Wealth & Risk Management Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

FATCA Intergovernmental Agreements

Posted by William Byrnes on January 13, 2014


As of December 31, 2013 the U.S. has eighteen IGAs signed and published, although others have been agreed in principle but not yet signed.   Fifteen of the current eighteen IGAs are based on Model 1: Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK.  Three IGAs are based on Model 2, being Bermuda, Japan and Switzerland. 

 

Joint Statements and Signed Bilateral Agreements 

 

FATCA Compliance Program and Manual

 

Fifty contributing authors from the professional and financial industry provide 600 pages of expert analysis within the LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance (2nd Edition): many perspectives – one voice crafted by the primary author William Byrnes.

 

The LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance (2nd Edition) comprises 34 Chapters grouped in three parts: compliance program (Chapters 1–4), analysis of FATCA regulations (Chapters 5–16) and analysis of FATCA’s application for certain trading partners of the U.S. (Chapters 17–34), including intergovernmental agreements as well as the OECD’s TRACE initiative for global automatic information exchange protocols and systems. The 34 chapters include many practical examples to assist a compliance officer contextualize the regulations, IGA provisions, and national rules enacted pursuant to an IGA.  Chapters include by example an in-depth analysis of the categorization of trusts pursuant to the Regulations and IGAs, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA and the IGAs within new BRIC and European country chapters. 

 

 

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

Keeping Clients From Double Tax on Their Retirement Income

Posted by William Byrnes on January 6, 2014


For many clients today, post-retirement relocation has become the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, these clients have often failed to consider the state tax implications that may arise when they tap into retirement funds in a new state—a state in which the funds were not actually earned. This type of scenario could result in the client becoming subject to taxation in both the state in which the income was received and the state in which the income was earned—even though the client has relocated—especially in the case of funds received pursuant to a nonqualified deferred compensation plan.

With careful planning, however, the client may be able to use federal rules to avoid taxation…. read the analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink that may apply to your clients-at Think Advisor 1

 

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

IRS Gives High-Income Taxpayers a Break on New 3.8% Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on January 2, 2014


The IRS has finally given high-income taxpayers a break with the release of the final regulations governing the new 3.8% tax on net investment income.

These final rules mark a dramatic shift from the IRS’s previous position. By adding flexibility to the rules, the IRS’s unanticipated amendments ease the sting of the investment income tax.

Read Professor Robert Bloink and William Byrnes’ analysis of the shift in the IRS’ position at > Think Advisor <  

tax planning case studies for individuals and small business available on Tax Facts online

Posted in Taxation, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Court Eases Use of Annuities to Avoid Medicaid Spend-Down

Posted by William Byrnes on December 24, 2013


The winds are finally changing for Medicaid recipients, as evidenced by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that eases state-imposed restrictions on the use of annuities, reducing the need for your clients to spend down assets in order to become eligible for Medicaid assistance. The 6th Circuit ruling shut down the state’s attack on Medicaid-compliant annuities in this case, ruling in favor of clients who rely upon these annuities to provide sufficient income even if one spouse requires Medicaid assistance to pay for long-term care in a nursing home.

Based on this precedent, your clients may begin to experience a much more favorable Medicaid planning environment as they gain greater flexibility in the purchase timing and beneficiary designation requirements for annuity contracts that escape the Medicaid resource calculation formula, without jeopardizing an unhealthy spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

Read the full analysis of Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink at Think Advisor !

ThinkAdvisor.com supports the professional growth and vitality of the Investment Advisory community, from RIAs and wealth managers of all kinds, to independent broker-dealer and wirehouse representatives. We provide unparalleled access to the knowledge, information and critical resources they need to succeed at every stage in their career, including professional development, education and certification, industry news and analysis, reference tools and services, and community networking opportunities.

