Wealth & Risk Management Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘tax’

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

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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.

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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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New Cancellation of Debt Rules Leave Grantors on the Hook

Posted by William Byrnes on August 19, 2011


The collapse of the secondary market for life insurance during the recent financial crisis left a lot of trusts anxious to dispose of large face value life insurance policies. Trusts that handed back policies in satisfaction of premium finance loans were then struck, along with their grantors, with massive tax bills for what is known as cancellation of indebtedness or cancellation of debt (COD) income.

The IRS recently released proposed regulations that address the income tax treatment of cancellation of debt income of trusts. Although this highly technical area of the law may not be of interest to lay audiences, it is a vital aspect for advisors selling high-value life insurance policies.

 

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 an interesting case involving a premium financed policy in Advisor’s Journal, see Lawsuit Seeks to Hold Insurer Responsible for Suspicious Death (CC 10-101).

For in-depth analysis of life settlements (which can be structured as a premium finance transaction), see Advisor’s Main Library: B—The Life Settlement Industry.

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IRS High Net Worth Initiative: Fearsome Beast or Paper Tiger?

Posted by William Byrnes on August 16, 2011


The IRS commenced the Large Business and International Division’s high-wealth industry group (“HNW Initiative”) in October 2009 with the aim of examining high-net worth individuals for income tax compliance. But the Service may be “using more rhetoric than resources,” according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). TRAC’s April 14 report, based on information compiled from public records, accuses the IRS of having “very skimpy” audit goals for the HNW initiative.

TRAC’s orginal goal was to audit a mere 122 returns for the 2011 fiscal year. However, according to reports, TRAC will fall far short of this modest benchmark, and instead only audit 19% of the projected returns for the first six months of the year.

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)

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Could 2011 & 2012 Gifts Come Back to Bite the Grantor

Posted by William Byrnes on August 8, 2011


Whether or not to give substantial lifetime gifts in 2011 and 2012 is going to be a hot topic between now and the end of 2012. But deciding whether to take advantage of the record high ($5 million) gift, estate and GST tax exclusion amount and low (35%) transfer tax rate isn’t a trivial matter.

Even your most tax savvy clients are going to need help deciding whether to take advantage of the new law.

The problem is that the new law—which was put into place by the Tax Reform Act of 2010—is scheduled to lapse on January 1, 2013. So is it worth taking the risk that Congress will radically change transfer tax laws for years post-2012? And what will happen to your clients’ transfer tax liability if Congress does change the law?

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).

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Aggressive IRS Gift Tax Audit Initiative: John Does Summons

Posted by William Byrnes on July 29, 2011


In recent years, the IRS has increased  its search for taxpayers who fail to disclose a gift tax return for reportable transactions. Now, the Justice Department’s Tax Division is getting in on the action, initiating an unprecedented fishing expedition and scouring state government records for information that may lead to taxpayers who have failed to file a gift tax return.

The Justice Department hopes to collect the identities of taxpayers who have gifted real property to relatives without reporting the transaction to the IRS. 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).

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Tax Court Revives Partnership Self Employment Tax Debate

Posted by William Byrnes on July 21, 2011


The Tax Court has reopened the question of whether status as a limited partner entitles them to an exemption from self-employment taxes—an issue that’s been idle for over 13 years.  The Tax Court recently declared that status as a limited partner does not necessarily exempt a partner from self-employment taxes. Instead, the exemption is derivative on how substantial of a role the partner played in the partnership business. 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 small businesses in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Announces Lenient Lien Program for Small Business (CC 11-48)

For in-depth analysis of partnership taxation, see Advisor’s Main Library: H–Partnership Taxation

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Obama Administration Targets S Corps in Corporate Tax Reform War

Posted by William Byrnes on July 13, 2011


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sparked outrage when he suggested at a recent House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting that “Congress has to revisit this basic question about whether it makes sense for us as a country to allow certain businesses to choose whether they’re treated as corporations for tax purposes or not.” Geithner’s comments about pass-through entities evoked a sweeping gasp from millions of small business owners who could become virtually non-competitive if subject to a double tax regime.   Behind client referrals, professional referrals were the second biggest producer.  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 Advisor’s Journal coverage of the Obama administration’s budget and tax proposals, see Obama Budget Would Undercut Utility of Life Insurance in Small Business Planning (CC-11-41) & Obama Tax Compromise Provides 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation of Business Assets Through 2011 (CC 11-01).

