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Master Limited Partnerships’ (MLPs)

Posted by William Byrnes on March 20, 2014


By Theron West and William Byrnes.

Why Are Wealth Managers Interested In MLPs?

According to the National Association of Publicly Traded Partnerships, Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) have reached a market capital of $400 billion, with over 100 MLPs traded on major exchanges.  Generally established as LLCs with advantageous partnership flow through tax treatment, MLPs present attractive return vehicles to attract long term capital to the energy extraction, energy transportation (“midstream”), and most recent, energy distribution (“downstream”), markets.

MLPs have offered profitable vehicles for “midstream” businesses, that is, businesses that own assets which focus primarily on the transportation of natural resources like natural gas or crude oil.  One reason that midstream assets have been so profitable is that the pipelines and ships act as toll roads for the natural resources.  By owning these midstream assets many MLPs can avoid the volatility of the oil and gas markets directly by charging a fixed price for the units shipped.  However, in recent years many MLPs have entered into the “downstream” asset business, that is, the refining, processing or marketing of natural resources.

What is an MLP?

At the most basic level, the MLP is a type of publicly traded entity that is taxed as a partnership, but publicly traded on a national securities market in the same manner as corporate stock. M any investors are attracted to invest in MLPs because of this type of security’s high yield offer of return.  MLPs entice investors by contractually agreeing to distribute quarterly all available cash.

How is an MLP Taxed?

IRC Section 7704 provides that a publicly traded partnership will be taxed as a corporation unless the partnership meets certain gross income requirements.  A partnership satisfies the gross income requirements when at least 90 percent of the partnership’s gross income is “qualified income.”  Some forms of qualified income include interest, dividends, real property rents, income and gains derived from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation (pipelines, ships, trucks), or the marketing of any mineral or natural resource.

Mutual Funds Investors?

IRC Section 851 was amended by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, and now provides that a RIC may include “net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership” in calculating its 90 percent income requirement.  Essentially, this amendment provided mutual funds the ability to diversify their portfolios because any income derived from the MLP will not affect its status as a RIC.  Still, there are significant limitations imposed on the ability of a mutual fund to invest in MLPs.  A mutual fund is not permitted to invest more than twenty-five percent of its assets in a MLP.  Nor are mutual funds permitted to own more than 10 percent of the interests issued by a MLP.


2014_tf_on_investments-m

 

2014 Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, concise answers to often complex tax questions concerning investments.  Pertinent planning points are provided throughout.

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, 2014 Tax Facts on Investments delivers the latest guidance on:

tax-facts-online_medium

  • Mutual Funds, Unit Trusts, REITs
  • Incentive Stock Options
  • Options & Futures
  • Real Estate
  • Stocks, Bonds
  • Oil & Gas
  • Precious Metals & Collectibles
  • And much more!

Key updates for 2014:

  • Important federal income and estate tax developments impacting investments, including changes from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
  • Expanded coverage of Reverse Mortgages
  • Expanded coverage of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  • More than 30 new Planning Points, written by practitioners for practitioners, in the following areas:
    • Limitations on Loss Deductions
    • Charitable Gifts
    • Reverse Mortgages
    • Deduction of Interest and Expenses
    • REITs

The company also points out that the expert authors—Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.

The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Kravitz.

 

 

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Trustee’s Investment Strategy: Prudent Investor Rule vs. Legal List

Posted by William Byrnes on March 19, 2014


by Roland Ortiz

The fiduciary duty of a trustee must respond to the overall financial goals established by a trust.  The grantor typically provides guidelines of purpose of the trust at the same time allowing the trustee the ability to respond to changing beneficiary needs.  According to the trust, assets are disbursed or can be facilitated as providing life time income, or both.  The trustee is obligated to fulfill the fiduciary duties by proper administration of the trust.

In order to achieve proper fiduciary duty, a trustee is required to provide the beneficiary with performing investments but with consideration of overall risk.  Diversification provides performance while also reducing unsystematic risk.  There are two types of investment strategies which are used to provide this diversification: the Prudent Investor Rule or Legal List.

Read the article at http://www.advisorfyi.com/2014/02/trustees-investment-strategy-prudent-investor-rule-vs-legal-list/

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Conflict of Interest: Sole interest or Best Interest

Posted by William Byrnes on March 17, 2014


by Roland Ortiz

One of the most fundamental tools for estate planners, either professional or individuals, is a trust.    Specifically, an inter vivos trust which is a legal arrangement by which property under state law can be transferred by a grantor to a trustee for management and stewardship.  Typically used to transfer grantor assets away from their gross estate, while allowing beneficiaries the benefit of life income, distribution of grantor’s assets or both.  This benefit begins and ends with a trustee’s administration of all assets in the trust.

When accepting this position, the trustee must adhere to the trust provisions and the Uniform Trust Code when evaluating investments, distributions, as well as the termination of the trust.  These provisions and codes are the guidelines for the trustee to administer the trust with fidelity and prudence.  For a trustee, duty of loyalty and good faith for the betterment of the beneficiaries are the cornerstones by which their position exists.

Read the full article at http://www.advisorfyi.com/2014/02/conflict-of-interest-sole-interest-or-best-interest/

Roland Ortiz currently provides clients with evaluations on fixed income trading, derivative trading, security trading, accounting, and portfolio valuations.  You can reach him at:  www.linkedin.com/pub/roland-ortiz/27/622/806/

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Can Your Business Help its Employees Save in 2014 Via an Automatic Payroll Deduction IRA?

Posted by William Byrnes on February 3, 2014


This artticle discusses one avenue for retirement planning solutions for small businesses. Financial Planners who have small business clients may consider a discussion on the automatic payroll deduction IRAs as one simple way to help employees save for retirement.

A payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA) is one simple way for businesses to give employees an opportunity to save for retirement. The program is easy to implement; the employer sets up the payroll deduction IRA program with a bank, insurance company or other financial institution, and then the employees choose whether and how much they want deducted from their paychecks and deposited into the IRA. Depending on the IRA service provider, some employees may also have a choice of investments depending on the IRA provider. Wealth managers can add value to employees and employers by, not only establishing a plan, but by also working with employees to help them manage their IRAs.

Under a payroll deduction IRA, the employee makes all of the contributions, thus there are no employer contributions. By making regular payroll deductions, employees are able to contribute smaller amounts each pay period to their IRAs, rather than having to come up with a larger amount all at once.

One advantage of these accounts is that there is little administrative cost and no annual filings with the government. Moreover, businesses of any size can participate as there is no requirement that an employer have a certain number of employees to set up a payroll deduction IRA.

Another element that makes the program attractive to some small businesses is that the program will not be considered an employer retirement plan subject to Federal requirements for reporting and fiduciary responsibilities as long as the employer keeps its involvement to a minimum.

Here’s how the IRAs generally work: The employer sets up the payroll deduction IRA program with a financial institution, such as a bank, mutual fund or insurance company. The employee establishes either a traditional or a Roth IRA (based on the employee’s eligibility and personal choice) with the financial institution and authorizes the payroll deductions. The employer withholds the payroll deduction amounts that the employee has authorized and promptly transmits the funds to the financial institution. After doing so, the employee and the financial institution are responsible for the amounts contributed.

Generally however, the employer needs to remain neutral with respect to the IRA provider. It cannot negotiate with an IRA provider to obtain special terms for its employees, exercise any influence over the investments made or permitted by the IRA provider, or receive any compensation in connection with the IRA program except reimbursement for the actual cost of forwarding the payroll deductions.

Commonly, any employee who performs services for the business (or “employer”) can be eligible to participate. The decision to participate is left exclusively up to the employee. The employees should understand that they have the same opportunity to contribute to an IRA outside the payroll deduction program and that the employer is not providing any additional benefit to employees who participate.

