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Owner confident tax changes will help local DQ shops stay in the family

In December the debate over tax cuts -- and who will benefit mos t-- grabbed all the headlines. But somewhere in that same tax reform package was an item that supporters say will allow more family businesses to stay in the family. (CBS Austin)

In December the debate over tax cuts -- and who will benefit mos t-- grabbed all the headlines. But somewhere in that same tax reform package was an item that supporters say will allow more family businesses to stay in the family.

Robert Mayfield is proud of the family business his dad began in 1949. They now own a chain of Dairy Queens that stretches across Central Texas. “I'm second generation Dairy Queen,” he says, “And my goal is to pass it on to my kids."

Mayfield is now feeling more comfortable about reaching that goal thanks to changes in the federal estate tax or as he calls it, “the death tax.” Mayfield explains, “The worst thing that could happen to me is for death taxes to trigger a huge amount of tax liability that i might have to sell some or all the stores for."

The changes approved in the recent tax reform doubles the value of the business he can leave his kids before the estate tax kicks in. And Mayfield says that improves the odds he can pass on the family business all in one piece. He says, “There is not a small business in the country that is not concerned about that because you pay taxes all your life, you own businesses all your life, and when you die it triggers a tax that -- especially if you don't have a lot of tax on hand -- you might lose some or all of the business."

And Mayfield found more good news for his family in the tax reform. “We're going to put in two new stores this year,” he says, “That's part of what the income tax thing's going to do for us."

The company's growth means Mayfield can relax now, but he doesn't intend to. He says half in jest, “As long as I enjoy coming in and seeing the people, watching the people that work for me grow, and my sons learn stuff and take over, you know I'll be a figure head if nothing else.”

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