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

Archive for November, 2013

Will a Twitter Freeze Slash Your Thanksgiving Weight Gain or Your Client’s Tax Bill?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 28, 2013

While you think about how to reduce your weight, after the glutinous consumption of the Thanksgiving meal today, also consider how to reduce your client’s estate tax before an investment pays off.  The Twitter executives developed a plan to reduce their eventual gift and estate taxes in advance of their IPO.  The IPO has cause the value of the company to skyrocket.  But your client does not have to own Twitter stock to leverage the Twitter tax plan…. In fact,  a closer look at the planning strategies employed by Twitter shows that your client does not have to be sitting on the next hot silicon valley IPO to benefit from their use.  Even if your client does not own pre-IPO shares, the freeze and discounting strategies used can save them from a hefty tax bill.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of the Twitter freeze strategy that may be attractive for certain of your clients at > http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/11/06/can-a-twitter-freeze-slash-your-clients-tax-bill <

And please support our newest book that has just been published: > Tax Facts on Individuals and Small Business <

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Health Insurance Providers Fee (or Tax or Penalty, call it what you will) – IRS guidance issued yesterday…

Posted by William Byrnes on November 27, 2013

and it has finally come to pass time … the new health care penalty, tax, fee – whatever it is, to be calculated for businesses.   Perhaps not the best timing considering the rocky roll out.  On the other hand, better to get the bad news 11 months before the next election, when it can be forgotten by the time mail in ballots are sent out.

Notice 2013-76 provides guidance on the health insurance providers fee related to (1) the time and manner for submitting Form 8963, “Report of Health Insurance Provider Information,” (2) the time and manner for notifying covered entities of their preliminary fee calculation, (3) the time and manner for submitting a corrected Form 8963 for the error correction process, and (4) the time for notifying covered entities of their final fee calculation.

For each fee year, the IRS will make a preliminary fee calculation for each covered entity and will notify each covered entity.  The notification will include (1) the covered entity’s allocated fee; (2) the covered entity’s net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks; (3) the covered entity’s net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks taken into account after application of § 57.4(a)(4); (4) the aggregate net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks taken into
account for all covered entities; and (5) instructions for how to submit a corrected Form 8963 to correct any errors through the error correction process.

The information reported on each Form 8963 will be open for public inspection.  This aspect will be very interesting as various groups pull and then post business’ 8963s.

Posted in Compliance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

International Tax Reform – Senator Baucus fires a volley

Posted by William Byrnes on November 20, 2013

In his first volley to start a serious discussion for reform of the U.S. taxation of the international activities of U.S. parent companies, Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee Chairman released several draft tax bills yesterday.  His release statement included, “The proposal — the first in a series of discussion drafts to overhaul America’s tax code — details ideas on how to reform international tax rules to spark economic growth, create jobs, and make U.S. businesses more competitive.” 

The primary components of the proposed draft Bills include:

  • Income from selling products and providing services to U.S. customers is taxed annually at full U.S. rates.
  • Passive and highly-mobile income is taxed annually at full U.S. rates.

The drafts include two options that apply an annual minimum tax to income from products and services sold into foreign markets:

(1)   apply a minimum tax rate to all such income, or

(2)   tax such income at a lower minimum tax rate if derived from active business operations and at the full U.S. rate if not

Examples provided of a minimum rate include 60% and 80% of applicable U.S. tax, with an allowance for tax credit maintained.

The proposal calls for a ‘deemed repatriation’ of all historical earnings of foreign subsidiaries that have not been previously subject to U.S. tax, imposing a one-off tax at an example rate of 20%, payable over eight years.  Tax credits would also be allowed as offset against this one-off tax.

The proposal seeks to eliminate of the international aspects of the “check-the-box” rule.  Finally, the proposal explores mitigating ‘base profits erosion’ (BEPS) arrangements used by foreign multinationals to avoid U.S. tax.

Senator Baucus is quoted, “Over the past three years, the Finance Committee has examined every aspect of the tax code in an effort to fix a broken system.  Through hearings, option papers and blank slate proposals, we’ve received input from key stakeholders and nearly every member of the Senate.  These discussion drafts are the next step. They represent proposals collected throughout this process and provide a path forward on tax reform.  Some are Democratic ideas. Some are Republican ideas. The common link is they are all ideas worth exploring.

The Ranking (aka Minority) Member of the Committee, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, released a statement that significant policy differences must still be bridged before international tax reform is realized: “…. but the fact is that significant policy differences remain between both sides and a final agreement was never reached.  I hope that once the budget conference negotiations have concluded that we can renew our discussions to determine whether we can find common ground to overhaul our tax code.”

The discussion draft is available at > Senate international tax proposals<

The proposed bills with legislative language are available at:

> International Tax Provisions Bill (Option 1) <

> International  Tax Provisions Bill (Option 2) < and

> International Tax Provisions Bill (Option 3)

For the entire series of Tax Reform Discussion Papers, see http://www.finance.senate.gov/issue/?id=6c61b1e9-7203-4af0-b356-357388612063

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Tax Court Provides Help for Estate Planning Using Gift Tax Valuation

Posted by William Byrnes on November 19, 2013

In the gift tax arena, the value assigned to the transferred property can often make or break your high-net-worth clients’ tax planning strategies, leading many clients to move conservatively through the valuation minefield.

Despite this, the newest strategy to emerge in the world of gift tax valuation can actually allow these wealthy clients to reduce their estate tax liability. Reversing course from a previous line of cases, the Tax Court recently blessed a cutting edge valuation strategy for lifetime gifts that can be used to reduce overall estate tax liability for these clients by simultaneously reducing the bite of the often-overlooked three-year bringback rule—a rule which can cause even the most carefully laid estate plans to fail.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of the tax court case and the three-year bringback rule at > http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/10/29/tax-court-provides-help-for-estate-planning-using <


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video interview on distance education

Posted by William Byrnes on November 18, 2013

Posted in Education Theory | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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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tax planning for Individuals & Small Business … new book

Posted by William Byrnes on November 8, 2013

Check out the new title at http://www.nationalunderwriter.com/tax-facts-on-individuals-small-business.html



Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small businesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.

Rick Kravitz It is an honor to be your publisher. Rick Kravitz, Vice president, Executive director, Premium content, Summit Professional Network.” Excellent work.” 

Available at > National Underwriter <


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U.S. Tightens Scrutiny of Small Businesses Skirting Obamacare Mandate

Posted by William Byrnes on November 6, 2013

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that will require employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage for those employees or pay a penalty that can reach $3,000 per employee has many small business clients scrambling to plan for years ahead.  Because independent contractors are not counted toward the 50-employee limit, some small business clients may be tempted to reclassify common law employees as independent contractors to avoid the mandate.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of the issues, challenges, pitfalls and solutions for addressing a business’ future in a world of Obama Care at > Think Advisor <


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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 <

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

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