Wealth & Risk Management Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘tax’

New Generation of Tax Graduates – An Innovative Evolution

Posted by William Byrnes on March 7, 2016


Haven’t sat down with Kat in couple years (she’s the nation’s leading tax recruiter, all the big companies and Big 4 hiring partners know her), but she wrote this entertaining and highlyTax-connections-logodescriptive story yesterday to her 100,000 tax folks worldwide that leverage her tax recruitment site.

“… What I shall never forget was the experience that summer day in 2007 in an old dilapidated building. There I was sitting in a wobbly old chair to the right side of a scholarly, forward thinking tax law Professor sitting in front of a computer that looked like the very first “Lisa” computer that Steve Jobs built. Although it was probably not that one, it sure looked like it! The old computer had loose wires hooked up to another old computer with a video fixture added to the mix of wires and computer equipment. I sat there next to Professor Byrnes and experienced my very first distance course with students from Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Europe, U.S. and some other countries. It was fascinating to observe him teaching his tax students online from multiple countries. The experience in this old building with old computers hooked together with loose wires in what appeared to look like an old scientist experiment had me thinking privately… ”

https://www.taxconnections.com/taxblog/new-generation-of-tax-graduates-find-tax-jobs-an-innovative-evolution-by-taxconnections/

From when I started in 1994 until recently, technology and education had been totally disconnected, so much so that I had to build my own computers and servers from parts I scavenged from the computer lab discarded machines, like old Gateways and IBMs, because faculty administration would not budget for technology build out for a professor. Anyway – blast from the past that I thought may be interesting to anyone in tax education.

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

Deducting Moving Expenses

Posted by William Byrnes on December 9, 2015


If you move because of your job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the move on your tax return. You may be able to deduct your costs if you move to start a new job or to work at the same job in a new location. The IRS offers the following tips about moving expenses and your tax return.

In order to deduct moving expenses, your move must meet three requirements:

1. The move must closely relate to the start of work.  Generally, you can consider moving expenses within one year of the date you start work at a new job location. Additional rules apply to this requirement.

2. Your move must meet the distance test.  Your new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job location. For example, if your old job was three miles from your old home, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old home.

3. You must meet the time test.  After the move, you must work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet this test and work full-time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at the new job site. If your income tax return is due before you’ve met this test, you can still deduct moving expenses if you expect to meet it.

If you can claim this deduction, here are a few more tips from the IRS:

  • Travel.  You can deduct transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving from your old home to your new home.  BUT you cannot deduct your travel meal costs.
  • Household goods and utilities.  You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and shipping your things. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit. You can deduct the cost of connecting or disconnecting utilities.
  • Nondeductible expenses.  You cannot deduct as moving expenses any part of the purchase price of your new home, the cost of selling a home or the cost of entering into or breaking a lease. See Publication 521 for a complete list.
  • Reimbursed expenses.  If your employer later pays you for the cost of a move that you deducted on your tax return, you may need to include the payment as income. You report any taxable amount on your tax return in the year you get the payment.
  • Address Change.  When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Post Office. To notify the IRS file Form 8822, Change of Address.

Tax Facts Online is the premier practical, useful, actionable, and affordable reference on the taxation of insurance, employee benefits, investments, small tax-facts-online
business and individuals. This advisory service provides expert guidance on hundreds of the most frequently asked client questions concerning their most important tax issues.

Many ongoing, significant developments have affected tax law and, consequently, tax advice and strategies. Tax Facts Online is the only source that is reviewed daily and updated regularly by our expert editors.

In addition to completely current content not available anywhere else, Tax Facts Online gives you exclusive access to:

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Tax Facts Online Core Content

Tax Facts on Insurance provides definitive answers to your clients’ most important tax-related insurance questions, while offering insightful analysis and illustrative examples. Numerous planning points direct you to the most recent and important insurance solutions.

Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides current in-depth coverage of important client-related employee benefits questions. Employee benefits affect most2015_tf_triple_combo_cover-meveryone, and your clients must know how to deal with often complex issues and problems. Tax Facts on Employee Benefits provides the answers in a direct, concise, and practical manner.

Tax Facts on Investments provides clear, detailed answers to your difficult tax questions concerning investments. You must know what investments best suit your clients from a tax standpoint. You will discover questions that directly provide insightful answers, comparison of investment choices, as well as how investments have changed in recent years.

Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business focuses exclusively on what individuals and small buisnesses need to know to maximize opportunities under today’s often complex tax rules.  It is the essential tax reference for financial advisors, & planners; insurance professionals; CPAs; attorneys; and other practitioners advising small businesses and individuals.