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

for research of ‘Home Mortgage Cramdown in Bankruptcy’ – Richard Gendler awarded title of “Doctor of Law”

Posted by William Byrnes on December 11, 2013


After a successful dissertation defense on October 22, 2013, Thomas Jefferson School of Law awarded the degree of Doctor of Science of Law, called a “J.S.D.” degree, to Dr. Richard S. Gendler. The J.S.D. is a research-based doctoral degree, the most advanced law degree in the United States. It requires three to five years of legal research and writing on a unique issue of law that makes a substantial and novel contribution to a field of study. The J.S.D. degree is equivalent to a Ph.D. in law, which first requires the completion of the Bachelor, J.D., and LL.M. degrees. …

Associate Dean William Byrnes added, “Dr. Richard Gendler has undertaken ground-breaking empirical research for his Ph.D. of all Chapter 13 cases that were filed in the Southern District of Florida from 2009. Dr. Gendler scrutinized the effectiveness of cure of mortgages on homeowners’ principal residences relative to the use of lien stripping in Chapter 13 plans, both for underwater and non-underwater mortgages. ….”  

The dissertation topic was “Home Mortgage Cramdown in Bankruptcy.”  The dissertation provided an extensive study into the interplay between the recent home mortgage crisis and U.S. Bankruptcy Law.  Read about Dr. Richard Gendler’s research and findings about cramdown and bankruptcy at http://www.tjsl.edu/news-media/2013/10956

 

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

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

Posted by William Byrnes on November 27, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

International Tax Reform – Senator Baucus fires a volley

Posted by William Byrnes on November 20, 2013


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

The primary components of the proposed draft Bills include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The proposed bills with legislative language are available at:

> International Tax Provisions Bill (Option 1) <

> International  Tax Provisions Bill (Option 2) < and

> International Tax Provisions Bill (Option 3)

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

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

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 <

 

Posted in Estate Tax | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by William Byrnes on November 6, 2013


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

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

 

Posted in Compliance, Tax Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 <

Posted in Tax Exempt Orgs, Tax Policy, Taxation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In Medicaid Planning, Don’t Surrender Life Insurance—Trade It for LTC Instead

Posted by William Byrnes on July 23, 2013


Your clients who are nearing retirement age might often wonder why they bother maintaining the life insurance policies they have funded for years. With children grown, the need to provide for beneficiaries in the event of an untimely death has already been eliminated. Further, these policies are considered assets that can have a significant impact when determining Medicaid eligibility.

Despite this, recent proposals in several states can give older clients a reason to maintain their policies and provide peace of mind in Medicaid planning. Under these proposals, ownership of a life insurance policy can actually help clients in long-term care planning as more state Medicaid offices embrace the use of life settlements in conjunction with Medicaid coverage.

The Proposals

read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisor – http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/03/in-medicaid-planning-dont-surrender-life-insurance

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

The Not-So-Irrevocable Trust: Unlocking Trust Assets

Posted by William Byrnes on July 18, 2013


The “irrevocable” label might have some clients feeling like they are locked into previously established irrevocable trusts for life, which might not always be the case. There are many reasons why a client might remain interested in preserving an irrevocable trust, but after the fiscal cliff deal made the generous $5 million estate tax exemption and spousal portability permanent, there are equally strong reasons why a client might prefer to terminate. …

The choice to terminate will force clients to reevaluate insurance and other trust held assets and lead to what are often long overdue replacement or reallocation discussions.

When Can an Irrevocable Trust Be Terminated?

Read the full analysis at ThinkAdvisorhttp://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/06/17/the-not-so-irrevocable-trust-unlocking-trust-asset

 

Posted in Estate Tax, Taxation, Trusts, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance

Posted by William Byrnes on March 1, 2013


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, from North and South America, Europe, South Africa, and Asia, and 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. Thus, the challenges of the FATCA Compliance Officer are approached from several perspectives and contextual backgrounds.

This edition will provide the financial enterprise’s FATCA compliance officer the tools for developing a best practices compliance strategy, starting with determining what information is needed for planning the meetings with outside FATCA experts.

This 330 page Guide contains three chapters written specifically to guide a financial institution’s lead FATCA compliance officer in designing a plan of internal action within the enterprise and interaction with outside FATCA advisors with a view of best leveraging available resources and budget [see Chapters 2, 3, and 4].

This Guide includes a practical outline of the information that should be requested by, and provided to, FATCA advisors who will be working with the enterprise, and a guide to the work flow and decision processes.

