Estate Tax Planning Saves Wal-Mart Heirs Billions in Taxes

Posted on Oct 04, 2013

In a revealing new report, the tax avoidance techniques of one of America’s richest families is revealed. Alice Walton is the heiress to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The Waltons are the richest family in the county, worth more than $100 billion. Uncovered court records and IRS filings now reveal, however, that the Waltons have been able to avoid paying an estate tax by taking advantage of a variety of legal loopholes.

The records in question were obtained through a public-records request. The report notes that the Waltons are not alone. Many of the country’s wealthiest individuals are able to avoid or drastically lower their estate tax liability through careful and detailed planning. Estate tax planning attorneys in Anaheim and throughout the nation are assisting in minimizing taxes as wealth transfers between generations.

According to the report, estate and gift taxes raised $14 billion in 2012. At the same time, $1.2 trillion was passed down from one generation to the next over that same period. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers stated in December, “Our estate tax system is broken.”

One of the techniques used by the Waltons to avoid the estate tax included contributing more than $9 billion into trusts since 2003. These trusts fund charitable projects, while simultaneously avoiding taxation. A small team employed by Walton Enterprises, LLC, oversees these and other techniques. The business was created solely for guarding the Waltons’ wealth as it passes from one generation to the next. Since most of their assets are held in trust, they are also able to keep their estate plans largely private. 

It remains to be seen whether these aggressive tax avoidance techniques will continue to be allowed, or whether the government will begin closing loopholes. For now, Anaheim estate tax planning lawyers will continue to take advantage of all available tools to minimize taxes. For more information, contact an Anaheim living trust attorney today at (714) 459-5481.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm