Wealth & Risk Management Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Estate tax in the United States’

More States Moving to Estate Tax Repeal

Posted by William Byrnes on November 18, 2011


In recent times, federal estate tax is receiving most of the attention. Nevertheless, most of the death tax activity affecting Americans occurs at the state level.

The reality is, fewer states (twenty-two plus D.C) currently have a “death tax”—referring collectively to estate and inheritance taxes. Recently,  a number of those states  increased their exemption amount to exclude a large majority of their residents from the tax. One state—Ohio—is on the verge of repealing its estate tax altogether.

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

For previous coverage of Obama’s tax agreement, including its estate tax provisions, in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama Tax Agreement Faces Stiff Resistance in Congress (CC 10-112) and Obama Tax Agreement Passed by House (CC 10-117).

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2010 Estates: To Elect or Not to Elect

Posted by William Byrnes on January 24, 2011


Did Congress finally settle the estate tax confusion when it passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Tax Relief Act) on December 16? Although the estate tax treatment of estates of decedents dying in 2011 and 2012 is crystal clear, most of our clients will outlive the current estate tax regime, and we will be stuck in the same spot we were for the last half of 2010, wondering what the next year holds.

And what about the estates of decedents dying in 2010? Under the Tax Relief Act, estates of decedents dying in 2010 have a choice. They can elect to have the estate subjected to an estate tax regime with an exclusion amount of $5,000,000 (unified credit of $1,730,000) and an estate tax rate of 35 percent. Beneficiaries of these estates will receive the benefit of the stepped-up basis rules applicable prior to 2010.  Read this complete article 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 Obama’s tax agreement, including its estate tax provisions, in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama Tax Agreement Faces Stiff Resistance in Congress (CC 10-112) and Obama Tax Agreement Passed by House (CC 10-117).

For in-depth analysis of the estate tax, see Estate, Gift and GST Taxes.

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Obama Tax Cuts Analysis: Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on January 18, 2011


The recent Obama Tax Cuts reinstated the estate and generation skipping transfer taxes effective for decedents dying and transfers made after December 31, 2009.  As was discussed earlier this week, the estate tax applicable exclusion amount is $5 million for decedents dying in calendar years after 2011, and the maximum estate tax rate is 35 percent. Furthermore, the generation skipping transfer tax exemption for decedents dying or gifts made after December 31, 2009, is equal to the applicable exclusion amount for estate tax purposes ($5 million for 2010).

For a general background on the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax, see our November 1st Blogticle entitled: Life Insurance and the Generation—Skipping Transfer Tax

Although technically the generation skipping transfer tax is applicable for 2010, the generation skipping transfer tax rate for transfers made during 2010 is zero percent. After this year, the generation skipping transfer tax rate equals the highest estate and gift tax rate in effect for such year (35 percent in 2011 and 2012), notwithstanding the exclusion amounts.

Moreover, under the new law, a recipient of property acquired from a decedent who dies after December 31, 2009, generally will receive fair market value basis (i.e., “step up” in basis). [1]

To read this article excerpted above, please access http://www.advisorfyi.com/2010/12/obama-tax-cuts-analysis-estate-and-generation-skipping-transfer-tax/

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The Future of Estate Planning under the Obama Tax Cuts

Posted by William Byrnes on January 11, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Presents discussion on the effect of the Obama Tax Cuts on the Estate Planning industry in general.  Also presents analysis regarding the estate tax burden on taxpayers.

The quintessential planning tool that many wealth managers relied on could easily become a thing of the past.  In other words, the Obama Tax cuts are creating concern for some wealth managers who sold life insurance to cover the tax of an estate at the death of the decedent. Sections 301-304 of the new law reinstated the estate tax, but nevertheless, created large exclusions, essentially removing the need for many to cover the estate tax burden with the purchase of life insurance.

Specifically, the applicable estate tax exclusion amount is $5 million under the law (and is indexed for inflation) for decedents dying in calendar years starting in 2011.  Married individuals’ will see a total exclusion of $10 million.  Furthermore, the new law reinstates the maximum estate tax rate of 35 percent.  To read this article excerpted above, access www.AdvisorFYI.com

 

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Unqualified Disclaimers Can Create an Unexpected Tax Bill

Posted by William Byrnes on October 27, 2010


A disclaimer in the estate planning context is a voluntary refusal to accept a gift from a will. A properly structured disclaimer can be a great tax planning technique, allowing the person making the disclaimer to pass a gift on to the next person in line—for instance, someone in the next generation—without being subject to the gift tax.  But a disclaimer should not be made lightly because a disclaimer that is not “qualified” for tax purposes can create serious gift tax consequences for the person making the disclaimer.

The danger of an improperly made disclaimer was clearly illustrated in a recent U.S. District Court, Estate of Tatum v. U.S. There, Son disclaimed his interest in the residue of his father`s estate. But because Son`s disclaimer was not a qualified disclaimer, Son was treated as if he received the gift and then made a taxable gift to his children, resulting in a gift tax bill for Son and his wife of over $1,600,000.

Read this complete article 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 in-depth analysis of qualified disclaimers, see the AUS Main Libraries Section 7 B1—What Transactions Constitute Taxable Gifts

 

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Valuation Discounts: Only for a Bona Fide Business

Posted by William Byrnes on October 4, 2010


Valuation discounts are increasingly challenged by the IRS. Gone are the days when assets could be dropped into a family limited partnership with some transfer restrictions and forgotten about until a valuation discount was needed to reduce a gift or estate tax bill.  A recent U.S. District Court case, Fisher v. U.S., reminds us that times have changed.  Often, placing assets in a business entity is no longer enough to justify a valuation discount—the entity must be run like a business to justify the discount.   Read the analysis by our experts Robert Bloink and William Byrnes located at AdvisorFX Journal Valuation Discounts: Only for a Bona Fide Business

For some good news about valuation discounts, see our article in AdvisorFX Advisor’s Journal on the Jensen case.

From a tax perspective see Tax Facts Q 613. How is a closely held business interest valued for federal estate tax purposes?

After reading the analysis, we invite your questions and comments by posting them below, or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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Incidents of Ownership and Burden on the Estate

Posted by William Byrnes on September 22, 2010


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?   Discusses estate tax considerations in regards to life insurance policies.  Also, includes a detailed dialogue of the incidents of ownership concept. 

What do most wealth managers try to avoid when planning with life insurance and trusts?

That the Gross Estate for Estate Tax calculations would include the death benefit from the policy in the estate.

What are some common ways to avoid this dilemma when using a trust and life insurance in regards to estate planning?

For the answer to this question, and planning analysis, see the blogticle at AdvisorFYI

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