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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Archive for July, 2013

Contentious Issues of the Brazilian World Cup Law

Posted by William Byrnes on July 31, 2013

by Patricie Barricelli, Attorney, São Paulo Bar Association, Brazil *

The Brazilian General World Cup Law was enacted last June with the aim to amend Brazil’s legal regime for sporting events as required to meet International Federation of Association Football (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, hereinafter “FIFA”) hosting country requirements.  However, some politicians and scholars have proposed that the host country event requirements imposed by FIFA conflict with some important aspects of Brazilian laws that should be preserved.  Brazil’s recent hosting of the FIFA Confederation Cup has re-ignited the debate.

Read Patricie Barricelli’s full analysis of these contentious issues at: LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom International Law

* Please send questions or comments to the Author Patricie Barricelli e-mail: patricie.barricelli@yahoo.com.br. Ms. Barricelli is a legal compliance counsel for a tier 1 Brazilian financial institution, specializing in consumer financial law


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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 LifeHealthPro – http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/05/13/income-based-premiums-triple-medicare-costs-under

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political rhetorical reflections while preparing for a lecture…

Posted by William Byrnes on July 30, 2013

Searching for some good examples of American populist rhetoric to amuse a Law and Economics class, I re-stumbled upon William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech.  For my non-U.S. students, the “Cross of Gold” speech is heralded as one of the best rhetorical speeches delivered in the U.S. Congress.  My memory of grade school, reading Bryan’s folksy style, quickly refreshed with his opening …

“I would be presumptuous, indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were but a measuring of ability; but this is not a contest among persons. The humblest citizen in all the land when clad in the armor of a righteous cause is stronger than all the whole hosts of error that they can bring. “ …

And of course his crescendo against the gold standard:

“Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”[1]

Many years later, William Jennings Bryan made a recording of this famous speech: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/williamjenningsbryan1896dnc.htm

A week past, chatting with Professor Denis Kleinfeld as he was preparing for his course on International (Offshore) Financial Centers), he referred me author Jay Starkman’s book that includes numerous entertaining anecdotes about tax and U.S. history: The Sex of a Hippopotamus: A Unique History of Taxes and Accountancy. http://www.starkman.com/hippo/index.html (I’ve ordered a copy)

What happenstance to be reminded of Bryan’s Congressional speech in favor of the income tax.  Besides having rhetorical merit near that of the Cross of Gold speech, Bryan provides a brief summary of income tax levied right ‘round the world (well, at least Europe).  This opening certainly beats that of Cross of Gold:

“Mr. Chairman, if this were a mere contest in oratory, no one would be presumptuous enough to dispute the prize with the distinguished gentlemen from New York; but clad in the armor of a righteous cause I dare oppose myself to the shafts of his genius, believing that “pebbles of truth” will be more effective than the “javelin of error,” even when hurled by the giant of the Philistines.”

His income tax speech crescendo in favor of a 2% (aghast!) maximum rate lay prelude to the expatriation regimes of today:

“Of all the mean men I have ever known, I have never known one so mean that I would be willing to say of him that his patriotism was less than 2 per cent deep.”[2]

Now, for my Law & Econ class, I’m quite partial to the rhetoric of Huey P. Long, being that we share that great, sovereign, State of Louisana.  Thus, I went with a couple of his quotes instead.  For those of you who don’t know the folksy speeches of Huey P. Long, a good one-minuter about the (lack of) difference between Republicans and Democrats – view him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=avGl7k4OGJY

While most political economic students will know his “Every Man a King” radio address (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hueyplongking.htm), only students of political rhetoric will have been exposed to his 1928 “Evangeline” campaign speech:

“…It is here under this oak where Evangeline waited for her lover, Gabriel, who never came. This oak is an immortal spot, made so by Longfellow’s poem, but Evangeline is not the only one who has waited here in disappointment.

Where are the schools that you have waited for your children to have, that have never come?

Where are the roads and the highways that you send your money to build, that are no nearer now than ever before?

Where are the institutions to care for the sick and disabled?

Evangeline wept bitter tears in her disappointment, but it lasted only through one lifetime. Your tears in this country, around this oak, have lasted for generations. Give me the chance to dry the eyes of those who still weep here.”

[1] You may read the entire speech compliments of http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5354/

[2] You may read the entire speech compliments of http://www.starkman.com/hippo/history/bryan.shtml


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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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Producing Leaders in the Legal Academy

Posted by William Byrnes on July 26, 2013

Excerpts from the Loyola Lawyer (Fall 2012). 

William H. Byrnes, IV is a pioneer in online education. .. 

Byrnes has an affinity for the civil law and civilian education. He notes: “The insights I received from New Orleans and the civil law allowed me to see different perspectives. At a regular common law institution, I would have never been able to do this.”

“The problem with common law (case law) is that it implies there is only one way to solve a problem,” he says. “Thus, you seem to be stuck in a pigeonhole when a judge rules on a case. But this is not so in the civil law. The civil law really highlights that there are different types of logic that can be used to approach a problem. …”

Read the article at > Loyola Lawyer Fall 2012 <

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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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William Byrnes presents for Latin American Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland (LATCAM) and San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA)

Posted by William Byrnes on July 23, 2013

Link to the story at the faculty page of Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Following on his lunch time CLE presentation for the San Diego County Bar Association with Procopio tax partner Patrick Martin, Associate Dean William Byrnes was invited in April to Zurich, Switzerland to deliver a week-long series of workshops on the implications of FATCA for large financial institutions on the LATAM market.  The series of lectures and workshops began with a breakfast conference of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland, and continued through the week with banking workshops for HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, Hinduja Bank, among others.

Professor William Byrnes’ workshop series was sponsored by Amicorp, a global company service provider, via an invitation by Thomas Jefferson international tax alumni and Swiss office managing director, Geralda Buckley.

William Byrnes stated, “I was intrigued to engage with the banks’ FATCA compliance teams in an open discussion format. The rush of back and forth Q&A and thinking on my feet felt like sixteen years ago when I was a Senior Manager with Coopers & Lybrand leading in-house workshops.  Very complex issues but I’ve since been invited for other workshops so must have been well received.”

He continued, “But the best part of this lecture series was that I shared the floor with an international tax program alumni, and former federal IRS prosecutor, Robert Payne.  It’s wonderful to see the positive impact that the international tax program has played in an alumni’s career.”

“After the workshops, I fielded questions from participants about Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s distance learning pedagogical leadership via video conference specific to a bank’s tax department.”  William Byrnes said “I will continue to introduce Thomas Jefferson to a wider financial community via my alumni outreach, publications and subscribers, and invited lectures with the hope that embedded externships for the current JD and Master students may be established over the coming years.”

Conference information is available at:

San Diego County Bar https://www.sdcba.org/index.cfm?pg=events&evAction=showDetail&eid=11009&evSubAction=listAll

LATCAM http://www.puntolatino.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6240%3A160413-seminar-the-foreign-tay-compliance-act-fatca&catid=345%3Acamara-latinoamericana-de-comercio-en-suiza&Itemid=487&lang=de

Posted in Courses, FATCA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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