Employees’ tax-deferred contributions are generally limited to a maximum annual calendar year contribution, for 2014 that maximum is $5,500.00. Additional “catch-up” contributions of currently $1,000.00 a year are permitted for employees age 50 or over, thus a total of $6,500.00 a year for 2014.

Example of time value of money

Saving $500.00 per month, for 20 years, at 6% annual return over that time will provide you $232,176.00 for retirement.  See the US government’s Tools and Calculators for Investors

The new Presidential myRA to be established by Treasury in 2014

The new myRA, to be established by Treasury under request of President Obama, is covered previously in this blog at > myRA <  Several blog subscribers have emailed me with policy and operational questions about the “myRA“.   A vein of questions that I find particularly interesting is whether tax policy rests with the executive instead of Congress?  The myRA has a tax benefit (tax exemption during the earnings period) and a cost (no fees to be passed onto the employee, but as the adage goes: “there is no free lunch”).  Tax Policy (tax imposition and tax benefit) should be established by Congress as part of the democratic process of establishing a fiscal budget.   Yet, this norm is not absolute because Congress handed over of both establishing and enforcing regulation to the Executive (Treasury in this case).  Establishing and enforcing the regulations also impacts policy.  If you care to comment directly in the blog, do so below or feel free to continue sending me your comments directly. 

2013_tf_insurance_emp_benefits_combo_covers-m_2Authoritative and easy-to-use, 2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits shows you how the tax law and regulations are relevant to your insurance, employee benefits, and financial planning practices.  Often complex tax law and regulations are explained in clear, understandable language.  Pertinent planning points are provided throughout.

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, 2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits delivers the latest guidance on:

  • Estate & Gift Tax Planning
  • Roth IRAs
  • HSAs
  • Capital Gains, Qualifying Dividends
  • Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Under IRC Section 409A
  • And much more!

Key updates for 2014:

  • Important federal income and estate tax developments impacting insurance and employee benefits including changes from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
  • Concise updated explanation and highlights of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
  • Expanded coverage of Annuities
  • New section on Structured Settlements
  • New section on International Tax
  • More than thirty new Planning Points, written by practitioners for practitioners, in the following areas:
    • Life Insurance
    • Health Insurance
    • Estate and Gift Tax
    • Deferred Compensation
    • Individual Retirement Plans

Plus, you’re kept up-to-date with online supplements for critical developments.  Written and reviewed by practicing professionals who are subject matter experts in their respective topics, Tax Facts is the practical resource you can rely on.

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$135 billion of reported gifts for 2012 nearly tripling 2011 levels

Posted by William Byrnes on January 28, 2014


Yesterday, the IRS Tax Stats Dispatch (#2014-2) included the link for the summation of data from all 2012 Gift Tax Returns.   (see http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Total-Gifts-of-Donor,-Total-Gifts,-Deductions,-Credits,-and-Net-Gift-Tax)

Interestingly, the total reported gifts of 2012 of approximately $135 billion was substantially more than double the 2011 year of approximately $51 billion, and previous years before that.  The significant pickup in reported gift giving over the last several years compared to 2012 is in the category $1 million and larger gifts.

Will be interested to read your comments as to why this may be ?  By example, is this the result of the now settled Estate and Gift tax rates ?  Is it a result of the timing of retiring baby boomers wealth transfer to the next generation of their progeny?  Is it charitably driven ?

Were financial planners prepared for the planning of this more than doubling of gifts to future generations and for charitable / legacy purposes?

Use Comments below.

Tax status and size of taxable gifts, current period [1]
Total gifts [2] Total annual exclusions Total included amount of gifts Total deductions [3] Taxable gifts, current period [4]
Number Amount Number Amount Number Amount Number Amount Number Amount
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
All returns, taxable and nontaxable 258,393 $134,846,285,766 244443 11794733033 191816 123051555062 5606 8120138820 190401 114968624890
$0 67992 5822167968 67680 4054653753 1415 1767514212 1415 1767514212 0 0
Less than $2,500 7612 362423498 6528 233021040 7612 129402627 24 119914708 7612 9487920
$2,500 under $5,000 7433 412615201 7075 262415929 7433 150200871 407 123,960,592 7433 26240997
$5,000 under $10,000 9294 563330627 8934 321839948 9294 241490859 264 172533814 9294 68957045
$10,000 under $25,000 26161 1366229180 25611 924979071 26161 441250106 217 17,630,195 26161 423619911
$25,000 under $50,000 23829 1731665895 22746 796632342 23829 935033551 397 84434152 23829 850599399
$50,000 under $75,000 13048 1239385141 12504 400229648 13048 839155682 17 38,557,818 13048 800621940
$75,000 under $100,000 8306 996198369 7583 183011743 8306 813186628 6 91,801,097 8306 721385532
$100,000 under $250,000 29570 6071771849 26863 961754449 29570 5110017617 311 338746401 29570 4771297431
$250,000 under $500,000 17,470 $7,519,686,206 16193 709363682 17470 6810322321 662 439160459 17470 6371161683
$500,000 under $1 million 16,149 $12,885,834,594 14609 773330454 16149 12112504390 390 346832003 16149 11765882467
$1 million or more 31,529 $95,874,977,236 28117 2173500974 31529 93701476195 1497 4579053368 31529 89159370564

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The next hot annuity for clients is ?

Posted by William Byrnes on January 20, 2014


As clients have begun to feel the shifting winds with respect to the general economy, the annuity market is now undergoing its own type of evolution.

While products that tie fluctuations in an annuity’s cash surrender value to prevailing market interest rates may have seemed unacceptably risky to most clients just a few months ago, changes in today’s interest rate environment now have clients flocking to find these features.

Annuities with market value adjustment (MVA) features may be the next hot product for clients looking to beat the return on other conservative investment products, so read the full analysis of this emerging trend by Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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Entering the Retirement Income Game? What About Universal Life?

Posted by William Byrnes on January 15, 2014


A new product feature has emerged to help clients looking to supplement retirement income or protect against the risk of outliving their assets, and, in an unusual twist, this feature is not attached to an annuity.  Insurance carriers have thrown universal life insurance policies into the retirement income game by offering accelerated benefit riders that make it easier than ever for clients to access the value of their policies.

For clients looking to secure life insurance protection, longevity insurance, and a steady stream of retirement income, these new guaranteed income withdrawal riders could be the perfect solution!

Read the full analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

Professor William Byrnes is a full time academic providing unbiased, informative critique to his readers.  Subscribers of Tax Facts and of National Underwriters receive weekly strategic industry intelligence such as retirement strategies and client case studies.  ThinkAdvisor.com, an industry news site, supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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IRS Gives High-Income Taxpayers a Break on New 3.8% Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on January 2, 2014


The IRS has finally given high-income taxpayers a break with the release of the final regulations governing the new 3.8% tax on net investment income.

These final rules mark a dramatic shift from the IRS’s previous position. By adding flexibility to the rules, the IRS’s unanticipated amendments ease the sting of the investment income tax.

Read Professor Robert Bloink and William Byrnes’ analysis of the shift in the IRS’ position at > Think Advisor <  

tax planning case studies for individuals and small business available on Tax Facts online

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Court Eases Use of Annuities to Avoid Medicaid Spend-Down

Posted by William Byrnes on December 24, 2013


The winds are finally changing for Medicaid recipients, as evidenced by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that eases state-imposed restrictions on the use of annuities, reducing the need for your clients to spend down assets in order to become eligible for Medicaid assistance. The 6th Circuit ruling shut down the state’s attack on Medicaid-compliant annuities in this case, ruling in favor of clients who rely upon these annuities to provide sufficient income even if one spouse requires Medicaid assistance to pay for long-term care in a nursing home.