  • Charles Calello Enterprise/Group Inquiries 201-526-1259 Email Me
  • Customer Service 800-543-0874 8am – 6pm ET Monday – Thursday 8am – 5pm ET Friday Email Customer Service

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Hedge funds using “basket options” to recharacterize income as long term capital gain, bypass leverage limits – Senate webcast hearing today

Posted by William Byrnes on July 22, 2014


13.05.15-SubcommitteeTwo global banks and more than a dozen hedge funds misused a complex financial structure to claim billions of dollars in unjustified tax savings and to avoid leverage limits that protect the financial system from risky debt, a Senate Subcommittee investigation has found.

to watch the webcast and dowload the report, go to http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/2014/07/hedge-funds-using-basket-options-to-recharacterize-income-as-long-term-capital-gain-bypass-leverage-.html

 

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8 Tax Facts about Penalties for Late Filing and Paying Taxes

Posted by William Byrnes on June 18, 2014


In Tax Tip 2014-56, the IRS provided 9 tax facts that a taxpayer needs to know about late filing and late paying tax penalties after the deadline of April 15.  By example, taxpayers should be made aware that the failure-to-file penalty is usually 10 times greater than the failure-to-pay penalty.  So the IRS encourages taxpayers to file on time, even if they cannot pay on time.

1. If a taxpayer is due a federal tax refund then there is no penalty if the tax return is filed later than April 15.  However, if a taxpayer owes taxes and fails to file the tax return by April 15 or fails to pay any tax due by April 15,  then the taxpayer will probably owe interest and penalties on the tax still after April 15.

2. Two federal penalties may apply. The first is a failure-to-file penalty for late filing. The second is a failure-to-pay penalty for paying late.

3. The failure-to-file penalty is usually much more than the failure-to-pay penalty.  In most cases, it is 10 times more!!!  So if a taxpayer cannot pay what is owe by April 15, the taxpayer should still file a tax return on time and pay as much as possible to reduce the balance.

4. The failure-to-file penalty is normally 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. It will not exceed 25% of the unpaid taxes.

5. If a taxpayer files a return more than 60 days after the due date (or extended due date), the minimum penalty for late filing is the smaller of $135 or 100% of the unpaid tax.

6. The failure-to-pay penalty is generally 0.5% per month of your unpaid taxes.  It applies for each month or part of a month your taxes remain unpaid and starts accruing the day after taxes are due.  It can build up to as much as 25% of the unpaid taxes.

7. If the 5% failure-to-file penalty and the 0.5% failure-to-pay penalty both apply in any month, the maximum penalty amount charged for that month is 5%.

8. If a taxpayer requested the 6-month extension of time to file the income tax return (until October 15) by the tax due date of April 15 and paid at least 90% of the taxes that are owed, then the taxpayer may not face a failure-to-pay penalty.  However, the taxpayer must pay the remaining balance by the extended due date.  The taxpayer will still owe interest on any taxes paid after the April 15 due date.

9. A taxpayer may avoid a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty if able to show reasonable cause for not filing or paying on time.

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Because of the constant changes to the tax law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. For over 110 years, National Underwriter has provided fast, clear, and authoritative answers to financial advisors pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

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 Rick Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.


If you are interested in discussing the Master or Doctoral degree in the areas of financial services or international taxation, please contact me: profbyrnes@gmail.com to Google Hangout or Skype that I may take you on an “online tour” 

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What are the tax advantages of owning exchange-traded funds (ETFs)? 10 tax tips to investments …

Posted by William Byrnes on June 5, 2014


What are the tax advantages of owning exchange-traded funds (ETFs)?

ETFs enjoy a more favorable tax treatment than mutual funds due to their unique structure. …

How are ETFs taxed? …

How are dividends received from a mutual fund taxed?

… may pay three types of dividends to their shareholders …

These and 7 other tax questions about investments are answered in our article and analysis on LifeHealthPro

 

If you are interested in discussing the Master or Doctoral degree in the areas of financial planning, please contact me: profbyrnes@gmail.com to Google Hangout or Skype that I may take you on an “online tour” 

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How Will The Lifetime Learning Credit Help Pay My Higher Education Tuition?

Posted by William Byrnes on May 15, 2014


The IRS’ Tax Tip 2014-41 answers this question, in conjunction with its > online publication < .

The Lifetime Learning Credit is:

  • Limited to $2,000 per tax return, per year.
  • For all years of higher education, including classes for learning or improving job skills.
  • Limited to the amount of the tax due for that year.
  • For the cost of tuition and required fees, plus books, supplies and equipment.
  • The taxpayer’s school should provide a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, showing expenses for the year.
  • File Form 8863, Education Credits, to claim these credits on the tax return.
  • The credit is subject to income limits that could reduce the credit amount.
Maximum credit Up to $2,000 credit per return
Limit on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) $127,000 if married filling jointly;
$63,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Refundable or nonrefundable Nonrefundable—credit limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your taxable income
Number of years of postsecondary education Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills
Number of tax years credit available Available for an unlimited number of years
Type of program required Student does not need to be pursuing a program leading to a degree or other recognized education credential
Number of courses Available for one or more courses
Felony drug conviction Felony drug convictions do not make the student ineligible
Qualified expenses Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance (including amounts required to be paid to the institution for course-related books, supplies, and equipment)
Payments for academic periods Payments made in 2014 for academic periods beginning in 2014 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2015

 

How does a tax credit work?

