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Planning for a family business transfer

Key findings from the KPMG Private Enterprise Global Family Business Tax Monitor 2023

For many family businesses, sustaining prosperity for the long run depends on how well they plan transfers of business assets and family wealth from one generation to the next. In this edition of Privately Speaking, we explore the key findings from the KPMG Private Enterprise Global Family Business Tax Monitor 2023 to uncover the key trends influencing business families over the coming years.

Time for a plan

The long-run impacts of the pandemic are lingering. Geopolitical tensions are running high. Threats of a recession loom. And technology is opening opportunities for new business models and ways of doing business. In this environment, many family businesses are reconsidering the implications of a family business transfer.

As business families look ahead to determine their best approach to succession, a host of personal, legal and business issues come into play—tax being one of the most important factors influencing how and when the business should be passed on to the next generation.

“No matter where in the world your family and assets are located, early, ongoing, and thorough planning and preparation are critical factors that can contribute to the continued success of a family business. This means considering all the potential risks and angles before the plan is executed to avoid potential missteps, pitfalls, or regrets.”

- Conor Moore, National Leader, KPMG Private Enterprise

Did you know?

Thirty-three of the 50 US states do not have estate or inheritance taxes, and residents are generally subject to federal tax only. Some low-tax states also impose low levels of estate and/or inheritance tax.

Top global trends influencing business family planning

KPMG Private Enterprise advisers have identified three emerging trends that business families should consider as they develop their long-term plans for their businesses and their wealth.


Branching out:
More business families and their assets are going global

  • Family businesses are becoming more global, with assets being diversified geographically and businesses transitioning to greener models. But as they do, the tax, legal, and other risks can multiply.
  • As the impacts of the pandemic linger in some jurisdictions, these risks are especially heightened for wealthy families. Governments are now looking to them as a potential source of much-needed revenue to restore finances depleted by emergency relief delivered during the pandemic.
  • The tax landscape is always changing—creating both opportunity and risk—so business families with footprints in multiple jurisdictions are advised to monitor potential new or increased taxes and consider taking action in advance.


Building up:
Governance is gaining priority

  • Family businesses are adding increased rigor to the management of family wealth, with more reliance on family offices and more focus on governance.
  • Using a family office to manage the complexity of the family’s wealth is especially valuable for globalizing families as their members and assets spread across multiple jurisdictions, creating more cross-border risks from tax, legal, and asset protection considerations.


Giving Back:
Philanthropic activities are drawing more attention

  • Business families have always played a philanthropic role, but the sharpening focus on transparency and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting (for the family business) is compelling many of them to be more public about their contributions.
  • Definitions of family wealth are evolving beyond purely financial wealth to encompass other contributions that benefit the community, and many business families are seeking business models that earn financial profits while helping their communities prosper more broadly.
  • Business families often coordinate their philanthropic work through a form of family foundation, with operations dedicated to evaluating investment opportunities and determining how to deploy capital for various philanthropic endeavors.

Going global? Understand the top global trends in key markets

Learn about the key trends influencing family businesses in key markets around the world in the Global Family Business Tax Monitor 2023.

“Whether it’s a family office, family governance council, family board, or other structure, of primary importance is that the family as a whole is setting the direction for its investments and operating companies in line with their values and preparing the next generation to take responsibility.”

- Brad Sprong, National Tax Leader, KPMG Private Enterprise

Compare the tax implications around the globe. The KPMG Private Enterprise Global Family Business Tax Monitor 2023 compares the vastly different tax implications of transferring the family business through gifting during the owners’ lifetime (including on retirement) and through inheritance across 57 countries, territories, and jurisdictions worldwide. Check out the comparisons here.

Did you know?

Individuals may be entitled to federal and state exemptions for transfers on death.

Five common planning points that all business families should consider:

  1. Start early. Whether it makes sense to transfer the business during lifetime or on death, the earlier the planning starts, the smoother the transition will ultimately be.
  2. Seek professional advice. A professional adviser can help you understand the exemptions and other tax reliefs that will be available on the transfer.
  3. Communicate openly. Regular, open communication between generations helps ensure that the visions and expectations of each family member are aligned.
  4. Develop a governance structure. Clarify and confirm your family’s objectives and establish succession plans and ownership structures that help meet those goals.
  5. Conduct regular health checks. Review business arrangements and holdings to ensure all conditions receiving concessions will be met. 

Find out more. The KPMG Private Enterprise Global Family Business Tax Monitor 2023 highlights many of the biggest risks and priorities driving succession, investment, and business planning for business families in 2023 and the years to come. Get the full report here.

How KPMG can help

When tax performance is put under a microscope, you need precise knowledge and the latest facts. When you're called on for a bigger role, you need insightful, forward-thinking perspectives. In times with greater demands for transparency, you need a steady, trusted hand.

Passionate, collaborative, and committed to your business success, the KPMG Tax practice works with you to learn all we can about your organization, understand your goals, and uncover unexpected opportunities. We deliver a broad range of tax services, reimagined now and for the future.

KPMG Private Enterprise professionals understand the opportunities, challenges and complexities facing you and your privately held business. And our talent in local offices is available to assist clients with the full range of needed tax services including multidisciplinary tax planning, compliance and tax technology tools.

From our Tax Planning and Business Strategy practices through to our Resilience and Change Management practices through to our M&A and Restructuring Groups, KPMG Private Enterprise delivers a full range of services to help private organizations thrive in the current environment.

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Meet our team

Image of Conor Moore
Conor Moore
Global Head of KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG International, and Head of KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG US
Image of Brad Sprong
Brad Sprong
Partner, National Tax Leader, KPMG Private Enterprise, KPMG US

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