For in-depth analysis of S corporation taxation, see Advisor’s Main Library: B—Corporation’s Election Under Subchapter S.

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IRS Announces Lenient Lien Program for Small Businesses

Posted by William Byrnes on July 11, 2011


If you have small business clients who are struggling with back taxes and/or tax liens, you can tell them help is on the way. The IRS is offering assistance for both individuals and small businesses that are struggling to “meet their tax obligations, without adding unnecessary burden to [the] taxpayers.”  The new program includes a number of features discussed in today’s Advanced Markets Journal.   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).

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Did You File Your Taxes?

Posted by William Byrnes on May 2, 2011


A recent report by the Internal Revenue Service shows that total return filings are down this year as compared to the same time last year.  The report shows that over 51.927 million individual taxpayers have filed through the end of February 2011.  During this same period for the 2009 taxable year/2010 filing year the total number of returns by the end of February was around 53.556 million.  The difference between the two years amounts to approximately a decrease of three percent.

What’s more, the average refund for the 2010 tax year/2011 filing season is also down from calculations from the same time last year. This year’s average individual refund is currently $3,129, down $20 from $3,149 in 2010.  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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A Date Can Make the Difference in Valuation Cases

Posted by William Byrnes on April 29, 2011


Today we re-examine the case in-depth, focusing on how the IRS utilizes the step transaction doctrine to deny taxpayers valuation discounts.  The case is yet another example of how important the dating of transactions is when you’re looking to secure a valuation discount.  A single date on a document can mean the difference between a substantial valuation discount on a gift and the expense of fighting the IRS through the court system.  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 valuation discounts in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Rebuffed by Federal Court of Appeals in Valuation Discount Case (CC 11-21)Vigorous Debate over Qualified Appraisal Standard for Valuation of Donated Policies (CC 10-92) & Valuation Discounts: Only for a Bona Fide Business (CC 10-60).

For in-depth analysis of gift tax valuation discounts, see Advisor’s Main Library: A—Family Limited Partnerships and Estate & Gift Tax Valuation Discounting.

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Pound Wise and Penny Foolish: The IRS Rebuts Unsound Tax Positions

Posted by William Byrnes on April 28, 2011


In the midst of the tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2011 version of its discussion of many of the more common “frivolous” tax arguments made by individuals and groups that oppose compliance with federal tax laws.

The Service suggested that “anyone who contemplates arguing on legal grounds against paying their fair share of taxes should first read their 84-page document, The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments.”  At AdvisorFYI, we are not contemplating any particular legal grounds for not paying a “fair share of taxes”, whatever that may be, but rather are interested in presenting some of the frivolous positions argued and how the Government generally responds. We’ve presented a few select ones below.

The 2011 IRS document explains many of the common “frivolous” arguments made in recent years and it presents a legal position that attempts to refute these claims.  The IRS claims, the document “will help taxpayers avoid wasting their time and money with frivolous arguments and incurring penalties.”

Congress in 2006 increased the amount of the penalty for frivolous tax returns from $500 to $5,000.  The increased penalty amount applies when a person submits a tax return or other specified submission, and any portion of the submission is based on a position the IRS identifies as frivolous.

Here are some of positions we found to be commonly marketed to the public, and how the IRS responds to the positions:  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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IRS Kicks Off New Offshore Amnesty Program

Posted by William Byrnes on April 6, 2011


Taxpayers with assets hidden in offshore accounts will get a second chance to voluntarily declare their assets to the IRS in return for reduced penalties under the new Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (“OVDI”).

This newest offshore amnesty program offers a reduced, 25% penalty which will be calculated based on the highest aggregate amount in the taxpayer’s offshore account between 2003 and 2010.   In addition to penalties, program participants will be required to pay eight years of back taxes plus interest, accuracy related penalties, and delinquency penalties.  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 offshore issues in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Planning New Voluntary Disclosure Program for Offshore Assets (CC 10-118)Offshore’s Limited Shelf Life (CC 10-47)IRS Proposed FATCA Guidance Expands Offshore Compliance Initiatives (CC 10-52)

 

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Tax Court Calculates FMV of Policies Distributed from Terminated 419 Plan

Posted by William Byrnes on March 31, 2011


The Tax Court recently calculated the fair market value (“FMV”) of life insurance policies distributed by a terminated 419 welfare benefit plan. The FMV of the policies—which must be included in the taxpayers’ income—was determined by the court based on: (1) surrender charges, (2) conditions imposed on the taxpayers by the insurance company, and (3) “paid-up insurance coverage remaining on the policies as of the date of distribution.”  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 policy valuation in Advisor’s Journal, see Tax Courts Holds Employee Taxable for Value of Life Insurance Owned by Welfare-Benefit Plan (CC 11-14).