A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax a taxpayer may have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit directly reduces the tax itself. The lifetime learning credit is a nonrefundable credit. This means that it can reduce tax owed to zero, but if the credit is more than the tax owing then the excess will not be refunded.

Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit

The amount of the lifetime learning credit is phased out (gradually reduced) if MAGI is between $53,000 and $63,000 ($107,000 and $127,000 if you file a joint return). For 2013, by example, a taxpayer cannot claim a lifetime learning credit if MAGI is $63,000 or more ($127,000 or more if a joint tax return).
   For most taxpayers, MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) as figured on the federal income tax return.  MAGI is the AGI on line 38 of the 1040 form, modified by adding back any:

  1. Foreign earned income exclusion,
  2. Foreign housing exclusion,
  3. Foreign housing deduction,
  4. Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of American Samoa, and
  5. Exclusion of income by bona fide residents of Puerto Rico.

For an indepth analysis of deductions for donations to U.S. charities (and the government’s policy encouraging or discouraging these donations), download my article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2304044

If you are interested in discussing the Master or Doctoral degree in the areas of financial services or international taxation, please contact me profbyrnes@gmail.com to Google Hangout or Skype that I may take you on an “online tour” 

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6 Tax Facts for Self-Employed Taxpayers

Posted by William Byrnes on April 23, 2014


In Tax Tip 2014-34, the IRS provided 6 tax tips for self employed taxpayers.

  1. Self-employment income includes income received for part-time work.  This is in addition to income from a regular job.
  2. A self employed taxpayer must file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with your Form 1040.
  3. A self employed taxpayer may have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax if a profit was earned.  Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. Use Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, to calculate whether any self employment tax is due.
  4. A self employed taxpayer may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers typically make these payments on income that is not subject to withholding.  A taxpayer may be charged a penalty if not paying enough estimated taxes throughout the entire year.
  5. A self employed taxpayer can deduct some expenses paid to run your trade or business. A self employed taxpayer can deduct most business expenses in full, but some must be ’capitalized.’  Capitalization means that the deduction will be limited to just a portion of the expense each year over a period of years.  By example, only the first $5,000 of the “start-up” expenses for a new business of the taxpayer is potentially deductible, and not until the year in which the active trade or business begins.  All other start up expenses must be amortized over a 180-month period, beginning with the month the business starts.  Thus, start up expenses in general are only deductible over this 180 month period, and not in the year actually incurred.
  6. A self employed taxpayer can deduct business expenses only if the expenses are both ordinary and necessary.  An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in an industry.  A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for the trade or business.

tax-facts-online_medium

Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

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 Rick Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What do I need to know about the Health Care Law for my 2013 Tax Return?

Posted by William Byrnes on March 23, 2014


The IRS stated in Health Care Tax Tip 2014-10 that for most taxpayers, the Affordable Care Act has no effect on the 2013 federal income tax return. For example, for the 2013 tax return a taxpayer does not yet report health care coverage under the individual shared responsibility provision or claim the premium tax credit.  Reporting of these items start with the filing of the 2014 tax return (which will only happen between late January and April 15, 2015).

However, the IRS alerted that some taxpayers people will be affected by a few provisions, including two new medical taxes and a reduction in the ability to take a deduction for medical expenses incurred during 2013.  See (1) increases in the itemized medical deduction threshold, (2) additional Medicare tax and (3) net investment income tax.

The IRS reminded taxpayers that the employer’s reporting of a taxpayer’s value of health care coverage is not taxable (the new box 12 employer health care reporting requirement, identified by Code DD on an employee’s Form W-2) . 

Information available about other tax provisions in the health care law: More information is available regarding the following tax provisions: Premium Rebate for Medical Loss RatioHealth Flexible Spending Arrangements, and Health Saving Accounts.

tax-facts-online_medium

Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

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 Rick Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

 

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Three Tax Tips about Obama Care

Posted by William Byrnes on March 12, 2014


Here are three tips about how the law may affect you:

The IRS published tax tip HC-TT- 2014-05 alerting taxpayers that Obama Care has provisions that may affect personal income taxes. How Obama Care affects a taxpayer depends on employment status, whether the taxpayer participates in a tax favored health plan, and the taxpayer’s age.

1. Employment Status

  • If a taxpayer is employed then the employer may report the value of the health insurance provided on the W-2 in Box 12 with a Code “DD”.  However, this amount is not taxable.
  • If a taxpayer is self-employed, then the taxpayer may deduct the cost of health insurance premiums, within limits.

2. Tax Favored Health Plans

  • If a taxpayer has a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) at work, money added to it normally reduces taxable income.
  • If a taxpayer has a health savings account (HSA) at work, money the employer adds to it, within limits, is not taxable.
  • Money added to an HSA usually counts as a deduction.
  • Money used from an HSA for “qualified medical expenses” is not taxable income; however, withdrawals for other purposes are taxable and can even be subject to an additional tax.
  • If a taxpayer has a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) at work, money received from it is generally not taxable.

