Expansion of S ESOPs Recommended by Senate Finance Committee

Senate Finance Committee Tax Reform Working Group on Savings & Investment Releases Report on Findings

July 8, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The Senate Committee on Finance’s Tax Reform Working Group on Savings & Investment released a report on their findings for reforming the tax system. Recommendations include the expansion of gain-deferral provisions of Code section 1042 for S ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) and guaranteeing that small businesses with SBA certification do not lose their status when they become majority employee-owned companies.

“The ESOP Association and employee ownership community express strong support and appreciation that the major provisions in S. 1212, the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015, are recommended for inclusion in reforms that will be considered by the Senate Finance Committee,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Including these provisions would open the door for the creation of more S corporations sponsoring employee ownership for average pay Americans.”

S. 1212 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Small Business Act to expand the availability of ESOPs in S corporations in America.

Page 13 of the memo from the Savings & Investment Working Group, which is co-chaired by Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), states: “S Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plans, or S-ESOPs, have a track record of providing retirement security for employee-owners of both small and large businesses. S. 1212, introduced by Senators Cardin and Roberts, contains several provisions to further encourage employee-ownership in S corporations, including extending the gain-deferral provisions of Code section 1042 to sales of employer stock to S-ESOPs, providing resources to small businesses contemplating making the transition to an ESOP, and ensuring that SBA-certified small businesses do not lose their status by becoming employee owned. The working group supports consideration of these bipartisan proposals; S. 1212 currently has 18 bipartisan cosponsors in addition to Senators Cardin and Roberts, including 9 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and two Independents.”

Keeling concluded, “It’s very encouraging to see continuous, bi-partisan support for expanding our capitalistic economic system. Our country’s founding fathers noted that broad-based ownership of productive assets is essential to a working democracy.”

In March 2015, The ESOP Association submitted comments on comprehensive tax reform to three of the Senate Committee on Finance’s Tax Reform Working Group on Savings & Investment. The Association specifically stated how ESOPs are in accord with the seven principles outlined by Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for comprehensive tax reform — Economic Growth, Fairness, Simplicity, Permanence, Competitiveness, Promoting Savings and Investments, and Revenue Neutrality. Read the full statement on The ESOP Association’s website: http://www.esopassociation.org/advocate/esop-bulletin.

The ESOP Association is the national trade association for companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the leading voice in America for employee ownership. The core cause of The ESOP Association is the belief that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation, and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: website – www.esopassociation.org and blog – www.esopassociationblog.org.