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

 

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Advanced Markets Preview: Personal and Nonbusiness Deductions

Posted by William Byrnes on March 30, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? This topic presents discussion on the individual and nonbusiness deductions offered under the Internal Revenue Code.  Since April 15th is fast approaching, it is important to review common tax positions with regards to client planning.

In addition this blogticle presents a excerpted preview of new, updated material from Advanced Markets which will be available soon (see www.advisorfx.com).   Over the coming 9 months, the entire AUS service is being revised and will be rolling out monthly.  The updating will include many new areas and a sharper focus with practical explanations and client presentation aides for current areas.  We look forward to helping you secure your next sale.

An expense of an individual may be business, nonbusiness, or personal, depending upon which of the individual’s spheres of activity gave rise to the expense.  This Blogticle discusses personal and nonbusiness expenses generally.

Personal Expenses

Personal expenses are all expenses incurred by an individual that are not business or nonbusiness expenses. These would include, for example, food and clothing for the individual and his family, repairs on the family home, and premiums paid on the individual’s personal life insurance. Generally, no deduction is permitted for personal expenses.[1] By specific statutory provision, however, deductions are allowed for some personal expenses, such as certain personal taxes, a limited amount of charitable contributions, medical expenses, certain interest on a principal residence, and alimony.

Most deductible personal expenses are “itemized deductions” and thus may be taken only if the taxpayer chooses to itemize his deductions instead of claiming the standard deduction.

Nonbusiness Expenses

A nonbusiness expense is generally an investment expense incurred in connection with the production of income, other than a trade, business or profession. Expenses of this type would include, for example, fees for tax or investment advice, and the cost of a safe deposit box used to store taxable securities. The deduction of nonbusiness expenses is governed by Code section 212. Specifically, Section 212 allows a deduction for expenses incurred in connection with: (1) the production or collection of income; (2) the management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for production of income; or (3) the determination, collection or refund of any tax.

The deductibility of nonbusiness expenses may be limited or deferred if they arise in connection with a “passive activity” or are interest expenses. Very generally, a “passive activity” is any activity which involves the conduct of a trade or business in which the taxpayer does not “materially participate.” [2] A passive activity also includes any rental activity, without regard to whether the taxpayer materially participates in the activity. Special rules apply to rental real estate activities. Aggregate losses from “passive activities” may generally be deducted in a year only to the extent they do not exceed aggregate income from passive activities in that year; credits from passive activities may be taken only against tax liability allocated to passive activities. Disallowed losses and credits may be carried over to offset passive income in later years. [3]

Once other limitations have been applied to the deductibility of nonbusiness expenses (e.g., the passive loss rule), they are generally deductible only to the extent that the aggregate of these and other “miscellaneous itemized deductions” exceeds 2% of adjusted gross income. “Miscellaneous itemized deductions” are deductions from adjusted gross income other than deductions for (1) interest, (2) taxes, (3) non-business casualty losses and gambling losses, (4) charitable contributions (including charitable remainder interests), (5) medical and dental expenses, (6) impairment-related work expenses for handicapped employees, (7) estate taxes on income in respect of a decedent, (8) certain short sale expenses, (9) certain adjustments under the Code’s claim of right provisions, (10) unrecovered investment in an annuity contract, (11) amortizable bond premium, and (12) certain expenses of cooperative housing corporations. [4]

A nonbusiness expense must also be “ordinary and necessary” to be deductible. [5] It must, therefore, be reasonable in amount and must bear a reasonable and proximate relation to (a) the production or collection of taxable income, or (b) the management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for the production of income. [6]

Tomorrow’s blogticle will discuss important planning aspects of 2011.

We invite your opinions and comments by posting them below, or by calling the Panel of Experts

 

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2012 IRS Budget Revealed !!