3. Age

If a taxpayer is age 65 or older, the threshold for itemized medical deductions remains at 7.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) until 2017; for others the threshold increased to 10 percent of AGI in 2013.  AGI is shown on Form 1040 tax form.

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IRS Small Business Tax Center ….

Posted by William Byrnes on March 7, 2014


IRS Tax Tip 2014-09 posted February a couple weeks ago and I excerpt relevant portions for the small business community, many actively engaging with their tax preparers for tax season.

The Center includes these resources:

  • You can apply for an Employer Identification Number, get a form or learn about employment taxes.
  • IRS Video Portal.  Watch helpful videos and webinars on many topics. Find out about filing and paying business taxes or about how the IRS audit process works. Under the ‘Businesses’ tab, look for the ’Small Biz Workshop.’ Watch it when you want to learn the basics about small business taxes.
  • Online Tools and Educational Products.  The list of Small Business products includes the Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed. Install the IRS CalendarConnector tool and access important tax dates and tips right from your smart phone or computer, even when you’re offline.
  • Small Business Events.  Find out about free IRS small business workshops and other events planned in your state.

Go to the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center and use the A-Z index to find whatever you need.

For more than half a century, Tax Facts has been an essential resource designed to meet the real-world tax-guidance needs of professionals in both the insurance and investment industries.  For over 110 years, National Underwriter has been the first in line with the targeted tax, insurance, and financial planning information you need to make critical business decisions.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

tax-facts-online_medium

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.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

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Ancient Roman Munificence: The Development of the Practice and Law of Charity

Posted by William Byrnes on January 22, 2014


This > article < by Professor William Byrnes 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 68 (link is http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2314731

Posted in Tax Exempt Orgs, Tax Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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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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Interview with William H. Byrnes, IV, Associate Dean at Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Posted by William Byrnes on September 5, 2013


Professor William H. Byrnes was a pioneer of online legal education, creating the first LL.M. offered online through a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Now as Associate Dean for Graduate & Distance Education Programs at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Professor Byrnes teaches courses including Federal Tax, International Tax, and International Business Transactions. Professor Byrnes has an impressive record in academics and research, and was kind enough to set aside time to speak with MastersinAccounting.info

Read the full interview at > William Byrnes Interview <

How did your professional experiences shape your approach to the classroom?

As a Senior Manager then Associate Director of Coopers & Lybrand, a three year associate to a renowned senior figure in the international tax industry, and undertaking a three year fellowship at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation on the topic of transfer pricing. I advised clients in many countries. Large diverse multinational groups required a robust sensitivity for intercultural business practices and social differences.

In the nineties, I was a tax professor in South Africa during the time of its change to a full democracy with the corresponding upheavals. During those years, I experienced the challenges of classroom integration of cultures, languages, and economic backgrounds. Moreover, being a pioneer of online education in the field of tax during those years, I developed a pedagogical understanding of knowledge and expertise acquisition, and of mapping education processes to learning outcomes. …. .

I bring all of these experiences holistically to a “flipped” classroom, learner-centered approach.  ….

Read the full interview at > William Byrnes Interview <

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Net unrealized appreciation tax break: Still a tax break in 2013?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 4, 2013


The tax break provided for net unrealized appreciation (NUA) on 401(k) account distributions once provided a powerful tax savings strategy for clients with large 401(k) balances — allowing some clients to reduce their taxes on these retirement funds by as much as 20 percent.

Today, as high-net-worth clients are increasingly seeking strategies to help minimize their tax burdens in light of higher 2013 tax rates, the NUA strategy may have become more complicated than ever.   Read the full analysis of William Byrnes & Robert Bloink at > Life Health Pro <

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IRS’ NEW “HOW TO” VIDEOS FOR FATCA Registration

Posted by William Byrnes on August 27, 2013


For the period from the opening of the FATCA registration website through December 31, 2013, a financial institution (FI) will be able to access its online account to modify or add registration information.

FIs can use the remainder of 2013 to become familiar with the FATCA registration website, to input preliminary information, and to refine that information.  On or after January 1, 2014, each FI will be expected to finalize its registration information by logging into its online account on the FATCA registration website, making any necessary additional changes, and submitting the information as final.

As registrations are finalized and approved in 2014, registering FIs will receive a notice of registration acceptance and will be issued a global intermediary identification number (GIIN).

The IRS will electronically post the first IRS Foreign Financial Institution (FFI) List by June 2, 2014, and will update the list on a monthly basis thereafter.  To ensure inclusion in the June 2014 IRS FFI List, an FI will need to finalize its registration by April 25, 2014.

