William Byrnes' Tax, Wealth, and Risk Intelligence

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

TaxFacts Intelligence Weekly of September 13, 2019 – Actionable Analysis for Financial Advisors

Posted by William Byrnes on September 14, 2019

2019’s Tax Facts Offers a Complete Web, App-Based, and Print Experience

Reducing complicated tax questions to understandable answers that can be immediately put into real-life practice, Tax Facts works when and where you need it….on your desktop, at home on your laptop, and on the go through your tablet or smartphone.  Questions? Contact customer service: TaxFactsHelp@alm.com800-543-0874

Texas A&M University School of Law has launched its International Tax online curriculum for graduate degree candidates. Admissions is open for Spring (January) semester for the transfer pricing courses.  Texas A&M University is a public university of the state of Texas and is ranked 1st among public universities for its superior education at an affordable cost (Fiske, 2018) and ranked 1st of Texas public universities for best value (Money, 2018). 

IRS PLR Approving CLAT Structure Provides Option for High-Net Worth Estate Planning

The IRS has recently released a private letter ruling approving a charitable lead annuity trust (CLAT) structure that may prove useful in estate planning for high net worth clients. In the case at issue, the taxpayer proposed to set up a revocable trust where the trust would first pay certain debts and expenses and then distribute the trust assets to other individuals and trusts if the taxpayer predeceased his spouse. Should the spouse die first, the trust would have paid the relevant debts, made distributions to individuals and trusts and then transfer the remaining assets to the CLAT, which would then pay a 5% annuity to the charity based upon the initial trust’s fair market value. The IRS approved this structure even though in most cases, the CLAT must have a payout stream that lasts a predetermined number of years to qualify for tax preferential treatment (deduction of the present value of annuity payments for the estate). Here, the IRS determined that it would eventually be possible to calculate that specified payout term once the CLAT was funded from the revocable trust after payment of debts, expenses and distributions to other beneficiaries. For more information on charitable lead trusts, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Recent Ninth Circuit Case Highlights Importance of Disclosing Transactions Substantially Similar to “Listed Transactions”

The IRS identifies certain types of transactions as having the potential for tax avoidance, and thus requires that taxpayers disclose these transactions affirmatively in order to avoid penalties. The IRS can impose penalties for failing to disclose a listed transaction, but also has authority to impose penalties for failure to disclose a transaction that it deems to be “substantially similar” to a transaction that is specifically listed. The case at hand involved a situation where a company participated in a group life insurance term plan in order to fund cash-value life insurance that the sole shareholder and employee owned. While the structure at issue was not specifically listed, the IRS determined that the transaction was substantially similar to other listed transactions and imposed a $10,000 penalty for every year that the taxpayer failed to disclose the transaction. For more information on the exemptions that may apply in cases involving prohibited transactions, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Reminder to Clients: 401(k) Exceptions for Early Withdrawal Liability Differ From IRAs

Most clients understand that they may be entitled to claim an exemption from the generally applicable 10 percent early withdrawal penalty if retirement accounts are tapped prior to age 591/2 where the funds are used for certain specified purposes. However, a recent Tax Court case highlights the need for clients to understand that the exceptions vary depending upon whether the account is a 401(k) or an IRA. In this case, the taxpayer used 401(k) account funds withdrawn early to fund the purchase of her home and attempted to claim an exception to the penalty. However, the exception for purchasing a home only applies in the case of IRA funds–and the courts strictly apply the exception even in cases where the error resulted from an honest mistake. Because of this, it’s important that clients be advised as to the detailed requirements that apply depending upon the type of account involved. For more information on the exceptions to the early withdrawal penalties, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Tax Facts Team
Molly Miller
William H. Byrnes, J.D., LL.M
Tax Facts Author
Jason Gilbert, J.D.
Senior Editor
Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.
Tax Facts Author
Connie L. Jump
Senior Manager, Editorial Operations
Alexis Long, J.D.
Senior Contributor
Patti O’Leary
Senior Editorial Assistant
Danielle Birdsail
Digital Marketing Manager
Emily Brunner
Editorial Assistant

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