Posted by William Byrnes on March 26, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?  Increasing the IRS staffing budget in certain departments may be indicative of increasing scrutiny of client’s information and tax returns.  Increasing government scrutiny may lead to increased compliance costs in time and fees.  Consequently, a wealth manager may want to address with client the need for increasing diligence in preparation of their affairs.  Thus, Advanced Market Intelligence presents a discussion on the Internal Revenue Services’ allocations for fiscal year 2012, and contrasts 2010 data and figures.

The fiscal year 2012 proposed budget allocates $14 billion to the Department of the Treasury; a 4 percent increase above the 2010 enacted level. [1] The increase over 2010 levels is attributed to costs associated with implementation of legislation and new investments in IRS tax compliance activities that are aimed to help reduce the deficit.  Of the $14 billion appropriated to the Treasury operations, over $13.28 billion is encumbered for the Internal Revenue Service.[2]

The Internal Revenue Service has allocated its appropriations to the tune of $2.345 billion for “Taxpayer Services”; $5. 96 billion for “Enforcement” of which over $5 billion is apportioned to “Exam and Collections”; “Operations and Support” represent $4.62 billion; and “Business Systems Modernization” together with “Health Insurance Tax Credit Administration” represent approximately $351 million. [3]

The main function of the Internal Revenue Service is to collect he revenue that funds the government and administer the nation’s tax laws. [4] The IRS collected $2.345 trillion in taxes (gross receipts before tax refunds) in 2010, or 93 percent of all federal government receipts.

Total resources to support the IRS activities for fiscal year 2012 are estimated to be around $13.626 billion, including $13.283 billion from direct appropriations, an estimated $138 million from reimbursable programs, and an estimated $204 million user fees.  The direct federal budget appropriation is $1,137,784,000, 9.37 percent, more than the fiscal year 2010 enacted level of $12,146,123,000. [5]

The 2012 budget provides funding to implement enacted legislation; handle new information reporting requirements; increase compliance by addressing offshore tax evasion; expand enforcement efforts on noncompliance among corporate and high-wealth taxpayers; and enforce return preparer compliance.

The IRS estimates new enforcement personnel will generate more than $1.3 billion in additional annual enforcement revenue once the new hires reach full potential in fiscal year 2014.

Even the Department of the Treasury notes, the tax law is complex and that even sophisticated taxpayers can make honest mistakes on their tax returns.  To this end, the IRS states that it remains committed to a balanced program of assisting taxpayers to both understand the tax law and remit the proper amount of tax.

In fiscal year 2010, revenue from all enforcement sources at the IRS reached $57.6 billion, 18 percent more than in 2009.  The significant increase was attributable in part to:  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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2012 Budget Talk: Capital Gains, Dividends, and 1099 Information Reporting

Posted by William Byrnes on March 23, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?  A producer should be able to present a perspective of the potential impact of current budget proposals upon investments that will be realized in the future.  Thus, Advanced Market Intelligence discusses certain features to the proposed federal budget that impact fiscal year 2012.

The President’s new budget proposal included many revenue raising measures.  However, below are two areas affecting the tax code that will actually increase the deficit, and also have a strong likelihood to have an impact on clients’ decisions made today.

Currently, the maximum rate of tax on the qualified dividends and net long-term capital gains of an individual is 15 percent. [1] In addition, any qualified dividends and capital gains that would otherwise be taxed at a 10- or 15-percent ordinary income tax rate are taxed at a zero percent rate.

The zero- and 15-percent rates for qualified dividends and capital gains are scheduled to expire for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012. [2] In 2013, the maximum income tax rate on capital gains would increase to 20 percent (18 percent for assets purchased after December 31, 2000 and held longer than five years), while all dividends would be taxed at ordinary tax rates of up to 39.6 percent.

Taxing qualified dividends at the same low rate as capital gains for all taxpayers is said to reduce the tax bias against equity investment and promote a more efficient allocation of capital.  Eliminating the special 18-percent rate on gains from assets held for more than five years is thought to further simplify the tax code.  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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Advisor/Trustee Ends Up Responsible for a Trust’s Tax Bill?

Posted by William Byrnes on March 19, 2011


You’d better think twice before agreeing to act as trustee for your clients’ trusts, since doing so can cost you far more than the goodwill and fees it generates.

We all know that, depending on the circumstances, a trust, its grantor, or its beneficiaries can be held responsible for tax liability stemming from trust income.