Below find a link to IRS instructions, user guide and video materials to assist you and your financial institution with FATCA registration:

FATCA Registration Overview (PDF)
FATCA Registration Online User Guide (PDF)
Tips for Logging into the FATCA Registration System
Instructions for Form 8957 (PDF)
Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) Composition (PDF)

“How-to” videos to assist financial institutions with FATCA registration:

Creating a FATCA account for online registration
Logging into a FATCA Account
Recovering a FATCA ID or resetting a FATCA Access Code
Registration System Common Features and Navigation

 

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Second Edition of Lexis’ International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide released

Posted by William Byrnes on August 26, 2013


Associate Dean William Byrnes is also pleased to announce the publication of International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide, Second Edition by LexisNexis.

The second edition of International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide, authored by Professor William H. Byrnes and Dr. Robert J. Munro, includes new binders with new chapter structures of completely rewritten tax information and analysis. The second edition of Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs includes a new structure for all 110 country chapters to reflect the evolution of national tax systems since 1948. The International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide has been expanded to include many new countries to match the robust list of Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs, and its footnote numbering has been amended for brevity and modern coherence.

Moreover, International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide subscribers will receive new chapters of analysis and planning based on the OECD Model DTA articles and major trading country jurisprudence that are most relevant to corporate tax counsel, addressing topics such as capital gains, dividends, interest, rents, leasing income, royalties, and permanent establishment, as well as developing topics such as new standards of information exchange. Corporate counsel may combine these publications with the LexisNexis Matthew Bender publication Tax Havens of the World to form a complete international tax planning and risk management library.

Associate Dean William Byrnes said “The Second Edition completes my re-write process of this book to re-structure the citation architecture for a modern approach to tax treaty analysis,”  Over the next two years I will author an in-depth, comparative analysis of tax treaty articles, to provide practitioners and arbitrators a go-to treatise for global corporate planning.”

William Byrnes continued “In 1974, Matthew Bender added a third binder to Foreign Tax & Trade Briefs, the International Withholding Tax Treaty Guide, to specifically address the important role of tax treaties in tax risk management that had developed in the sixties. By 1975, nearly one thousand tax treaties had been signed between countries based on the OECD’s Model with an additional 200 treaties in force based on the League of Nations Models. Moreover, many (former) territories had become independent, developing countries with the ability to establish their own tax treaties. There are now more than 3,200 tax treaties, of which 2,900 are signed and in effect with the remaining 300 yet to become effective by official legislative approval.”

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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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The Development of the Law of Charity and Charitable Practices

Posted by William Byrnes on August 22, 2013


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

This article describes the ancient legal practices, codified in Biblical law and later rabbinical commentary, to protect the needy. The ancient Hebrews were the first civilization to establish a charitable framework for the caretaking of the populace. The Hebrews developed a complex and comprehensive system of charity to protect the needy and vulnerable. These anti-poverty measures – including regulation of agriculture, loans, working conditions, and customs for sharing at feasts – were a significant development in the jurisprudence of charity.

The first half begins with a brief history of ancient civilization, providing context for the development of charity by exploring the living conditions of the poor. The second half concludes with a searching analysis of the rabbinic jurisprudence that established the jurisprudence of charity. This ancient jurisprudence is the root of the American modern philanthropic idea of charitable giving exemplified by modern equivalent provisions in the United States Tax Code. However, the author normatively concludes that American law has in recent times deviated from these practices to the detriment of modern charitable jurisprudence. A return to the wisdom of ancient jurisprudence will improve the effectiveness of modern charity and philanthropy.

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

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FATCA Registration Portal Finally Opens

Posted by William Byrnes on August 21, 2013


Update for subscribers of LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance[1]

FATCA requires that FFIs, through a responsible officer (a.k.a. “FATCA compliance officer”), make regular certifications to the IRS via the FATCA Portal, as well as annually disclose taxpayer and account information for U.S. persons, unless an intergovernmental agreement allows for indirect reporting to the IRS via a foreign government.   On Monday, August 19 the IRS opened its new online FATCA registration system for financial institutions that need to register for compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.[2]  This critical FATCA milestone was supposed to open July 15; however only on July 12 the IRS issued a postponement, as well as a push back of all corresponding impacted milestones and deadlines.

The full text of this article is available on the LexisNexis FATCA http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/tax-law/b/fatcacentral/archive/2013/08/21/the-race-to-register-with-the-irs-online-fatca-system-has-begun.aspx

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U.S. History of Non-Profit Tax Exemption and Deduction for Donations

Posted by William Byrnes on August 20, 2013


“. . . [w]hen the Finance Committee began public hearings on the Tax Reform Act of 1969 I referred to the bill as ‘368 pages of bewildering complexity.’  It is now 585 pages  . . . . Much of this complexity stems from the many sophisticated ways wealthy individuals – using the best advice that money can buy – have found ways to shift their income from high tax brackets to low ones, and in many instances to make themselves completely tax free.  It takes complicated amendments to end complicated devices.” Senator Russell Long, Chairman, Finance Committee

Download this entire article at > William Byrnes’ full-lenth articles on SSRN <

From the turn of the twentieth century, Congress and the states have uniformly granted tax exemption to charitable foundations, and shortly thereafter tax deductions for charitable donations.  But an examination of state and federal debates and corresponding government reports, from the War of Independence to the 1969 private foundation reforms, clearly shows that politically, America has been a house divided on the issue of the charitable foundation tax exemption.  By example, in 1863, the Treasury Department issued a ruling that exempted charitable institutions from the federal income tax but the following year, Congress rejected charitable tax exemption legislation.  However thirty years later, precisely as feared by its 1864 critics, the 1894 charitable tax exemption’s enactment carried on its coat tails a host of non-charitable associations, such as mutual savings banks, mutual insurance associations, and building and loan associations.