Based on this precedent, your clients may begin to experience a much more favorable Medicaid planning environment as they gain greater flexibility in the purchase timing and beneficiary designation requirements for annuity contracts that escape the Medicaid resource calculation formula, without jeopardizing an unhealthy spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

Read the full analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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for research of ‘Home Mortgage Cramdown in Bankruptcy’ – Richard Gendler awarded title of “Doctor of Law”

Posted by William Byrnes on December 11, 2013


After a successful dissertation defense on October 22, 2013, Thomas Jefferson School of Law awarded the degree of Doctor of Science of Law, called a “J.S.D.” degree, to Dr. Richard S. Gendler. The J.S.D. is a research-based doctoral degree, the most advanced law degree in the United States. It requires three to five years of legal research and writing on a unique issue of law that makes a substantial and novel contribution to a field of study. The J.S.D. degree is equivalent to a Ph.D. in law, which first requires the completion of the Bachelor, J.D., and LL.M. degrees. …

Associate Dean William Byrnes added, “Dr. Richard Gendler has undertaken ground-breaking empirical research for his Ph.D. of all Chapter 13 cases that were filed in the Southern District of Florida from 2009. Dr. Gendler scrutinized the effectiveness of cure of mortgages on homeowners’ principal residences relative to the use of lien stripping in Chapter 13 plans, both for underwater and non-underwater mortgages. ….”  

The dissertation topic was “Home Mortgage Cramdown in Bankruptcy.”  The dissertation provided an extensive study into the interplay between the recent home mortgage crisis and U.S. Bankruptcy Law.  Read about Dr. Richard Gendler’s research and findings about cramdown and bankruptcy at http://www.tjsl.edu/news-media/2013/10956

 

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Overcoming Objections: What Part of “No” Don’t You Understand?

Posted by William Byrnes on December 9, 2013


… Objections are the sales profession’s version of death and taxes. They’re inevitable, nobody likes them, but nobody’s figured out a way to prevent them from cropping up. You’ve heard all of these and more besides. How do you respond to them?

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink on ThinkAdvisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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Using Deferred Annuities to Build Pension Plans for the Next Generation

Posted by William Byrnes on November 13, 2013


The most recent shift in the audience for deferred annuity products may come as a surprise to many advisors who are accustomed to selling these vehicles to older clients in pursuit of secure income late in life. Insurance carriers have taken steps to break free of this typical market, in many cases by changing product cost structures to appeal to an expanded (and much younger) client base.

As a result, advisors need to recognize that this new generation of deferred annuity products can be marketed even to clients who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, erasing the common perception that most annuity purchasers are those stereo typically risk-adverse clients who have already retired. Younger generations have joined the market for secure income, which should have every advisor asking this question: How young is my next annuity prospect?

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of indexed variable annuities and how these product offerings may be attractive for certain of your clients at > http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/10/21/using-deferred-annuities-to-build-pension-plans-fo <

 

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Indexed Variable Annuities—a VA Product Curveball

Posted by William Byrnes on November 11, 2013


Persistently low interest rates may have created a challenging environment for annuity carriers in recent years, but many clients remain deeply skeptical about the prospect of returning to the more volatile equity markets. Indexed variable annuities (IVAs), while developed to help insurance carriers manage risk more accurately, can represent the perfect solution for these market-shy clients.

IVAs—known to some as structured annuities—offer clients an investment alternative that can provide the stability and many of the product offerings associated with annuity products but also the potential for participation in any equity market gains. However, they also offer substantial downside protection to cushion against potential investment losses.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of indexed variable annuities and how these product offerings may be attractive for certain of your clients at > http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/10/14/indexed-variable-annuitiesa-va-product-curveball <

 

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What Advisors Need to Know About the New Reverse Mortgage Rules

Posted by William Byrnes on November 4, 2013


With the U.S. population aging and more boomers turning to reverse mortgages to fund their retirement, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced major changes to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program.

The changes, most of which became effective on Sept. 30, are designed to prevent borrowers from tapping into the entire value locked into their homes.  Specifically, new limits have been placed on the amount that borrowers can take out during the first year.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of this issue by clicking to our Think Advisor’s article > ThinkAdvisor <

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William Byrnes author of 2 tax titles published September 2013

Posted by William Byrnes on October 21, 2013


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Summit Professional Network’s National Underwriter published two books authored by Associate Dean William Byrnes and Robert Bloink: 2014 Tax Facts on Investments and 2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits

William Byrnes explained National Underwriter Company’s place in the market: “National Underwriter has been the leading publisher for over 110 years to the insurance industry.  Tax Facts was first published over 60 years ago and has become in the words of Michael E. Kitces, Director of Financial Planning of Pinnacle Advisory Group:

“…  THE benchmark standard that all other resources are measured by, for financial planners that might need to look up a question about any kind of tax-related issue involving a client. The Tax Facts series sits on a bookshelf right next to my desk for easy and regular access, and only leaves when I replace it with each year’s update!”  (source: http://pro.nuco.com/Pages/AboutUs.aspx)

William Byrnes added “Tax Facts has built strong a subscriber base of over 20,000 financial planning professionals.  I think financial planning professionals relate to the approach of contextualizing client problems in a Question – Answer format.  Clients don’t come with neatly packaged issues, but instead want to tell their stories and ask questions.  Thus, Tax Facts takes that approach, by example leveraging case studies and typical client questions in the expanding online version.”

William Byrnes continued “Robert Bloink’s experience as a former IRS Counsel and national insurance markets advisor combines well with my big 4 and publication background.”

When asked “What is new about the 2014 edition?” Robert Bloink replied “We have included a new section on cross border employment and estate tax issues, captive insurance and alternative risk transfer, reverse mortgages, DOMA, Affordable Care Act, and REITs as well as expanding coverage of annuities, structured settlements, retirement planning and deferred compensation.”

Alexis Long worked with Thomas Jefferson joint degree juris doctorate and LLM alumnus, Marcus Threats, on the REIT Q&A section which sprung from his senior writing project.  Mr. Threats said that “I obtained a legal education to address challenges that I had experienced in the property investments markets.  While the opportunity for a dual degree at Thomas Jefferson attracted me to the law school, the authorship with a renown professional publisher has really made my Thomas Jefferson education stand out.”

William Byrnes interjected: “This Thursday Adjunct Professor Alexis Long begins the next Publications course via the online LLM and interested students should contact her or myself.  We are already planning the 2014 year and about to complete our JD and LLM publication teams.”

William Byrnes continued: “By the way, in November Robert and I expect to announce the publication of our third Tax Facts title addressing entrepreneur’s income tax and small business tax issues and hope it gains market traction in line with these two titles.”

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Gifting Life Insurance Policies: Not a Simple Matter

Posted by William Byrnes on October 17, 2013


Making a gift of a life insurance policy can prove to be anything but simple for clients who may not know what questions to ask in order to ascertain the potential tax consequences of the transaction. Transferring a policy that is subject to a policy loan can prove even more problematic, even if the transferee is a family member and the transfer is intended entirely as a gift.

Though the rule’s name might suggest otherwise, the transfer for value rule can create a serious tax trap for a client who transfers a life insurance policy, even if nothing tangible actually changes hands in the transaction.   Want to read more?  Open access content at Think Advisor!

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May A Proposed Expansion Of Master Limited Partnerships’ (MLPs) Tax Benefits For “Renewable” Energy Lead To America’s Energy Independence?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 8, 2013


As of June 2013, Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) have reached a market capital of $400 billion, with over 100 MLPs traded on major exchanges.[1]  Generally established as LLCs with advantageous partnership flow through tax treatment, MLPs present attractive return vehicles to attract long term capital to the energy extraction, energy transportation (“midstream”), and most recent, energy distribution (“downstream”), markets.  However, MLPs may result in unfavorable tax treatment for investors as well.