What about its trustee?

Although trustees are not usually personally responsible for a trust’s taxes, a trustee can be stuck with the tax bill if the trustee breaches his or her fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. A U.S. District Court recently considered a trustee’s liability for GST taxes when the trust’s beneficiaries claimed that the trustee failed to keep them informed of their potential liability for taxes stemming from trust distributions.

The trustees’ mistake in this case could cost them over $1 million.  Read the full analysis by linking to AdvisorFX!

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Deductibility of Welfare Benefit Plan Contributions (Section 419)

Posted by William Byrnes on March 18, 2011


Company is an accrual basis fiscal year taxpayer.  Company pays severance benefits in its discretion on an ad hoc basis, and vacation benefits pursuant to its established policy.

Historically, Company has paid both severance and vacation pay from its general assets.  Due to a decline in the Market over the past few years, Company has paid significant severance and expects to continue to pay additional severance over the next few years.  Effective Jan 1, 2009 Company established Trust to pay this anticipated severance and vacation pay.  Trust intends to submit an application for recognition of exempt status in 2010.  On 1/1/2009 Company contributed over $1,000,000 to the Trust and deducted that amount on its tax return for 2009.  Company indicates that beginning in 2010, Company will make payments for vacation and severance and will seek reimbursement from the Trust.

Company computed the amount deducted based on the limitation set forth in the Code.

Company has not provided any information documenting any severance claims incurred in 2009 that it expects to pay in 2010.  Company indicates that because the Trust was established “to pay severance that they anticipate they will have to pay over the next few years …”, and because the amount deducted is within the limit set forth in the Code that the deduction is proper.  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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Taxing Gaming Wins and Losses

Posted by William Byrnes on March 12, 2011


How does the average gambler determine wagering gains and losses for tax purposes?

Mrs. X is a casual gambler.   She uses the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting and files her returns on a calendar year basis.  Mrs. X’s gaming practice is to commit only $100 to slot machine play on any visit to a casino.  She wagers until she loses the original $100 committed to gambling or until she stops gambling and “cashes out.”

Upon cashing out, there are three possibilities, that she have $100 (the basis of her wagers), less than $100 (a wagering loss), or more than $100 (a wagering gain).   She went to a casino to play the slot machines on ten separate occasions throughout the year.  On each visit to the casino, she exchanged $100 of cash for $100 in slot machine tokens and used the tokens to gamble.  On five occasions, the she lost her entire $100 in tokens before terminating play.  On the other five occasions, the she redeemed her remaining tokens for the following amounts of cash:  $20, $70, $150, $200 and $300.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, which has been determined to include wagering gains. [1]

The Code further allows a deduction for any loss sustained during the taxable year and not compensated for by insurance or otherwise. [2] In the case of losses from wagering transactions, losses are allowed only to the extent of gains from such transactions. [3]

In ordinary practice, a wagering “gain” means the amount won in excess of the amount bet (basis). [4] That is, the wagering gain is the total winnings less the amount of the wager.  The term wagering “loss” means the amount of the wager (basis) lost.

Generally, gamblers may not carry over excess wagering losses to offset wagering gains in another taxable year or offset non-wagering income. [5] Nor may casual gamblers net their gains and losses from play throughout the year and report only the net amount for the year. [6]

It is accepted that fluctuating wins and losses left in play are not accessions to wealth until the taxpayer redeems her tokens and can definitively calculate the amount above or below basis (the wager) realized. [7]

Under the facts presented above, Mrs. X purchased and subsequently lost $100 worth of tokens on five separate occasions.  As a result, the taxpayer sustained $500 of wagering losses.  She also sustained losses on two other occasions, when she redeemed tokens in an amount less than the $100 (basis) of tokens originally purchased.

Therefore, on the day the taxpayer redeemed $20 worth of tokens, the taxpayer incurred an $80 wagering loss.  On the day the taxpayer redeemed $70 worth of tokens, the taxpayer incurred a $30 wagering loss.  On three occasions, the taxpayer redeemed tokens in an amount greater than the $100 of tokens originally purchased.  The amount redeemed less the $100 basis of the wager constitutes a wagering gain. [8] On the day the taxpayer redeemed $150 worth of tokens, the taxpayer had a $50 wagering gain.  On the day the taxpayer redeemed $200 worth of tokens, the taxpayer had a $100 wagering gain.  And on the day the taxpayer redeemed $300 worth of tokens, the taxpayer had a $200 wagering gain.

