Leveraged buyout and venture capital firms are steaming over a new carve-out provision for family farms inserted at the last minute into the carried interest tax hike that passed the House at the end of last month.
The provision appears to exempt farmers who have organized their business as investment partnerships from paying ordinary income tax on the money they take from the partnership. The new bill, of course, will treat most carried interest as income for tax purposes instead of capital gains. Private equity and VC firms say the exemption is unfair and Congress is merely cherry picking certain industries to raise taxes on.
“It���s a carve-out in the bill, there’s no question about it,” said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, an Arlington, Virginia-based trade group that is lobbying the Senate for its own exemption. “It shows that they are not being upfront.”
“This would indicate that the issue is not so much about tax policy but to indicate which industries are currently in favor and which are seen to be in disfavor,” Peter Rose, a spokesman for New York-based Blackstone, said of the exemption for farmers.
As the Senate takes up debate on the legislation this week, lobbyists for the private equity industry plan to make an issue of the family farm exemption and VC firms may move to get an exemption of their own.