The Mertens Federal Income Taxation August 2013 Highlight by William Byrnes, Robert Bloink and Theron West examines the tax issues for MLP investors pre- and post- the 1986 Code, imposed MLP investment restrictions, and gradual relaxation thereof.  The Highlight  concludes with an analysis of the April 2013 legislative bi-partisan proposal, the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act, to extend MLP tax treatment to renewable (“green”) energy, and why this proposal is contentious.

Given the continuing Congressional gridlock over deficit reduction and heightened sensitivity of energy industry tax breaks in light of this, even with bipartisan support, renewable energy lobbyists will probably not realize passage this year.   According to J.P. Morgan, “MLP distribution yields have generated 6-7%, and over the past twenty years, capital growth has totaled approximately 8% annually.[2]  Regardless of whether MLPs eventually are expanded to encourage renewable energy investments, for the time being they present an alternative asset class that has the potential to produce high-yield returns, and therefore high investor interest.[3]

See Mertens Highlights at > WestLaw <

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Whole life — A new asset class to allocate?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 4, 2013


Clients who think they have seen all that whole life insurance has to offer need to take a closer look.  Insurance carriers have taken steps to bring whole life products back to relevance in today’s competitive environment.  In order to compete in a crowded marketplace for insurance products, carriers have developed options to allow clients to transform a traditional whole life policy into a flexible long-term investment product that can provide built-in protection against illness or disability.  Take a look at this entire article on Life Health Pro

If looking for planning tips and client acquisition strategies, feel free to explore National Underwriter Advanced Markets Journal and Main Library 

 

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The benefits to clients from the deferred income annuity sales boom

Posted by William Byrnes on September 24, 2013


When it comes to lifetime income planning, clients are always looking for the latest and greatest strategy to ensure that their income needs will be met during retirement.

Deferred income annuities are finally experiencing a dramatic growth spurt in the market, which has motivated insurance carriers to design products with features that allow each product to be tailored to meet the individual client’s needs. As the number of carriers offering deferred income annuities expands, a corresponding boost in client demand is expected — especially when clients discover that they can find the income features they have come to expect from an annuity product, but with a level of flexibility in required contributions and income options unique to the deferred income annuity market.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s full analysis of this boom in the sales of deferred income annuities at LifeHealthPro: http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/09/11/the-benefits-to-clients-from-the-deferred-income-a

 

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Can Clients 1035 an Inherited Annuity?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 6, 2013


2014_tf_on_investments-mAnnuity products are one area in which trends in contract features are constantly changing as insurance companies endeavor to more effectively meet the needs of annuity investors and with the attendant problem that beneficiaries of inherited annuities could end up with antiquated investment products.

This constant evolution of investment trends may have your clients wondering what type of value their annuities will offer beneficiaries after their death. The IRS has just blessed a solution to this planning dilemma by allowing a beneficiary to exchange inherited annuities for another annuity product that more accurately reflects the beneficiary’s investment goals.

Read the complete analysis by William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at > Think Advisor <

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The Roman Development of the Practice and Law of Charity

Posted by William Byrnes on September 2, 2013


Download the 60 page article at > http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2314731 <

This article traces Roman charity from its incipient meager beginnings during Rome’s infancy to the mature legal formula it assumed after intersecting with the Roman emperors and Christianity. During this evolution, charity went from being a haphazard and often accidental private event, to a broad undertaking of public, religious, and legal commitment. Charitable giving within ancient Rome was quite extensive and longstanding, with some obvious differences from the modern definition and practice of the activity.

The main differences can be broken into four key aspects. First, as regards the republican period, Roman charity was invariably given with either political or ego-driven motives, connected to ambitions for friendship, political power or lasting reputation. Second, charity was almost never earmarked for the most needy. Third, Roman largesse was not religiously derived, but rather drawn from personal, or civic impetus. Last, Roman charity tended to avoid any set doctrine, but was hit and miss in application. It was not till the imperium’s grain dole, or cura annonae, and the support of select Italian children, or alimenta were established in the later Empire that the approach became more or less fixed in some basic areas. It was also in the later Empire that Christianity made an enormous impact, helping motivate Constantine – who made Christianity the state religion – and Justinian to develop legal doctrines of charity.

This study of Roman charitable activities will concern itself with several streams of enquiry, one side being the historical, societal, and religious, versus the legal. From another angle, it will follow the pagan versus Christian developments. The first part is a reckoning of Roman largesse in its many expressions, with explanations of what appeared to motivate Roman benefactors. This will be buttressed by a description of the Roman view of society and how charity fit within it. The second part will deal with the specific legal expressions of euegertism (or ‘private munificence for public benefit’ ) that typify and reveal the particular genius that Romans had for casting their activities in a legal framework. This is important because Rome is the starting point of much of charity as we understand the term, both legally and institutionally in the modern world.  So studying Roman giving brings into highlight and contrast the beginnings of Charity itself — arguably one of the most important developments of the civilized world, and the linchpin of the Liberal ethos.

Download the 60 page article at > http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2314731 <

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the Emergence of the Company Limited by Guarantee in Company Law

Posted by William Byrnes on August 29, 2013


The full article may be downloaded at > William Byrnes’ academic SSRN page <

The origin of the company limited by guarantee is nearly impossible to pinpoint.  While some experts believe that this type of business form sprang into being overnight, it is more likely that the company limited by guarantee slowly developed over centuries of time.  The origins of the company limited by guarantee have a fuzzy existence, which is likely attributable to the notion that this business form is comprised of bits and pieces of other business forms that existed in early English history.

The most plausible origin of the company limited by guarantee stems from fire insurance, which came into existence after the Great London Fire of 1666.  An excerpt from an eyewitness’s diary describes the tragic fire: “I saw a fire as one entire arch of fire above a mile long: it made me weep to see it.  The churches, houses are all on fire and flaming at once, and a horrid noise the flames made and the cracking of the houses.”[1]  For this type of tragedy to occur at a time when England businesses and communities were beginning to flourish was a great devastation of utmost significance.  The Great London Fire may have been the catalyst that drove individuals to find better ways of insuring themselves in the future, should another similar tragedy occur in the future.  Individuals had to protect their future economic interests, and the emergence of a company that allowed individuals the ability to conduct business as needed while still providing them with the limited liability necessary to protect against future damages may have been the foundation of the company limited by guarantee.

In order to understand the modern day characteristics of the company limited by guarantee, the characteristics of its members, the relations of its members to the company and the relations to each other, it is necessary to first understand the historical origin of the United Kingdom (“UK”) business organization of the company.  This article will begin by studying the history of the company limited by guarantee by analyzing the following types of businesses: (1) partnerships; (2) trusts; (3) charitable trusts; (4) assurance companies; (5) joint stock companies; and (6) investment companies.

The second part of this article focuses on explaining and examining the company limited by guarantee, including the evolution of the English Company from the Chancery partnership and trust, to the joint stock company’s statutory recognition and devolvement from the partnership.  This section will also analyze the evolution and statutory recognition of the company limited by guarantee, and generally distinguish its characteristics from the company limited by shares.

The third part of this article includes an in-depth statutory comparison of the modern day (1) company limited by shares; and (2) company limited by guarantee.

Although it is likely that the main foundation of the company limited by guarantee stems from fire insurance, the origin of other historic business types must first be discussed in order to envision the larger picture – including all of the major business forms that existed in early English history – in order to pinpoint the exact origins of the modern day company limited by guarantee.


[1] Samuel Pepys, Diary 390 (George Bell & Sons 1893).

The full article may be downloaded at > William Byrnes’ academic SSRN page <

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2 New Tax Facts Books Released

Posted by William Byrnes on August 23, 2013


National Underwriters published 2014 editions of Tax Facts books authored by William Byrnes and Robert Bloink of the graduate tax program.

