Last Forever (If You’re Not Doing Estate Planning Now, What Are You Waiting For?).

In next week’s Family Legacy Planning email post, I’ll address how the dysfunction that’s happening in government is also happening in families. In my mission to help families heal and prosper, I’ll offer some insights and tips on building consensus.

Marvin E. Blum

Marvin Blum speaking on “Last Chance Tax Planning” at the TXCPA East Texas Expo in Tyler.