Did high-end taxpayers dodge a bullet?

The answer is a resounding yes, for now.

All year long I have preparing webinars on far-reaching tax law changes/increases, a virtual destruction of high net estate plans, and now it finally comes down to this – no changes.  Nothing.

Perhaps one side of the politic spectrum overplayed their hand (i.e…tried for too much and got nothing).  That’s the political lesson.

The tax planning lesson is more nuanced.

What we saw in the “social infrastructure bill” in regards to tax changes was an absolute direct attack on all of the standard estate planning methods designed to minimize taxes.  They were going after the gift/estate tax exemption, after capital gains in trusts and estates, after dynasty and other complex trusts, after discounts, after capital gains and dividends for high earners, after “tax cheats” and more!

Honestly, had a few of the proposed tax changes made it into enacted legislation, it would have been a disaster for existing plans (of course, for attorneys who charge high hourly rates, such a disaster is also called a windfall).

My message to the planning world, to the fundraising world, and to the individuals concerned about these issues is simple:  don’t delay, take care of your plans today.

The fact that a laundry list of extreme tax law changes were seriously considered should put everyone on notice – It could happen.  Just one or two votes, and we would be sifting through the ashes to figure out how to deal with the new tax planned world.

So, for now, we are back to business but we all should realize that we can only dodge so many bullets.

Webinar Today: Is the Great Wealth Transfer Finally Here?

If you missed my annual presentation of all of my key data points, I am giving it again today at 1 pm EASTERN for the Center for Major Gifts.


This session is my annual review of all of the major data points related to planned giving that I can find in one webinar.

Included in your registration is over 60 data-filled slides, including the actual PowerPoint so that you can create your own presentations as well as the recording link, in case you can’t join the live session.

Other questions I will be addressing:

Did the 2018 tax plan – which sharply reduced the number of itemizers – irreparably damage fundraising?

Where does planned giving stand against other streams of nonprofit fundraising revenue?

What are the trends we are seeing in the data?

PS: Don’t miss the link to download your free copy of the Planned Giving Pocket Guide for Board Members after you register.

PPS: The Planned Giving Boot Camp – which has already trained over 3,000 fundraisers since 2014 – is back and expanded, and is now part of the Center for Major Gifts.

The new format includes 12 pre-recorded modules, live Q&A sessions, other supporting materials like the Ultimate Quick Reference Planned Giving Pocket Guide and much more.


(Use Coupon Code PGBC2967 to receive $200 off)

Thank you as always for considering our programs.

Best regards,

Jonathan Gudema, Esq.
Principal, Planned Giving Advisors, LLC











Time to panic? No. Time to be concerned? Yes

There are so many potential tax law changes (impacting individuals, income tax, gift tax, estate tax, capital gains, stock transfers, trusts, GRATs, CRTs, step-up in basis and more) – I can’t fathom dealing with the fallout if all of these go through.

Is it time to panic?  No.  Time to be concerned? Yes.

I just gave my latest webinar version of “2021 Tax Reform: The Most Sweeping and Far-Reaching Tax Changes in Generations” yesterday – and in updating my PowerPoint, I finally noticed that apparently the Presidential Budget (the Pres’ wish list) includes three new earth shattering (from a tax planner’s perspective) wishes:

  • Capital gains on all transfers – Under the budget proposal, the donor or deceased owner of an appreciated asset would realize a capital gain at the time of the transfer.  The provision appears to provide no exclusion for gift transfers to spouses and charities.

(Hello????? – this on its face spells the end to all planning with appreciated stock, including Charitable Remainder Trusts and perhaps simple gifts of stock to charity!!!!!  There are those that think this was actually a typographical error but I think the simple meaning is clear – someone (or persons) in the administration wants to take away the advantages of using appreciated assets in any type of planning – charitable or not!!)

  • Good-bye step-up in basis – I can’t really believe this is on the table like this!  The STEP act was already proposing only a $1 million exemption for capital gains in estates, and $100,000 exemption for living individual transfers – but the budget proposal is going all the way – no mention of exemptions  (which could really screw everyday folks, by the way).  Hi folks – twice in the last 50+ years did we lose the Step-up in basis (1976 and 2010) – both times were such a disaster that they were retroactively undone/fixed. The STEP act is a bad idea; the version in the budget proposal is a downright disaster.
  • Limits on 1031 exchanges – This is a technique for real estate investors to sell real property, place the sale proceeds into a 1031 escrow account, and then purchase a like-kind property with no realization of capital gains. This helps real estate investors to keep investing!!!  They want to cap the capital gains delay in 1031 exchanges to $500,000 per investor per year.

Hello – do you want to destroy the real estate investment world?  Do you think serious investors will just pay their new really high capital gains taxes (also in the budget) every time they want to sell and reinvest in new properties?  They will just take their winnings and go home. I don’t that is very good for the economy which always could use investors.

OK, now that I have may have frightened you, here is why we can calm down a bit:

One commentator that I look to said that the 18 compromising Republican Senators had opened the door to push through the later the full blown “infrastructure package – lots of $trillions which would need big tax increases to offset.  But, then I saw a more liberal source complain that the Republicans (including the 18 compromisers) were still not letting the government make the rich pay for all of this.

So, while I am not an expert at all on how things get done in DC, it still seems like those compromising Republicans will still not let the extreme tax proposals through – with help from one or two Democratic Senators.

In other words, none of these ideas may go anywhere.

Or, as I am concerned, they finally compromise on the really big infrastructure deal and let some in of these ideas (not realizing how terrible some of them are).

Or, perhaps all 50 Democratic Senators get on the same page and pass it all through budget reconciliation (not likely but a possibility) – see picture above for what I think this would do to the estate and financial planning world.

Anyway, I have been following Presidential Budget proposals for over 20 years – and they just don’t get done (certainly not in their entirety).

But, those in the planning world need to be on notice – big changes could slip through and we need to be ready, and perhaps we need to get our donors ready, too!

Look out for my upcoming presentation the Great Wealth Transfer! (is it finally here?)


Webinar Today – 2021 Tax Reform: The most sweeping and far-reaching tax changes in generations

Dear blog readers – I am giving a webinar today on all of the new tax proposals – all with good chances to pass – that are either in Congress already (2 Bills) or part of President Biden’s infrastructure plans.  As the title says, these are very important changes that will certainly impact planned giving and fundraising.

There is still time to register (before 12 pm EST) – click here to register!

All registrations will also receive the recording link!