2014 Tax Facts on Investments

2014 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits

“We have included a new section on cross border employment and estate tax issues, captive insurance and alternative risk transfer, reverse mortgages, DOMA, as well as the previously expanding sections on ETFs and on precious metals & collectibles,” William Byrnes said.  “Moreover, we hope to soon announce the newest title of Tax Facts addressing entrepreneurs and their small business tax issues.” 

“Tax Facts Books and the Tax Facts Online portal have built strong following of many thousand of financial planning professionals.  I think financial planning professionals relate to National Underwriter’s approach of contextualizing client problems in a Question – Answer format.”

Both publications are now available as e-books, as an alternative or in combination with print.

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Planning Concept: Traditional Private Annuity in Trust Variation

Posted by William Byrnes on August 14, 2013


Provides an overview of private annuities in relation to financial planning.  Examines a new concept wealth managers are employing for their clients with regards to private annuities and trusts. 

The traditional private annuity is a transaction used by some wealth managers for clients whose circumstances permit. Generally a private annuity transaction occurs where the grantor transfers assets to a third party who pays the grantor an annuity, usually for the life of the grantor.[1]

When a trust is involved with a traditional private annuity, the common transaction may look like this:  “The owner of highly appreciated commercial real estate transfers the property to an irrevocable trust in exchange for the trust’s promise to pay an annuity for life. The present value of the annuity equals the fair market value (‘FMV‘) of the property. The trust then sells the property to a third party for a sale price equal to its FMV.” [2]  For additional discussion on private annuity contracts see National Underwriter Advanced Markets’ Private Annuity [3]

The idea behind wealth managers suggesting similar transactions “is that the original transferor can spread his large capital gain over life expectancy by using the irrevocable trust as an intermediary rather than selling directly to the third party (who is presumably unwilling to do a private annuity).” [4]

There are considerations wealth managers must take into account when discussing private annuities with their clients. These may include valuation methods, arms-length transaction consideration, and incidents of ownership. For a detailed discussion of the tax implications of private annuities, please see Tax Facts Q 41. How are payments received under a private annuity Taxed? [5]

It is often the case that a trustee, although not necessarily, will use “the sale proceeds to insure its annuity obligation by purchasing a commercial immediate annuity.” [6]

Planning Concept:  Some wealth managers have recently begun to structure private annuities for their clients slightly differently than the traditional method discussed above.  Here the idea is a private annuity contract issued from the trust to the grantor who pays valuable consideration for the annuity which carries with it a condition precedent or “contingency”.  The condition on the annuity could be the death of the grantor’s spouse.  The trustee may “reinsure” the risk with the purchase of life insurance from payment of the annuity in the event the condition takes place.[7]  Similar considerations with regards to private annuities should also be considered with private annuities that carry a condition.

In the event the grantor’s spouse does not die in the near future, the premiums paid for the private annuity could generally be considered income to the trust, which may be owned by a second generation.  If the spouse does die in the near future, payment of the annuity would create general gain taxation with a tax-free redemption up to basis. [8]


[1] Manning on Estate Planning. PLIREF-ESTPLN s 5:9, 5-30.  “§ 5:9 The Private Annuity”.

[2] New York Estate Planning. 33 ESTPLN 13.  “Maximizing The Planning Opportunities Of Private Annuities”. 2006.

[3] AUS Main Libraries, Section 2. The Federal Estate Tax, D—Annuities In The Gross Estate.

[4] Id.

[5] Tax Facts Q 41. How are payments received under a private annuity taxed

[6] Id.

[7] 33 ESTPLN 13

[8] PLIREF-ESTPLN s 5:9, 5-30; 26 U.S.C.A. § 1001.

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Employees and Independent Contactors

Posted by William Byrnes on August 9, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals? Many small business owners are faced with issues surrounding Form 1099 and how the rules apply to their businesses.  

What are some distinctions of the employees versus independent contractors?

An independent contractor, in general, has a majority of control over the details of his job function and only the end result is dictated by the company or individual who hires.  This is what is commonly known as “the degree of behavioral control.”  Another category used by the IRS and the courts to determine the status of an individual as either an employee or independent contractor is “financial control”.  Financial control involves examining the financial relationship between the parties such as reimbursement, and/or if any materials or space has been provided to accomplish the job.  Other relationship factors such as having a contract or agreement between the parties, as well as the terms of any contract, must also be examined in determining the employment status of the individual.

One of the issues that is often overlooked in the area of an employee relationship instead of an independent contractor relationship is that employees have X number of hours to dedicate to employment each week, whether that number is 40, 50, or anything else that an employment agreement might state.  Independent contracts are often not required to expend a set number of hours to accomplish a task, but instead enough hours to accomplish the task.

Another relevant issue to be considered in determining which of the two employment relations exist is that of termination.  An “At-Will” employee can normally be terminated and generally has no cause for a breach of contract and cannot sue for damages.  An independent contractor cannot usually be terminated without a breach of contract.

Tax Distinctions

Taxation of the two dissimilar positions is significantly different.  Independent contractors essentially work for themselves, and the business that pays them is, in effect, a client.  Generally, and independent contractor will file a tax return as a sole proprietor or closely held corporation, such as a Subchapter S Corporation.  An employee is subject to federal income tax withholding and the employer is subject to payroll taxes, included in the general W-2 process.

Independent contractors, like other businesses, recognize revenue and expenses. The independent contractor usually receives a Form 1099 from the source that pays him.  The Code and Regulations state that when a trade or business pays an individual for certain “services” over $600 that a Form 1099 is required to be filed with the Secretary of the Treasury.[1] And just as other businesses realize “legislative graces of Congress,” such as Section 162 deductions, the sole proprietor too may have expenses that generally qualify as trade or business expenses.

For a detailed analysis regarding independent contractors, see Tax Facts Q 814. How are business expenses reported for income tax purposes?


[1] Internal Revenue Code Section (IRC) 6041, Treasury Regulations (TR) 1.6041-1(a)(1)(i), TR 1.6041-1(a)(2).  

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Accounting for Corporations and Limited Liability Companies and How it Relates to Insurance

Posted by William Byrnes on August 7, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals? Accounting is like a road map of the company’s financial operations.  It is essential to understand the accounting basics and how they relate to small businesses and insurance. 

Accrual or Cash Accounting Methods

Now that the business has been incorporated and is operating, what is required to keep the business accounted for?  The first determination a company must make is determining if the business will account using an accrual or cash system.  An accrual accounting method recognizes revenues and expenses in the period in which they occur whereas a cash accounting method recognizes transactions as they occur.

For example, an accrual taxpayer that performs services will account for income earned when the service is actually provided and not when the actual cash or payment is received.  A cash method of accounting is concerned only when cash is paid out and when paid in.  Expenses follow the same logic.  For example, if a service company that uses the accrual method incurs 500 dollars of phone expenses in December 2010 and the payment is not due until January 2011, the company will still account for the phone expense on its books in 2010 for December’s usage.

Accounting System

Once the business has determined its accounting method, it is ready to keep track of the transactions.  Every accounting system should provide a basic financial statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and statement of owner equity.  Each statement provides a view through a different window into the financial operation of the business.

The income statement is easy to understand.  The top item is revenues and beneath that line expense are deducted to determine the net income.

The cash flow statement is essentially a variation of the income statement.  However the cash flow statement will show the ability of the business to operate on a periodic basis given the ins and outs of cash payments.

The balance sheet will tell the financial planner what the business is comprised of.  Most accountants refer to the balance sheet as a snapshot of the business at any particular moment of time.  From it we can see what assets the business holds and how much money it owes others.

Lastly, the statement of owner’s equity shows how the business is owned and financed.

