Category Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

Is now the time for a charitable lead trust?

Families who wish to give to charity while minimizing gift and estate taxes should consider a charitable lead trust (CLT). These trusts are most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT currently are favorable. Although interest rates have crept up in recent years, they remain historically low. 2 types of CLTsA CLT provides a regular income stream to one or more charities during the trust term, after which the remaining assets pass to your children or other noncharitable beneficiaries. If your beneficiaries are in a position to wait for several years (or even decades)

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Will Congress revive expired tax breaks?

Most of the talk about possible tax legislation this year has focused on either wide-sweeping tax reform or taxes that are part of the Affordable Care Act. But there are a few other potential tax developments for individuals to keep an eye on. Back in December of 2015, Congress passed the PATH Act, which made a multitude of tax breaks permanent. However, there were a few valuable breaks for individuals that it extended only through 2016. The question now is whether Congress will extend them for 2017. An education break One break the PATH Act extended through 2016 was the

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The stretch IRA: A simple yet powerful estate planning tool

The IRA’s value as a retirement planning tool is well known: IRA assets compound on a tax-deferred (or, in the case of a Roth IRA, tax-free) basis, which can help build a more substantial nest egg. But if you don’t need an IRA to fund your retirement, you can use it as an estate planning tool to benefit your children or other beneficiaries on a tax-advantaged basis by turning it into a “stretch” IRA. Stretching the benefitsTurning an IRA into a stretch IRA is simply a matter of designating a beneficiary who’s significantly younger than you. This could be, for

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Prepaid funeral plans may not provide peace of mind

The cost of a funeral has increased steadily during the past two decades. In fact, once all funeral-related costs are factored in, the typical traditional funeral service will cost an average family $8,000 to $10,000. To relieve their families of the burden of planning a funeral, many people plan their own and pay for them in advance. Unfortunately, prepaid funeral plans are fraught with potential traps. Avoiding the pitfalls of prepaid plansSome plans end up costing more than the benefits they pay out. And there may be a risk that you’ll lose your investment if the funeral provider goes out

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Keep real estate separate from your business’s corporate assets to save tax

It’s common for a business to own not only typical business assets, such as equipment, inventory and furnishings, but also the building where the business operates — and possibly other real estate as well. There can, however, be negative consequences when a business’s real estate is included in its general corporate assets. By holding real estate in a separate entity, owners can save tax and enjoy other benefits, too. Capturing tax savings Many businesses operate as C corporations so they can buy and hold real estate just as they do equipment, inventory and other assets. The expenses of owning the

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Dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” on loans between your business and its owners

It’s common for closely held businesses to transfer money into and out of the company, often in the form of a loan. However, the IRS looks closely at such transactions: Are they truly loans, or actually compensation, distributions or contributions to equity? Loans to owners When an owner withdraws funds from the company, the transaction can be characterized as compensation, a distribution or a loan. Loans aren’t taxable, but compensation is and distributions may be. If the company is a C corporation and the transaction is considered a distribution, it can trigger double taxation. If a transaction is considered compensation,

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How entity type affects tax planning for owner-employees

Come tax time, owner-employees face a variety of distinctive tax planning challenges, depending on whether their business is structured as a partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Partnerships and LLCs If you’re a partner in a partnership or a member of an LLC that has elected to be disregarded or treated as a partnership, the entity’s income flows through to you (as does its deductions). And this income likely will be subject to self-employment taxes — even if the income isn’t actually distributed to you. This means your employment tax liability typically doubles, because you must pay both the

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3 midyear tax planning strategies for business

Tax reform has been a major topic of discussion in Washington, but it’s still unclear exactly what such legislation will include and whether it will be signed into law this year. However, the last major tax legislation that was signed into law — back in December of 2015 — still has a significant impact on tax planning for businesses. Let’s look at three midyear tax strategies inspired by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act: 1. Buy equipment. The PATH Act preserved both the generous limits for the Section 179 expensing election and the availability of bonus depreciation. These

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Own a vacation home? Adjusting rental vs. personal use might save taxes

Now that we’ve hit midsummer, if you own a vacation home that you both rent out and use personally, it’s a good time to review the potential tax consequences: If you rent it out for less than 15 days: You don’t have to report the income. But expenses associated with the rental (such as advertising and cleaning) won’t be deductible. If you rent it out for 15 days or more: You must report the income. But what expenses you can deduct depends on how the home is classified for tax purposes, based on the amount of personal vs. rental use:

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A family bank professionalizes intrafamily lending

If you’re interested in lending money to your children or other family members, consider establishing a “family bank.” These entities enhance the benefits of intrafamily loans, while minimizing unintended consequences. Upsides and downsides of intrafamily lending Lending can be an effective way to provide your family financial assistance without triggering unwanted gift taxes. So long as a loan is structured in a manner similar to an arm’s-length loan between unrelated parties, it won’t be treated as a taxable gift. This means, among other things: Documenting the loan with a promissory note, Charging interest at or above the applicable federal rate,

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