Yet, the political debate regarding tax exemption for the non-charitable associations did not nearly rise to the level expended upon that for philanthropic, private foundations established by industrialists for charitable purposes in the early part of the century.  But the twentieth century debate upon the foundation’s charitable exemption little changed from that posited between the 1850s and 1870s by Presidents James Madison and Ulysses Grant, political commentator James Parton and Dr. Charles Eliot, President of Harvard.  The private foundation tax exemption evoked a populist fury, leading to numerous, contentious, investigatory foundation reports from that of 1916 Commission of Industrial Relations, 1954 Reece Committee, 1960 Patman reports, and eventually the testimony and committee reports for the 1969 tax reform.  These reports uniformly alleged widespread abuse of, and by, private foundations, including tax avoidance, and economic and public policy control of the nation.  The private foundation sector sought refuge in the 1952 Cox Committee, 1965 Treasury Report, and 1970 Petersen Commission, which uncovered insignificant abuse, concluded strong public benefit, though recommending modest regulation.

During the charitable exemption debates from 1915 to 1969, Congress initiated and intermittently increased the charitable income tax deduction while scaling back the extent of exemption for both private and public foundations to the nineteenth century norms.  At first, the private foundation’s lack of differentiation from general public charities protected their insubstantially regulated exemption.  But in 1943, contemplating eliminating the charitable exemption, Congress rather drove a wedge between private and public charities.  This wedge allowed the private foundation’s critics to enact a variety of discriminatory rules, such as limiting its charitable deduction from that of public charities, and eventually snowballed to become a significant portion of the 1969 tax reform’s 585 pages.

This article studies this American political debate on the charitable tax exemption from 1864 to 1969, in particular, the debate regarding philanthropic, private foundations.  The article’s premise is that the debate’s core has little evolved since that between the 1850s and 1870s. To create perspective, a short brief of the modern economic significance of the foundation sector follows.  Thereafter, the article begins with a review of the pre- and post-colonial attitudes toward charitable institutions leading up to the 1800s debates, illustrating the incongruity of American policy regarding whether and to what extent to grant charities tax exemption.  The 1800s state debates are referenced and correlated to parts of the 1900s federal debate to show the similarity if not sameness of the arguments against and justifications for exemption.  The twentieth century legislative examination primarily focuses upon the regulatory evolution for foundations.  Finally, the article concludes with a brief discussion of the 1969 tax reform’s changes to the foundation rules and the significant twentieth century legislation regulating both public and private foundations.

Download this entire article at > William Byrnes’ full-lenth articles on SSRN <

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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 »

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 »

Preparing Clients for the Reality of PPACA’s Investment Income Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on November 26, 2012


… the PPACA provisions proposing an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income will shortly become effective … and your high-income clients will need advice on how to reposition their investments today to minimize its effect.  Read the full article at http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/07/19/preparing-clients-for-the-reality-of-ppacas-invest

Posted in Pensions, Retirement Planning, Taxation | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Room for compromise: eliminating the fiscal cliff with current tax rates

Posted by William Byrnes on November 23, 2012


… While most compromise legislation has focused on allowing some of these rates to rise while maintaining current rates for lower-income groups, Congress may beable to leave most tax rates in place if they focus on capping deductions and reducing spending for all taxpayers. Of course,

US Tax Rates (Taxes on riches/wealth)

US Tax Rates (Taxes on riches/wealth) (Photo credit: mSeattle)

Read the entire article at National Underwriters’ –> Life Health Pro <–

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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 »

IRS Quashes Conversion Treatment for Basket Option Contracts

Posted by William Byrnes on March 16, 2012


Long-term gains yield more favorable tax costs than short-term gains. Short-term gains carry an additional 20% tax cost over long-term gains, encouraging the manufacturing of transactions designed to convert short-term to long-term gains. Unfortunately, these transactions attract undue attention from the IRS and are often disregarded by the Service. The IRS recently considered the tax treatment of one of these gain-recharacterization schemes, a basket option contract, in a generic legal advice memorandum (AM 2010-005).

The IRS altered its categorization of  the contract, viewing it as if the investor purchased the securities in a margin account, paying cash equal to 10% of the value of the securities and borrowing 90% of the value from the investment bank. Just as was the case with the “option,” the investor had almost total control over investment of the securities and would reap all appreciation and income from the securities, less interest and brokerage fees.

