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Taxes

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Recent Change to New York State Estate Tax: Gift Tax


Unlike federal law, New York State does not have a gift tax. However, up until December 31, 2018, New York State required decedents to include all gifts made within three years of death in their New York State taxable estates. As a result of a recent legislative change, this add-back rule no longer applies to decedents with dates of death after January 1, 2019.


The result is that a New York State resident may choose to gift away all of their assets during their life, and these assets will not be added back to their gross estate. Unfortunately, one must remember that New York State law and federal law differ.


Read more . . .


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Joint Bank Accounts in New York: A Confusion of Law and Intent


Many individuals who open a joint bank account in New York are completely unaware of the legal and tax implications associated with these types of accounts. This is quite ironic, given that joint accounts are often opened to simplify inheritance matters, not to complicate them.


There are two presumptions associated with joint accounts, under NYBL 675:


1. Moiety Rule: When a deposit is made into a joint bank account in the name of the depositor and another person, each account holder is granted an immediate and unconditional one-half interest in the deposited funds.


2.
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Saturday, March 23, 2019

7 Tips for Keeping Trusts Flexible in a Rapidly Changing World

One hundred years ago there were no commercial airplanes, women couldn't vote, the average family had 5 children, divorce was rare, children born outside of marriage had no inheritance rights, and surrogacy was virtually unheard of. In 2019 we have same-sex marriage, flexible gender identity, assisted reproductive technologies, digital assets, cryptocurrencies and an epidemic of lonely seniors. What will our society be like in 20 years?  The pace of change is increasing, so while you draft your documents today, make sure that these documents are sufficiently flexible to adapt to our unknown future.  


Read more . . .


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes That Everyone Can Learn From

James Gandolfini: No Need to Pay Extra Taxes

The actor and producer most renowned for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano left only 20% of the estate to his wife. The remainder was left to his children, friends, and relatives. Since his estate was above the estate tax threshold, the result was that approximately 55% of the estate's money went to pay the taxes and fees! 

He could have avoided this onerous payment. It would have been done by gifting assets during life, leaving more money to his wife directly (there is an unlimited marital deduction for a US citizen spouse) or by setting up a specialized trust which gave income for life to his spouse but left her with no control to dispose of the assets upon her death. 

Either way, with proper planning, millions of taxes could have been avoided. 


Read more . . .


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

What to Know About Tax Implications of Buying, Owning, and Selling Cryptocurrency


 

Buying, owning and selling virtual currency is all subject to the IRS supervision and must be recorded and reported properly to avoid severe tax penalties.

1.      Characteristics: Virtual currencies are treated as property, as opposed to currency for federal income tax purposes. As a result, basic tax principles applicable to property transactions also apply to Bitcoin transactions.


2.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Planning for a Childless Couple


There are different motivations for living child-free. Some couples focus on careers, travel or hobbies. Others see children as a burdensome financial obligation. Yet others are unable to have children. Regardless of reasons, planning for a childless couple may be somewhat different than for a couple with children (no need for guardians for minors), but just as important.
Read more . . .


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Will the 1031 “Like-Kind” Exchange be now eliminated?


Section 1031 of the tax code allows those who sell a real estate property and invest the proceeds in a different real estate property to postpone capital gains taxes. It is a great strategy for investors: with a 1031 exchange, after a sale of a property you can use 100% of the proceeds to buy a new building; without 1031, if you had to pay capital gains taxes, you would only be able to reinvest approximately 65% of the proceeds.

This provision dates back to the 1920s. Yet both Democrats and recently Republicans have talked about eliminating it. The provision is viewed as a loophole, and all loopholes are currently getting reviewed, as part of the overall package of decrease in tax rates.


Read more . . .


Friday, September 29, 2017

Trump just proposed to eliminate the Estate Tax completely. Will it affect you?


Currently, the gift and estate tax threshold is $5.5MM per person ($11MM per married couple). Assets passing at death that are above  that threshold are taxed at 40%. Gifts made during lifetime that are above this threshold are also taxed at 40%. 

Less than 1 out of 550 of people who die have taxable estates.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Buy / Sell Agreements


What are these agreements? These are absolutely crucial both to start ups and to existing businesses where there is more than one owner involved. This document outlines the relationship between the owners, assigns roles and responsibilities, shows the ownership percentage of the business and outlines what happens when the owners need to part ways.

There are many reasons why owners may need to leave the business. Some are voluntary (sale of ownership ). Others are not voluntary: death, disability, personal bankruptcy, divorce, forced termination of owner's employment by the company and irreconcilable differences between the owners.

Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Estate and Income Tax Planning for non-US citizens. Part II – income and estate taxation of non-U.S. residents

Income Tax Planning: In general, non-U.S. residents are taxed only on U.S. sourced income.  If the income is considered to be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (“effectively connected income” or “ECI”) then that income is taxed at graduated rates on a net income basis. If, instead, the income is “fixed, determinable, annual or periodic” (“FDAP”) then it is subject to a flat 30% tax on gross income (or lower if there is an income tax treaty). FDAP income usually consists of interest, dividends, rents and royalties. Interest on U.S. bank deposit is exempt from U.S. tax for non-U.S. residents.

Estate and Gift Tax Planning.

Assets subject to gift and estate tax:  For U.S. residents the tax applies to property and assets situated everywhere in the world.   In contrast, non-U.S. residents are subject to a gift and estate tax only on U.S. real and tangible personal property.

Gift Tax Exclusions: Similar to a U.S. resident, a non-U.S. resident can make a tax-free annual gift up to $14,000, can make unlimited charitable gifts, and can make unlimited gifts on behalf of donees directly to educational or medical institutions.

Gifts to spouse. The amount of gift tax exclusion  depends on the citizenship of the donee spouse. A citizen spouse may receive unlimited gifts of U.S. assets from his spouse.  A non-citizen spouse can only receive $148,000 per year prior to a tax being imposed.

Estate Tax. U.S. citizens and residents have a $5.45MM estate tax exemption from federal taxes.  In contrast, a non-U.S. resident is permitted only a $60,000 exemption. All property situated in the United States and owned at the death of a non-U.S. resident is included in the U.S. taxable estate, including retirement assets and stocks. Some assets, such as bank accounts and life insurance proceeds, are excluded.

 

Disclaimer: This article only offers general information.  Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions.  As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING


Monday, April 4, 2016

Estate and Income Tax Planning for non-US citizens. Part I – determining U.S. residency

The very first question to determine during planning is whether a non-citizen individual is considered a U.S. resident for income tax purposes and for estate tax purposes.

For income tax purposes, a non-citizen is considered a U.S. resident if the individual meets any one of these tests: (1) green card test or (2) the substantial presence test (present in US for at least 31 days during the current year and at least 183 days for three prior years using a weighted average calculation). If an individual is considered a U.S. resident for income tax purposes, he will be taxed on the worldwide income.

For estate and gift taxes, a non-citizen is considered a U.S. resident if the individual intends to establish a domicile in the United States. A domicile is a person’s permanent place of abode in which the person intends to remain indefinitely or to which the person intends to return. One can have multiple residences, but only one domicile.  This question is a subjective inquiry where many factors are considered, including income tax filing status, jurisdiction of the driver’s license, visa status, and location of person’s family and friends. The burden of proof is on the taxpayer to establish his domicile.

The difference in the outcome between U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents is huge: U.S. residents have an estate and gift tax exemption of $5.45MM, while non-U.S. residents have an estate tax exemption of only $60,000.

 

Disclaimer: This article only offers general information.  Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions.  As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING


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