Thursday, June 6, 2024

SCOTUS Affirms That Estate's Value of Closely Held Company Includes Insurance Payout on Key Man Life Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 6, 2024 affirmed a decision denying a tax refund to the estate of an owner of a building materials company that used a payout from his $3.5 million life insurance policy to purchase his shares in the business in Thomas A. Connelly v. U.S., case number 23-146,

In a unanimous opinion, the court affirmed a summary judgment decision by the Eighth Circuit, which ruled last year that the life insurance proceeds, used to fund a stock redemption by Crown C Supply following the death of its co-owner Michael Connelly, were an asset that increased Crown's value, inflating the value of Connelly's stock and driving up the tax liability of his estate.

The court rejected the estate's argument that the proceeds were a stock redemption that should be treated as a liability for Crown C Supply that reduced its value for purposes of calculating estate tax, similar to any debt.

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