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 in-depth analysis of options, see Advisor’s Main Library: G—Options and Futures.

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

IRS Global Settlement for Millennium 419

Posted by William Byrnes on March 6, 2012


A massive increase of lawsuits and IRS investigations have surrounded the Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan for years, with plan participants claiming it was nothing but a fraudulent device with sole purpose of generating millions in commissions for its agent promoters. There are accusations of taking a total of $500 million from 500 clients by inducing them to participate in a plan that offered no tax or other benefits to its participants.

Several lawsuits are still pending against the Millennium Plan, but at least one aspect of the alleged scam plan has been resolved. The IRS announced on July 5 that it reached an agreement with the Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan (“Millennium Plan”). After numerous fraud allegations and the IRS abusive tax shelter investigation, the Millennium Plan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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 welfare benefits plans in Advisor’s Journal, see Tax Courts Holds Employee Taxable for Value of Life Insurance Owned by Welfare-Benefit & Deductions for Life Insurance Premium Payments to Welfare Benefit Plan Denied (CC 10-29).

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Foreign Account Compliance: Are Foreign Policies Included?

Posted by William Byrnes on December 20, 2011


The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was designed as a comprehensive measure to combat offshore tax evasion—a noble aim. However, FATCA’s comprehensiveness is also a burden for many in the financial services industry, especially insurance carriers and producers. In comments to regulators, one foreign life insurance trade organization, the Association of International Life Offices (AILO), recently called FATCA’s requirements “onerous and disproportionate to the risk involved.”

Passed as part of H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act) on March 18, 2010, FATCA combats tax evasion by requiring disclosure from foreign institutions about accounts held by people, including U.S. citizens, and institutions risk being subject to U.S. tax. Many life insurance and annuity contracts are classified “accounts” under the Act, although FATCA doesn’t generally apply to property, casualty, and term life insurance contracts.

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 FATCA in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Proposed FATCA Guidance Expands Offshore Compliance Initiatives (CC 10-52) & Offshore’s Limited Shelf Life (CC 10-47).

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When are policy loans taxable?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 23, 2011


Generally, life insurance policies be withdrawn without income tax consequences. However, there are circumstances where a “loan” is immediately taxable. We have covered situations where a policy is surrendered with a loan outstanding, resulting in taxable income. This article discusses another case where a policy “loan” will be treated as taxable income.

In Frederick D. Todd II et ux. v. Commissioner (T.C. Memo. 2011-123), the Tax Court considered whether a distribution from a welfare benefit fund to a fund participant was a policy loan or a taxable distribution.

For previous coverage of life insurance policies held by welfare benefit funds in Advisor’s Journal, see Deductions for Life Insurance Premium Payments to Welfare Benefit Plan Denied (CC 10-29).

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 in-depth analysis of welfare benefit funds, see Advisor’s Main Library: B—Welfare Benefit Funds.

 

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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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IRS Provides FBAR Answers

Posted by William Byrnes on November 11, 2011


Failure to file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) can result in harsh consequences. The report is that fines of up to $500,000 and 10 years imprisonment can be rendered. Therefore, the need to for you and your clients with foreign financial accounts (FFAs) to familiarize yourselves with the Treasury’s escalating FBAR rules. Unfortunately, understanding the FBAR rules has not always been a straightforward proposition.

Until recently, the FBAR requirements were shrouded in mystery; but with the release of  the last FBAR regulations earlier this year, the rules are finally clear. Furthermore, important clarifications  were made by the IRS at a June 1 webcast.

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 the FBAR in Advisor’s Journal, see Do Your Clients’ International Assets Create Criminal Tax Exposure? (CC 11-73).

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What Next? ILITs & Estates under 5MM

Posted by William Byrnes on October 26, 2011


Life insurance is a common tool for ensuring estates have adequate liquidity to pay estate expenses and taxes. But recent changes to the estate tax have some people questioning whether the high premiums they’re paying are worth it when their estates are no longer likely to be hit by the estate tax.

With a $5 million exclusion amount and brand-new exclusion portability provisions, far fewer households have to deal with the federal estate tax. But is allowing unneeded life insurance to lapse the best solution?

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 life insurance valuation in Advisor’s Journal, see Relative Policy Value of Life Insurance (CC 11-57).

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How to Lose a Charitable Deduction

Posted by William Byrnes on October 21, 2011


As an advisor, your clients look to you for competent advice in planning their charitable giving. It would be terrible to find out that the gift you thoughtful suggest cannot be deducted due to an avoidable paperwork mistake. Although the IRS sometimes forgives these minor errors, others are unforgivable, as illustrated in recent IRS email advice.

The IRS was not so forgiving with a taxpayer, who made what would otherwise qualify as a tax-deductible charitable gift. The problem was that the taxpayer “failed to get a contemporaneous written acknowledgment” from the charitable organization. In its advice the IRS said it will deny the taxpayer’s charitable deduction even if the taxpayer takes remedial measures and the charity amends its Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) to acknowledge the donation and include the information required by the Code.