For the year, the taxpayer had total wagering gains of $350 ($50 + $100 + $200) and total wagering losses of $610, ($500 from losing the entire basis of $100 on five occasions + $80 and $30 from two other occasions).  Mrs. X’s wagering losses exceeded her wagering gains for the taxable year by $260 ($610 – $350).  She must report the $350 of wagering gains as gross income under IRC § 61. However, under IRC §165(d), she may deduct only $350 of the $610 wagering losses.  In this case, the taxpayer may deduct only $350 of her $610 of wagering losses as an itemized deduction.   Generally, a casual gambler who takes the standard deduction rather than electing to itemize may not deduct any wagering losses. [9]


[1] IRC Section 61; Rev. Rul. 54-339; Umstead v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1982-573, 44 TCM 1294, 1295 (1982).

 

[2] IRC Section 165(a).

[3] IRC Section 165(d); Treasury Regulations Section 1.165-10.

[4] See Rev. Rul. 83-103.

[5] Skeeles v.  United States, 118 Ct. Cl. 362 (1951), cert. denied, 341 U.S. 948 (1951).

[6] See United States v. Scholl, 166 F.3d 964 (9thCir. 1999).

[7] See Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass  Co., 348 U.S. 426 (1955).

[8] See Rev. Rul. 83-130.

[9] See Rev. Rul. 54-339.

We invite your opinions and comments by posting them below, or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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Taxpayer Advocate Speaks Out on Tax Reform

Posted by William Byrnes on March 9, 2011


Last month the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her annual report to Congress, identifying the need for tax reform as the number one priority in tax administration.  The report also examines challenges the IRS is facing in implementing the new health care law.  Below is a highlight of some points made in the report: [1]

Tax Reform

“There has been near universal agreement for years that the tax code is broken and needs to be fixed,” Olson said in releasing the report.  “Yet no broad-based attempt to reform the tax code has been made.  This report documents the burdens the tax code imposes on taxpayers and explores why many taxpayers may nevertheless feel wedded to key aspects of the current system, undermining efforts at reform.”

Analysis of IRS data shows that taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours a year complying with tax-filing requirements.  “If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States,” the report says.  “To consume 6.1 billion hours, the ‘tax industry’ requires the equivalent of more than three million full-time workers.”

Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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IRS Rebuffed by Federal Court of Appeals in Valuation Discount Case

Posted by William Byrnes on March 6, 2011


Valuation discounts will always be a disputed issue between taxpayers and the IRS, but as illustrated by the recently published Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, a properly timed gift can still qualify for a discount.  The parents contributed cash, securities, and real property to an LLC and then transferred LLC interests to a trust (“the children’s trust”) naming their children as beneficiaries.

The IRS rejected the valuation discount, claiming that the parents did not make a gift of the LLC interests to the trusts as they claimed, but instead made an indirect gift of the assets owned by the LLC.  The IRS also argued that, even if the LLC were funded prior to the gifting of the LLC interests to the children, the transaction’s two steps—transfer of assets to the LLC and the gift of the LLC interest to the children’s trust—were really a single transaction, an indirect gift of the assets, under the step transaction doctrine.   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).

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Why is Washington Calling for Corporate Tax Reform?

Posted by William Byrnes on March 5, 2011


President Obama recently targeted corporate tax rates in his State of the Union address.  “It makes no sense, and it has to change”. “Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years — without adding to our deficit. It can be done.”

Here’s why some politicians in Washington are calling for reform:

Although America has one of the highest maximum corporate tax rates throughout industrialized nations, many large corporations pay only a fraction of the maximum rate.  In a study by a New York University Professor, the data shows that a great number of public companies are paying around half, or even less, than the maximum corporate rate.

Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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Passive Foreign Investment Company Special Disclosure Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on February 27, 2011


A significant number of Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Practice cases (remember the Swiss Bank Accounts) involve Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) investments.  A lack of historical information on the cost basis and holding period of many PFIC investments, the Service notes, may make it difficult for taxpayers to prepare statutory PFIC computations and for the Internal Revenue Service to verify them.  As a result, resolution of many Disclosure Practice cases are said to be unduly delayed.  Therefore, for purposes of this initiative, the Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers an alternative to the statutory PFIC computation that will resolve PFIC issues on a basis that is consistent with the Mark to Market (MTM) methodology authorized in Internal Revenue Code section 1296 but will not require complete reconstruction of historical data.