Financial Statements and Insurance

Properly kept financial statement can help ensure easier access to capital as well as give a truer understanding of the business’ financial position.  The financial statements are commonly used in the risk management processes including when insurance is purchased on a key man.  Small businesses are especially sensitive to this risk and keeping accurate books can help insurance agents and underwriters determine among other factors the insurance needs of the operation.

Key man insurance and buy-sell agreements are generally based on some total dollar amount that represents the value of the business.  This figure is usually based on some number that is related to the financial statements and accounting of the business.  Whether it’s the total assets, a factor of revenue or income, or some other determination, the need for a basic knowledge of financial accounting for small business is essential.

For a detailed analysis on business valuation and how it relates to buy sell agreements see AUS Main Libraries, Section 11 F—Insurance Needs Revealed In Financial Statements.

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Limited Liability Companies: A New Best Friend

Posted by William Byrnes on August 5, 2013


Why is this Topic Important to Financial Professionals?  Look in most local business journals that report on the formation of new business entities and you will see 95% of new businesses are formed as an “L.L.C.”  This company structure is the primary one for entrepreneurs, professionals, and small businesses.  However, after twenty years of significant usage, many questions about this form of entity are still novel.  The financial professional should be able to explain to a client the basics of the Limited Liability Company.

What is an LLC?

Limited Liability Companies (commonly called “LLCs”) are state statute sanctioned legal business entities.  The business entity is similar to a limited liability partnership except that it has members and not partners (no need for general partners).  Moreover, some states allow for only one member, known as a single-member LLC, an option not available in partnership entities that require at least two partners.  The members can be persons but may be other business entities, such that an LLC can be a member of another LLC.

The LLC can be established and managed so as to offer the benefits of a corporation such as limited liability and continuation after a member’s death, but without the impact of corporate taxation.

What is the benefit of an LLC?

The LLC properly managed provides for the protection of personal financially liability in connection with the business liability.  Proper management generally includes following the annual requirements of corporation law, such as holding an annual directors and members meeting, and recording corporate minute (this will be discussed in future blogticles).

Additionally, the LLC avoids double taxation because of it can elect to be a “pass-through” entity for federal and state tax purposes – like a partnership or a sole-proprietorship is treated.

Also, most LLCs do not have a restriction on the number of members as S-Corps have (albeit rarely will the number of members or shareholders be an issue for a financial professional’s client).  To learn more details and nuances of each business structure see the AUS Main Section 10. Basics Of Business Insurance, A—Forms Of Business Organization.  More detail on LLCs specifically is provided in AUS Main Section 14.1, I—The Limited Liability Company (LLC).

 

What are some limitations of the LLC?

Aside from the fact that LLCs have essentially developed as a hybrid of older forms of business organizations, and are relatively new in the history of corporation law.  The LLC is not a corporation in the traditional sense of the word.

Sometimes businesses start as an LLC but expand to a point of eventually considering receiving outside equity with the goal of a public offering such as listing on a stock exchange.  The LLC is not suitable for “going public”.  Thus at the stage of soliciting equity investment for a business a client may have outgrown the LLC and should convert into a C-Corporation (a topic that will be addressed in a future blogticle).

The Federal Government allows the business owner(s) of the LLC to choose how the LLC will be characterized for tax purposes.  The LLC may be taxed as a Corporation (both Subchapter C and S), partnership or sole-proprietorship. This process is generally referred to as “Check the Box”.[1] The IRS Check the Box Form is Number 8832[2] and the business owners literally check one of the included boxes on that form and then file the corresponding tax returns.

What are some other uses of LLCs?

LLCs are used in many transactions by high-net worth client.  Sometimes clients use an LLC in place of a trust in the irrevocable life insurance trust (commonly called an “ILIT”) structure.  By example, in a situation where a client wants less restriction on the direction of the assets of the vehicle, the LLC is a more popular choice than the ILIT.  As a result, the LLC has become a common tool for the financial planner.  A detailed discussion of one of these transactions is examined in the AUS Main Section 14.1, I-The Limited Liability Company (LLC). “LLC as an Alternative to a Life Insurance Trust”.

For a detailed analysis of the tax and non-tax Advantages of a Close Corporation see AdvisorFX Main Library Section 14. Close Corporations I—The Limited Liability Company (LLC) http://www.advisorfx.com/articles/f14_1_2_2080.aspx?action=13

Tomorrow’s blogticle will address Accounting for Corporations and Limited Liability Companies and How it Relates to Insurance.


[1] Treasury Regulations Section §301.7701-3.

 

[2] Internal Revenue Service Form 8832, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8832.pdf.

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Income-based premiums triple Medicare costs under PPACA

Posted by William Byrnes on July 31, 2013


For your high net worth and upper middle class clients, Medicare planning has become a critical component of a well-executed retirement income plan.

New rules put into effect under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) can impact these clients’ retirement income planning in ways they might not yet realize by increasing their Medicare premiums proportionally as income increases.  The new rules will expand the pool of clients to which these monthly increases will apply.

In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to consider Medicare premiums when planning for retirement expenses.

Medicare Income-Based Premiums … read my analysis at LifeHealthProhttp://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/05/13/income-based-premiums-triple-medicare-costs-under

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SEC comments muddy the waters in fiduciary standard debate

Posted by William Byrnes on July 29, 2013


The debate over the fiduciary standard that will become applicable to many financial professionals may be coming to a head as the looming deadline for comments on SEC proposals has motivated some advisors to express disapproval over a perceived weakening of the potential standard. Because a heightened fiduciary standard could increase advisors’ compliance costs, while simultaneously increasing consumer confidence in the quality of their advice, it is critical that advisors know the rules of the game.

Recent indications that the SEC may deviate from its previously expressed intent to expand the traditional standard applicable to investment advisors, however, represent a curveball for advisors who are not currently subject to a strict fiduciary standard; the outcome once again seems up for grabs.

Today’s bifurcated approach to fiduciary regulation

read the full analysis at LifeHealthPro - http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/07/01/sec-comments-muddy-the-waters-in-fiduciary-standar

 

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The Value of Variable Life Insurance: Surrender Charges and Fair Market Value

Posted by William Byrnes on July 25, 2013


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed the Tax Court’s position on the use of surrender charges in the valuation equation when a nonqualified employee benefit plan that holds a life insurance policy distributes that policy to a taxpayer upon winding up of the plan.

When these life insurance policies are distributed to the taxpayer-employees under such a plan, the taxpayers are responsible for paying taxes on the value of the policies. According to the IRS, the policy value equals the cash value of the policy without regard to any surrender charges. So what do your clients have to include in income if the actual cash surrender value of their life insurance policy is negative?

The Facts

Read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisor - http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/05/28/the-value-of-variable-life-insurance-surrender-cha

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In Medicaid Planning, Don’t Surrender Life Insurance—Trade It for LTC Instead

Posted by William Byrnes on July 23, 2013


Your clients who are nearing retirement age might often wonder why they bother maintaining the life insurance policies they have funded for years. With children grown, the need to provide for beneficiaries in the event of an untimely death has already been eliminated. Further, these policies are considered assets that can have a significant impact when determining Medicaid eligibility.

Despite this, recent proposals in several states can give older clients a reason to maintain their policies and provide peace of mind in Medicaid planning. Under these proposals, ownership of a life insurance policy can actually help clients in long-term care planning as more state Medicaid offices embrace the use of life settlements in conjunction with Medicaid coverage.

