Key Takeaways from the 2018 ESCA Leadership Summit

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The 2018 14th annual Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA) Leadership Summit, held in February in Naples, Florida, was attended by more than 170 ESCA members and guests and covered many topics important to employee stock ownership plans (ESOP).

The ESCA Advisory Council hosted a Q&A session with representatives from the IRS, U.S. Department of the Treasury and United States Department of Labor, covering various plan administration topics and regulatory issues.

ESCA Executive Director Stephanie Silverman opened the general sessions and introduced Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rep. Joe Crowley, D-New York. Attendees listened to both Republican and Democratic views on what may be accomplished in the Senate and House of Representatives this year. While most of 2018 will be consumed with midterm elections, the Senate and House of Representatives look forward to focusing on hot topics such as infrastructure and reducing government debt in 2019. Fortunately, ESOPs continue to be an area with bipartisan support. Portman noted ESOPs could be “a real part of getting unemployed Americans back to work,” saying, “This is the ultimate American dream, to have a stake in the future of your business. That is why the ESOP structure works and should be expanded.”

Silverman spoke on S ESOPs and the current political climate under the Trump administration. She reminded us that changes in tax or retirement savings legislation occur every 1.75 years and the ESOP community must be prepared for the next battle. Silverman also previewed the midterm elections, noting large numbers of House Republican retirements and the growing possibility that Democrats could take control of the House. She urges ESCA members to continue to build and retain congressional allies who reside on tax-writing committees and to be proactive and speak with their representatives in Congress to protect the benefits of S ESOP status.

To learn more about issues affecting S ESOPs, contact Angela or your trusted BKD advisor.

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