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Group-Term Life Policy Tax Consequences

Posted by William Byrnes on February 25, 2011


The Internal Revenue Code provides an exclusion from income for the first $50,000 of group-term life insurance coverage provided under a policy carried directly or indirectly by an employer. [1] Thus, there are no tax consequences to the individual if the total amount of such policies does not exceed $50,000.  However, the imputed cost of coverage in excess of $50,000 must be included in income to the individual, using the IRS Premium Table[2] and are subject to social security and Medicare taxes.

A taxable fringe benefit arises if coverage exceeds $50,000 and the policy is considered carried directly or indirectly by the employer. A policy is considered carried directly or indirectly by the employer if:

  1. The employer pays any cost of the life insurance, or
  2. The employer arranges for the premium payments and the premiums paid by at least one employee subsidize those paid by at least one other employee (known as the “straddle” rule).

A policy that is not considered carried directly or indirectly by the employer has no tax consequences to the employee.  Also, because the employees are paying the cost and the employer is not redistributing the cost of the premiums through an insurance system, the employer has no reporting requirements.

Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

 

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“Wage” War: Round One

Posted by William Byrnes on February 24, 2011


The topic Self-Employment Tax on wages versus distributions has reared its head again – as shown by the recent Federal District Court case involving David E. Watson.

The C.P.A. recently disputed and lost to the Government’s position which recharacterized dividend and loan payments from David E. Watson, P.C. (a Subchapter S corporation) to its sole shareholder and employee, David E. Watson.  The IRS assessed additional employment taxes, interest and penalties against Watson for each of tax years in which Watson’s salary was significantly lower than his total distributions.

Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI (sign up for a 2 week online free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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Tax Courts Holds Employee Taxable for Value of Life Insurance Owned by Welfare-Benefit Plan

Posted by William Byrnes on February 18, 2011


A recent Tax Court case demonstrates the severe tax consequences for an employee when a welfare-benefit plan ceases to qualify under section 419A of the Tax Code.  Section 419A governs “qualified asset accounts,” which are employer provided welfare-benefits plans that set aside funds for (1) disability benefits, (2) medical benefits, (3) severance benefits, or (4) life insurance benefits. In general, contributions by an employer to a welfare-benefit plan are tax deductible by the employer if they are ordinary and necessary business expenses. In the case, part of the funds contributed to the plan were used to buy life insurance coverage for the principal and other employees, with the rest of the funds constituting excess contributions. 

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).

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Higher Filing Thresholds Doubles for Non-Profits

Posted by William Byrnes on February 16, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Discusses the new income reporting threshold for non-profit organizations.  Provides details on the new level of reporting required on Form 990 for 501(c) organizations.  

Generally the Internal Revenue Code requires the filing of an annual return by exempt organizations. [1]  However, there are certain mandatory exceptions to the annual filing requirement for exempt organizations provided by the Code.  [2] 

Further, the tax law provides that the Secretary of the Treasury, through the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service may relieve exempt organizations from the annual filing requirement if the Secretary determines that such filings are not necessary to the efficient administration of the internal revenue laws. [3]

Before, exempt organizations were relieved from the Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) filing requirement for organizations described in § 501(c) (other than private foundations) whose annual gross receipts are normally not more than $25,000. [4]

Read the full analysis and on similar issues – AdvisorFYI

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Congress Extends Deduction for State and Local Sales Taxes

Posted by William Byrnes on February 12, 2011


The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Tax Relief Act) extended the income tax deduction for state and local sales taxes through December 31, 2011.  The deduction expired on January 1, 2009, but Congress amended the provision retroactively, which will allow taxpayers to take the deduction on their 2010 taxes.  The deduction, which has been slated to expire a number of times, has been revived by Congress repeatedly since it was introduced but has not yet been made a permanent part of the Code.   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 Tax Relief Act of 2010 in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama Tax Compromise Provides 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation of Business Assets Through 2011 (CC 11-01), Obama’s Social Security Tax Holiday: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish? (CC 10-119), Does the New Estate Tax Make the Bypass Trust Obsolete? (CC-10-122), & 2010 Estates: To Elect or Not to Elect (CC 10-124).

