Ninth Circuit upholds formula producing larger gifts for charity after valuation challenge

Anne Y. Petter (“Taxpayer” or “Anne”) transferred membership units in a family-owned LLC partly as a gift and partly by sale to two trusts and coupled the transfers with simultaneous gifts of LLC units to two charitable foundations. The transfer documents include both a dollar formula clause —which assigns to the trusts a number of LLC units worth a specified dollar amount and assigns the remainder of the units to the foundations—and a reallocation clause—which obligates the trusts to transfer additional units to the foundations if the value of the units the trusts initially receive is finally determined for federal gift tax purposes to exceed the specified dollar amount. Based on an initial appraisal of the LLC units, each foundation received a particular number of units. But after an Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) audit determined that the units had been undervalued, the foundations discovered they would receive additional units. Everyone agrees that the Taxpayer is entitled to a charitable deduction equal to the value of the units the foundations initially received. But is the  Taxpayer also entitled to a charitable deduction equal to the value of the additional units the foundations will receive? The Tax Court answered that she was.  The Appeals Court agreed.

Estate of Anne Y. Petter v Comm, (CA 9 8/4/2011) 108 AFTR 2d ¶ 2011-5149

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