The Proposals

read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisor http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/03/in-medicaid-planning-dont-surrender-life-insurance

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The Not-So-Irrevocable Trust: Unlocking Trust Assets

Posted by William Byrnes on July 18, 2013


The “irrevocable” label might have some clients feeling like they are locked into previously established irrevocable trusts for life, which might not always be the case. There are many reasons why a client might remain interested in preserving an irrevocable trust, but after the fiscal cliff deal made the generous $5 million estate tax exemption and spousal portability permanent, there are equally strong reasons why a client might prefer to terminate. …

The choice to terminate will force clients to reevaluate insurance and other trust held assets and lead to what are often long overdue replacement or reallocation discussions.

When Can an Irrevocable Trust Be Terminated?

Read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisorhttp://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/17/the-not-so-irrevocable-trust-unlocking-trust-asset

 

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LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance release …

Posted by William Byrnes on May 3, 2013


Over 400 pages of compliance analysis !! now available with the 20% discount code link in this flier –> LN Guide to FATCA_flier.

The LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance was designed in consultation, via numerous interviews and meetings, with government officials, NGO staff, large financial institution compliance officers, investment fund compliance officers, and trust companies,  in consultation with contributors who are leading industry experts. The contributors hail from several countries and an offshore financial center and include attorneys, accountants, information technology engineers, and risk managers from large, medium and small firms and from large financial institutions.  A sample chapter from the 25 is available on LexisNexis: http://www.lexisnexis.com/store/images/samples/9780769853734.pdf

book coverContributing FATCA Expert Practitioners

Kyria Ali, FCCA is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (“ACCA”) of Baker Tilly (BVI) Limited.

Michael Alliston, Esq. is a solicitor in the London office of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Ariene d’Arc Diniz e Amaral, Adv.  is a Brazilian tax attorney of Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados.

Maarten de Bruin, Esq. is a partner of Stibbe Simont. 

Jean-Paul van den Berg, Esq.  is a tax partner of Stibbe Simont.

Amanda Castellano, Esq. spent three years as an auditor with the Internal Revenue Service.

Luzius Cavelti, Esq. is an associate at Tappolet & Partner in Zurich.

Bruno Da Silva, LL.M.  works at Loyens & Loeff, European Direct Tax Law team and is a tax treaty adviser for the Macau special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.

Prof. J. Richard Duke, Esq. is an attorney admitted in Alabama and Florida specializing over forty years in income and estate tax planning and compliance, as well as asset protection, for high net wealth families.  He served as Counsel to the Ludwig von Mises Institute for Austrian Economics 1983-1989.

Dr. Jan Dyckmans, Esq. is a German attorney at Flick Gocke Schaumburg in Frankfurt am Main.

Arne Hansen is a legal trainee of the Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court of Hamburg), Germany.

Mark Heroux, J.D. is a Principal in the Tax Services Group at Baker Tilly who began his career in 1986 with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

Rob. H. Holt, Esq. is a practicing attorney of thirty years licensed in New York and Texas representing real estate investment companies.

Richard Kando, CPA (New York) is a Director at Navigant Consulting and served as a Special Agent with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division where he received the U.S. Department of Justice – Tax Division Assistant Attorney General’s Special Contribution Award.

Denis Kleinfeld, Esq., CPA. is a renown tax author over four decades specializing in international tax planning of high net wealth families.  He is Of Counsel to Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL, in Miami, Florida and was employed as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service in the Estate and Gift Tax Division.

Richard L. Knickerbocker, Esq.  is the senior partner in the Los Angeles office of the Knickerbocker Law Group and the former City Attorney of the City of Santa Monica.

Saloi Abou-Jaoude’ Knickerbocker Saloi Abou-Jaoude’ Knickerbocker is a Legal Administrator in the Los Angeles office of the Knickerbocker Law Group concentrated on shari’a finance.

Jeffrey Locke, Esq.  is Director at Navigant Consulting.

Josh Lom works at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Prof. Stephen Polak is a Tax Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s International Tax & Financial Services Graduate Program where he lectures on Financial Products, Tax Procedure and Financial Crimes. As a U.S. Senior Internal Revenue Agent, Financial Products and Transaction Examiner he examined exotic financial products of large multi-national corporations. Currently, Prof. Polak is assigned to U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s three year National Research Program’s as a Federal State and Local Government Specialist where he examines states, cities, municipalities, and other governmental entities.

Dr. Maji C. Rhee is a professor of Waseda University located in Tokyo.

Jean Richard, Esq.  a Canadian attorney, previously worked for the Quebec Tax Department, as a Senior Tax Manager with a large international accounting firm and as a Tax & Estate consultant for a pre-eminent Canadian insurance company.  He is currently the Vice President and Sr. Wealth Management Consultant of the BMO Financial Group.

Michael J. Rinaldi, II, CPA. is a renown international tax accountant and author, responsible for the largest independent audit firm in Washington, D.C.

Edgardo Santiago-Torres, Esq., CPA, is also a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant, pursuant to the AICPA and CIMA rules and regulations, admitted by the Puerto Rico Board of Accountancy to practice Public Accounting in Puerto Rico, and an attorney.

Hope M. Shoulders, Esq. is a licensed attorney in the State of New Jersey whom has previously worked for General Motors, National Transportation Safety Board and the Department of Commerce.

Jason Simpson, CAMS is the Director of the Miami office for Global Atlantic Partners, overseeing all operations in Florida, the Caribbean and most of Latin America. He has worked previously as a bank compliance employee at various large and mid-sized financial institutions over the past ten years.  He has been a key component in the removal of Cease and Desist Orders as well as other written regulatory agreements within a number of Domestic and International Banks, and designed complete AML units for domestic as well as international banks with over three million clients.

Dr. Alberto Gil Soriano, Esq.  worked at the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office in Brussels, and most recently at the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Integrity Group in Washington, D.C. He currently works at the Fiscal Department of Uría Menéndez Abogados, S.L.P in Barcelona (Spain).

Lily L. Tse, CPA. is a partner of Rinaldi & Associates (Washington, D.C.).

Dr. Oliver Untersander, Esq. is partner at Tappolet & Partner in Zurich.

Mauricio Cano del Valle, Esq. is a Mexican attorney who previously worked for the Mexican Ministry of Finance (Secretaría de Hacienda) and Deloitte and Touche Mexico.  He was Managing Director of the Amicorp Group Mexico City and San Diego offices, and now has his own law firm. 

John Walker, Esq. is an accomplished attorney with a software engineering and architecture background.

Bruce Zagaris, Esq. is a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP. 

Prof. William Byrnes was a Senior Manager then Associate Director at Coopers & Lybrand, before joining academia wherein he became a renowned author of 38 book and compendium volumes, 93 book & treatise chapters and supplements, and 800+ articles.  He is Associate Dean of Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s International Taxation & Financial Services Program.

Dr. Robert J. Munro is the author of 35 published books is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of Research for North America of CIDOEC at Jesus College, Cambridge University, and head of the anti money laundering studies of Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s International Taxation & Financial Services Program.

Posted in Compliance, Estate Tax, Financial Crimes, information exchange, Money Laundering, OECD, Reporting, Tax Policy, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Fiscal Cliff Conclusion: Compromise Continues Tax Cuts for Many, But Not All

Posted by William Byrnes on January 2, 2013


In the first moments of 2013, Congress eased the fiscal cliff tax increases for taxpayers earning less than $450,000 by enacting the American Taxpayer Relief Act (Act), permanently extending the Bush-era income tax cuts for this group. … While the legislation extends the current income tax rates for taxpayers earning less than $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers) per year, it allowed the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for all higher-income taxpayers.  Similarly, taxes on capital gains, dividends, and estates were increased for the wealthiest taxpayers.

How Were Income Taxes Increased by the Fiscal Cliff Compromise?

How Does the Act Impact the Current System for Tax Deductions and Exemptions?

Were Capital Gains and Dividend Rates Impacted by the Act?

How Are Estate and Gift Tax Rates Affected?

What Other Changes Were Made?

Beyond the Act: What is the “Investment Income Tax”?

