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Preparing for Potential Tax Increases Under the Biden Administration

The Biden Administration’s American Families Plan and other tax proposals may complicate the tax landscape for high-income earners. Many of the proposals target taxpayers earning more than $400,000 per year.

The American Families Plan proposals include:

  • Increasing the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% for households making over $400,000;
  • Taxing long-term capital gains at 39.6% for households making over $1 million;
  • Reducing the step-up in basis for gains in excess of $1 million at death and taxing the gains if the property is not donated to charity;
  • Eliminating carried interest and taxing that income at ordinary income rates;
  • Permanently extending excess business loss limitation rules; and
  • Applying the 3.8% net investment income tax consistently for those making over $400,000.

To add significance to these proposals, President Biden also proposes earmarking $80 billion for IRS audit efforts that will target high-income individuals who have engaged in tax avoidance or other tactics to reduce their taxable income. The additional funding will be accompanied by increased IRS enforcement powers.

In addition, President Biden previously put forth the following proposals during his election campaign:

  • Phasing out the 20% qualified business income tax deduction;
  • Limiting the benefit of itemized deductions to 28% of their value and restoring the “Pease limitation” cap on itemized deductions;
  • Reducing the lifetime estate tax exemption from $11.7 million to $3.5 million (back to 2009 levels) and increasing the estate and gift tax rate from 40% to 45%; and
  • Imposing the 12.4% social security payroll tax on earned income above $400,000.

These proposals, although not specifically mentioned in the American Families Plan, continue to be part of the President’s tax agenda.

What Can Taxpayers Do Now?

Given the real possibility of targeted tax increases on the wealthy, as well as the uncertainty of when any increases might take effect, individuals, business owners and family offices should review their current situations to identify opportunities in which their overall federal and state tax liabilities could be minimized.

  • Taxpayers should evaluate the extent to which they can time the recognition of income and deductions within a desired tax year. Planning should not only be driven by current and future tax rates but also by the taxpayer’s individual facts and circumstances, including income and cash goals.
  • Due to the uncertainty of whether tax legislation will ultimately be passed, and to what extent, tax planning efforts should include multiple “what-if” scenarios to prepare for a range of possible legislative outcomes and effective dates.
  • As the future tax landscape takes shape, taxpayers should consider strategies to minimize tax on their capital gains, such as:
    • Accelerating capital gains to take advantage of lower rates;
    • Managing levels of other taxable income to avoid higher rates on capital gains;
    • Timing when tax is due by using or electing out of the installment method; and
    • Using deferral strategies such as like-kind exchanges and investments in qualified opportunity zones.

Individuals and families should revisit their estate plans considering President Biden’s tax proposals. Individuals — especially those with large estates — should evaluate the benefits of multi-generational wealth transfers, the use of trusts and other estate planning opportunities, and be prepared to implement strategies in advance of proposals becoming law.

Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

Following what was described as a successful launch of beneficial ownership information reporting requirements, officials from the Department of the Treasury found themselves before the House Financial Services Committee defending the regulations.


The IRS has issued a warning to small businesses regarding potential issues with Employee Retention Credit (ERCclaims as the March 22, 2024 deadline for the ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program approaches. Seven suspicious warning signs have been identified based on feedback from tax professionals and compliance personnel. These signs may indicate erroneous claims and could lead to IRS scrutiny. 


The IRS has issued the luxury car depreciation limits for business vehicles placed in service in 2024 and the lease inclusion amounts for business vehicles first leased in 2024.


The Internal Revenue Service has reviewed, redesigned and deployed 31 notices for the 2024 tax filing season in an effort to simplify the notices and improve their clarity.

This is a part of a broader effort to simplify up to 90 percent of the notices the agency sends out to taxpayers on an annual basis.


The IRS, with its Criminal Investigation (CI) arm, has urged businesses to review eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). To combat fraud, they intensified compliance efforts related to this pandemic-era credit. Businesses wrongly claiming the ERC are advised to consider applying for the Voluntary Disclosure Program before the March 22 deadline. A special withdrawal program is also available for those with eligibility concerns on pending claims. 


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has published a Small Entity Compliance Guide (Guide) to provide an overview of the Beneficial Ownership Information Access and Safeguards Rule (Access Rule) requirements for small entities that obtain beneficial ownership information (BOI) from FinCEN


The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have released new analysis that shows the additional funding provided to the IRS under the Inflation Reduction Act can increase revenues by"as much as" $561 billion.


The American Institute of CPAs offered a series of guidance recommendations to the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service to help provide clarity on a notice issued by the IRS on changes to the regulation for Roth IRA catch-up contributions made by SECURE 2.0.


As part of the ongoing efforts to improve tax compliance in high income categories, the IRS will begin dozens of audits on business aircraft involving personal use