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 charitable deductions in Advisor’s Journal, see Qualified Charitable Distributions from an IRA (CC 11-03) & IRS Takes Qualified IRA Charitable Distributions off the Table for 2010 (CC 11-15).

 

For in-depth analysis of the charitable deduction under Section 170, see Advisor’s Main Library: B6—The Income Tax Charitable Deduction—I.R.C. §170.

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Corporate Tax Reform: Easier Said than Done

Posted by William Byrnes on October 5, 2011


Both sides of the political spectrum agree that corporate tax reform is a priority.For reform to happen, tough choices are needed from Washington. Reform would develop a system that forces multinational corporations to pay their fair share without hurting US competitiveness in the world markets. Overtax multinational corporations,  and they’ll move their operations overseas; under-tax and you’ll reduce revenue that is sorely needed by the US government.

As part of the ongoing debate and investigation of the US corporate tax system, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is hearing testimony from tax experts on the US tax system and alternatives.

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 corporate tax reform issues in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama’s Blue Ribbon Debt Commission Proposes Complete Overhaul of the Tax Code (CC 10-95).

For in-depth analysis of US Corporate Tax, see Advisor’s Main Library: A – The Corporate Income Tax.

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Tax Court Confirms that Surrender Charges Reduce Value of Life Insurance Policy

Posted by William Byrnes on September 30, 2011


The Tax Court recently determined that the fair market value (FMV) of a life insurance policy distributed by a terminated 419 welfare benefit plan is reduced by surrender charges. [Lowe v. C.I.R., T.C. Memo. 2011-106 (2011)].

This ruling strengthens the Tax Court’s position on surrender charges that was enunciated in Schwab v. Commissioner [Michael P. Schwab et ux. v. C.I.R., 136 T.C. No. 6 (2011)]. The IRS continues to challenge taxpayers who apply surrender charges to reduce or eliminate their tax liability when a policy is distributed to them by a welfare benefit plan. However, this ruling adds another degree of certainty to the FMV calculation.

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 Tax Court rulings in Advisor’s Journal, see Tax Court Revives Partnership Self-Employment Tax Debate (CC 11-56).

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Administration Defends Proposed Insurance Limitations

Posted by William Byrnes on September 6, 2011


The Obama Administration’s 2012 federal budget proposal has revived two budget proposals that will impact the life insurance business – one affecting Corporate-Owned Life Insurance (“COLI”) and the other affecting carriers’ Dividends-Received Deduction (“DRD”).

In response to concern that the proposals tamper threaten the tax preferred status of life insurance, the Treasury recently issued a letter clarifying that these proposals have relevance only to tax arbitrage issues, not the tax treatment of death benefits.

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 corporate life insurance in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama Budget Would Undercut Utility of Life Insurance in Small Business Planning (CC 11-41).

For in-depth analysis of taxation affecting corporations, see Advisor’s Main Library: A – The Corporate Income Tax.

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Life Settlements—Savior of Municipal Finance?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 5, 2011


Life settlements provide a unique source of revenue because their returns are not contingent on the market’s success.

But are they still lucrative in comparison to other municipal finance? Rancho Mirage California City Councilman Scott Hines thinks so.

Under Hines’ plan, the city would issue bonds, with most of the issue proceeds being used to finance city projects. The remaining funds would be invested in life settlements with an aggregate face value equal to the face value of the bond issue. Payouts on the life settlements would then be used to pay back bond principal.

Instead of the typical municipal bond financing arrangement, where tax dollars utilized to pay back both principal and interest on an issue, Hines’ plan would leave taxpayers with only a bill for interest payments.

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 life settlements in Advisor’s Journal, see Life Settlement Provider Accused of Falsifying Life Span Reports (CC 11-23).

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IRS QTIP Ruling: Perils of Future Changes

Posted by William Byrnes on August 25, 2011


Clients often want to use Qualified Terminal Interest Property trusts (QTIPs) to separate certain funds to care for a surviving spouse, while retaining some measure of control over the general distribution of the funds—whether they will be distributed to children or a charity. But navigating the QTIP rules as client’s circumstances naturally endure change can be cumbersome.  The danger exists when errors that seem trivial, result in eliminating any transfer tax benefit of the trust.

A recent IRS private letter ruling (PLR 201117005) provides us with a good reminder of the QTIP rules and an example of creative QTIP planning that provides the surviving spouse with adequate lifetime income while giving the grantor (and the surviving spouse) a degree of post-death control over disposition of the trust assets.

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 a graphic illustration of the QTIP trust, see the Concepts Illustrated practice aid at G—Credit Shelter Trust and QTIP Trust.

For coverage of QTIPs and other techniques useful in estate planning for blended families, see the Advisor’s Journal article Estate Planning for Blended Families (CC 07-16).

For in-depth analysis of marital deduction planning, see Advisor’s Main Library: G—The Marital Deduction.

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