Planning Under the Act: How Should Clients Plan for Higher Taxes in 2013?

Read the analysis at National Underwriters’ Advanced Markets - http://nationalunderwriteradvancedmarkets.com/articles/fc010113-a.aspx?action=16

Posted in Estate Tax, Retirement Planning, Tax Policy, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fully Funded Retirement in 10 Years: A DB Plan for Now

Posted by William Byrnes on December 17, 2012


Your small business clients are faced with the increasing likelihood of higher taxes in 2013 and beyond; those aiming to reduce the slope of the fiscal cliff next year will want to take a closer look at the benefits of a defined benefit plan. …. read our strategy article at http://www.advisorone.com/2012/12/13/fully-funded-retirement-in-10-years-a-db-plan-for

Posted in Retirement Planning, Uncategorized, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

the new tax strategies book “2013 Tax Facts on Investments” just released

Posted by William Byrnes on December 5, 2012


2013 Tax Facts on Investments in PRINT and E-Book format 2013_tf_on_investments_cover-m_2provides clear, concise answers to often complex tax questions concerning investments. Pertinent planning points are provided throughout.

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, 2013 Tax Facts on Investments delivers the latest guidance on:

  • Mutual Funds, Unit Trusts, REITs
  • Incentive Stock Options
  • Options & Futures
  • Real Estate
  • Stocks, Bonds
  • Oil & Gas
  • Precious Metals & Collectibles
  • And much more!

Key updates for 2013:

  • New section on captive insurance
  • New section on reverse mortgages
  • Expanded section on ETFs
  • Expanded section on precious metals & collectibles
  • More than 30 new Planning Points, written by practitioners for practitioners, in the following areas:
    • Real Estate
    • Limited Partnerships
    • Stocks
    • Interest and Expenses
    • Options
    • Mutual Funds

Posted in Estate Tax, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Trusts, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Post-Retirement Health Care: A Quarter-Million-Dollar Dilemma

Posted by William Byrnes on December 3, 2012


After expenses covered by Medicare are taken into account, many of your clients retiring this year are likely to incur about $240,000 per couple in out-of-pocket health care expenses during retirement. …  You may be able to alleviate the retiree health-expense problem by using guaranteed income annuities or life insurance alternative funding solutions.

Posted in Insurance, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

When Clients Get Lump-Sum Pension Offers, What to Advise?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 30, 2012


An increasing number of your clients are facing the novel possibility of choosing a lump sum payout from their pensions instead of the traditional annuity option.  See the full article at -http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/08/16/when-clients-get-lump-sum-pension-offers-what-to-a

Posted in Insurance, Pensions, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Life Settlements — Are They Back?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 28, 2012


One question financial advisors are asking themselves today is whether life settlements have returned to the fold as a viable tool in their clients’ planning strategies.  Read the entire article at http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/09/05/life-settlements-are-they-back

Posted in Insurance, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

my newest book: 2013 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits

Posted by William Byrnes on November 21, 2012


http://www.nationalunderwriter.com/2013-tax-facts-on-insurance-employee-benefits-269.html

Organized in a convenient Q&A format to speed you to the information you need, 2013 Tax Facts on Insurance & Employee Benefits delivers the latest guidance on:

  • Estate & Gift Tax Planning
  • Roth IRAs
  • HSAs
  • Capital Gains, Qualifying Dividends
  • Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Under IRC Section 409A
  • And much more!

Key updates for 2013:

  • Enhanced explanation of the Disclosure Regulations for Retirement Plan Service Providers
  • Expanded section on the taxation of annuities
  • More than 30 new Planning Points, written by practitioners for practitioners, in the following areas:
    • Life Insurance
    • Health Insurance
    • Federal Income Taxation
    • Estate Taxation

Plus, you’re kept up-to-date with online supplements for critical developments.

Posted in Estate Tax, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The ticking estate tax time bomb

Posted by William Byrnes on November 21, 2012


For your clients who have been playing the wait-and-see game in estate planning this year, the time for waiting is over.   Absent congressional action, the current $5.12 million exemption will revert to $1 million in less than three months, and the current 35% maximum estate tax rate will jump to 55%.  The entire article is available at http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/10/17/the-ticking-estate-tax-time-bomb-less-than-90-days

 

Posted in Estate Tax, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Trusts, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How New Deferred Annuities Provide Income Early in Retirement

Posted by William Byrnes on November 19, 2012


…insurance companies have begun building annuity products in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the latest crop of deferred income annuity products could pave the way for clients seeking to maximize retirement income security in the years leading up to retirement.  Read the full article on AdvisorOne – http://www.advisorone.com/2012/11/08/how-new-deferred-annuities-provide-income-early-in

Posted in Estate Tax, Pensions, Retirement Planning, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Retirement planning for the next 4 years

Posted by William Byrnes on November 15, 2012


Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

With the election behind us, it is time for your clients to turn their attention to the looming tax reforms that should take shape over the next two months, and how these reforms can affect their retirement planning. Both arms of Congress will be working to reach a compromise on tax code provisions as basic as income tax rates before Jan. 1, after which the Bush-era tax cuts will expire, and rates could revert to pre-2001 levels.

Though President Obama spent little time discussing his views on tax-favored retirement accounts during his campaign, the plans he did set forth are indicative of the consequences for retirement savings. While this impact may not be immediately apparent to your clients, it is something that they need to consider as they plan for retirement this year and beyond.  See the full article on National Underwriters’ Life Health Pro http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/11/13/retirement-planning-for-the-next-4-years-under-pre

Posted in Estate Tax, Tax Policy, Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

GAO Report Touts Annuities in Uncertain Retirement Environment

Posted by William Byrnes on March 26, 2012


Want some free marketing material for your annuities business? Look no further than the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which recently released a report touting annuities for their ability to provide retirement income sufficiency in an increasingly uncertain environment.

The GAO recommends that retirees delay their receipt of Social Security Benefits and either draw down savings and purchase an annuity or select annuity options from their defined benefit (DB) plan instead of electing to receive their benefits in a lump sum.

According to the GAO, the shift from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution (DC) plans like 401(k)s necessitates a heightened focus on annuities and other options for guaranteeing income during retirement . And even if workers are saving more for retirement through their DC plans, they are still at greater risk than employees with DB pensions.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of annuities in Advisor’s Journal, see How Much to Allocate to Annuities: A Critical Analysis (CC 11-109) & Drama Over the “Drawbacks” of Annuities (CC 11-62).

For in-depth analysis of the taxation of annuities, see Advisor’s Main Library: A—Amounts Received As An Annuity & B—Amounts NOT Received As Annuities.

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Debt Deal Talks Down to the Wire

Posted by William Byrnes on March 23, 2012


Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insists that the administration needs to reach a debt limit deal by the end of this week to give Congress enough time to enact the deal into law. Without a deal, the federal government will be unable to pay its debts as of August 2 of this year.

“Default is not an option,” he said on Tuesday, July 12, at the Treasury’s Women in Finance Symposium. “Failure is not an option, and they understand that—Speaker [John] Boehner and Minority Leader [Mitch] McConnell—absolutely understand we need to move in advance of the deadline on Aug. 2nd.”

Despite Geithner’s confidence that they will reach a deal, President Obama and Congressional leaders are also working on options for keeping the government’s bills paid if a deal can’t be reached by the Treasury’s August 2 debt limit deadline. “If we are unable to come together, we think it’s extremely important that the country reassure the markets that default is not an option and reassure Social Security recipients and families of military veterans that default is not an option,” said Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.), who took part in the talks.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage in  Advisor’s Journal, see Democrats Call Debt Limit Unconstitutional (CC 11-134), Debt Limit Standoff Boils Over (CC 11-115) and Storm Clouds over U.S. Debt (CC 11-85).

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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