For in-depth analysis of income tax deductions, see Advisor’s Main Library: B4—Business Income and Deductions.

We invite your questions and comments by posting them or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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Some Clarity Brought to Uncertain Tax Positions

Posted by William Byrnes on February 11, 2011


Recently, in a series of Announcements the Internal Revenue Service stated that it was developing a schedule requiring certain business taxpayers to report uncertain tax positions on their tax returns.

Now the new requirements have been finalized, businesses and wealth managers have a better idea of the direction of Uncertain Tax Position reporting.

Reported under Schedule UTP for Form 1120 series, the Uncertain Tax Position reporting currently applies to a select number of corporations (however phase-in provisions will change this by 2012 and 2014).

Who must file a Schedule UTP?

The class of organizations that must file is limited (for now).   Generally, for 2010 tax year returns most small businesses will not be included in the reporting, but that will probably change.    Nevertheless, a corporation must file Schedule UTP with its 2010 income tax return if:  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI

 

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Congress Extends Wage Credit for Employees Who Are Active Duty Members of the Military

Posted by William Byrnes on February 10, 2011


A member of the U.S. military who takes a leave of absence from his private sector job in order to go on active duty will often face a pay cut—the differential between his military and private sector pay.   Some employers make up this differential by paying employees who are on active duty a partial salary.  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 Tax Relief Act of 2010 in Advisor�s Journal, see Obama Tax Compromise Provides 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation of Business Assets Through 2011 (CC 11-01)Obama’s Social Security Tax Holiday: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish? (CC 10-119)Does the New Estate Tax Make the Bypass Trust Obsolete? (CC-10-122), and 2010 Estates: To Elect or Not to Elect (CC 10-124).

 

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Foreign Trust Disclosure

Posted by William Byrnes on February 9, 2011


Although trusts can be taxpayers, Sections 671 to 679 of the Internal Revenue Code contain the so-called ‘grantor trust rules’, which treat certain trust settlors (and sometimes persons other than the settlor) as the owner of a portion or all of a trust’s income, deductions and credits for US tax purposes. A trust where the settlor (or other person) is treated as the owner of the trust assets for US tax purposes is referred to as a ‘grantor trust’. The grantor trust rules apply to both foreign and domestic trusts, but in different ways.

Under the grantor trust rules, a US person who transfers property to a foreign trust is generally treated for income tax purposes as the owner of that portion of the trust attributable to the transferred property, even if the trust would not have been a grantor trust had it been domestic.

This is the result for any tax year in which any portion of the foreign trust has a US beneficiary.  A foreign trust is treated as having a US beneficiary for a tax year unless (i) under the terms of the trust, no part of the trust’s income or corpus may be paid or accumulated during the tax year to or for the benefit of a US person, and (ii) if the trust is terminated at any time during the tax year, no part of the income or corpus could be paid to or for the benefit of a US person.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations under Section 679 of the Internal Revenue Code generally treat a foreign trust as having a US beneficiary if any current, future or contingent beneficiary of the trust is a US person.  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI.

 

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Selected Provisions and Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010

Posted by William Byrnes on February 8, 2011


Written by the foremost experts in the field – Professor William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M, and Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M

Understand the Act’s Implications for You and Your Clients

  • Analyzes important insurance, estate, gift, and other elements of the Act
  • Provides pertinent information on other important 2010 tax developments
  • Convenient Q&A format speeds you to the information you need – with answers to over 100 important questions

Summary Table of Contents

  • Analysis of the Tax Relief Act of 2010
    • Income Tax Provisions
    • Estate Tax Provisions
    • Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
    • Deduction for State and Local Sales Taxes
    • Alternative Minimum Tax
    • Tax Credits
    • Payroll Tax Holiday
    • Wage Credit for Employees who are Active Duty Members of the Military
    • Charitable Distributions from Retirement Accounts
    • Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expensing
    • Basis Reporting Requirements for Brokers and Mutual Funds
    • Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010
    • Health Care Act
    • Form 1099 Reporting Requirement for Businesses
    • American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
    • Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

Price: $12.95 + shipping & handling and applicable sales tax

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With our Custom Imprint program, you can place your company’s logo on the cover of this analysis and you’ll leave a lasting impression.  Call 1-800-543-0874 for additional information.

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