Click here to pre-order the LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance!  Remember that only US customers can buy on the US Lexis store.

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Practical Considerations for Developing a FATCA Compliance Program
Chapter 3 FATCA Compliance and Integration of Information Technology
Chapter 4 Financial Institution Account Remediation
Chapter 5 FBAR & 8938 FATCA Reporting
Chapter 6 Determining U.S. Ownership Under FATCA
Chapter 7 Foreign Financial Institutions
Chapter 8 Non-Financial Foreign Entities
Chapter 9 FACTA and the Insurance Industry
Chapter 10 Withholding and Qualified Intermediary Reporting
Chapter 11 Withholding and FATCA
Chapter 12 ”Withholdable” Payments
Chapter 13 Determining and Documenting the Payee
Chapter 14 Framework of Intergovernmental Agreements
Chapter 15 Analysis of Current Intergovernmental Agreements
Chapter 16 UK-U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement and Its Implementation
Chapter 17 Mexico-U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement and Its Implementation
Chapter 18 Japan-U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement and Its Implementation
Chapter 19 Switzerland-U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement and Its Implementation
Chapter 20 Exchange of Tax Information and the Impact of FATCA for Germany
Chapter 21 Exchange of Tax Information and the Impact of FATCA for The Netherlands
Chapter 22 Exchange of Tax Information and the Impact of FATCA for Canada
Chapter 23 Exchange of Tax Information and the Impact of FATCA for The British
Virgin Islands
Chapter 24 European Union Cross Border Information Reporting
Chapter 25 The OECD, TRACE Program, FATCA and Beyond
Index

Posted in Compliance, information exchange, OECD, Reporting, Tax Policy, Taxation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Treasury & IRS Issue Final FATCA Regulations

Posted by William Byrnes on January 21, 2013


Treasury Advances Efforts to Secure International Participation, Streamline Compliance, and Prepare for Implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (January 17, 2013 U.S. Treasury Department of Public Affairs)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on January 17, 2013 issued comprehensive final regulations implementing the information reporting and withholding tax provisions commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Enacted by Congress in 2010, these provisions target non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers using foreign accounts. The issuance of the final regulations marks a key step in establishing a common intergovernmental approach to combating tax evasion.

These regulations provide additional certainty for financial institutions and government counterparts by finalizing the step-by-step process for U.S. account identification, information reporting, and withholding requirements for foreign financial institutions (FFIs), other foreign entities, and U.S. withholding agents.

The final regulations issued today:
 Build on intergovernmental agreements that foster international cooperation. The Treasury Department has collaborated with foreign governments to develop and sign intergovernmental agreements that facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of FATCA by eliminating legal barriers to participation, reducing administrative burdens, and ensuring the participation of all nonexempt financial institutions in a partner jurisdiction. In order to reduce administrative burdens for financial institutions with operations in multiple jurisdictions, the final regulations coordinate the obligations for financial institutions under the regulations and the intergovernmental agreements.

 Phase in the timelines for due diligence, reporting and withholding and align them with the intergovernmental agreements. The final regulations phase in over an extended transition period to provide sufficient time for financial institutions to develop necessary systems. In addition, to avoid confusion and unnecessary duplicative procedures, the final regulations align the regulatory timelines with the timelines prescribed in the intergovernmental agreements.

 Expand and clarify the scope of payments not subject to withholding. To limit market disruption, reduce administrative burdens, and establish certainty, the final regulations provide relief from withholding with respect to certain grandfathered obligations and certain payments made by nonfinancial entities.

 Refine and clarify the treatment of investment entities. To better align the obligations under FATCA with the risks posed by certain entities, the final regulations:

(1) expand and clarify the treatment of certain categories of low-risk institutions, such as governmental entities and retirement funds;

(2) provide that certain investment entities may be subject to being reported on by the FFIs with which they hold accounts rather than being required to register as FFIs and report to the IRS; and

(3) clarify the types of passive investment entities that must be identified and reported by financial institutions.

 Clarify the compliance and verification obligations of FFIs. The final regulations provide more streamlined registration and compliance procedures for groups of financial institutions, including commonly managed investment funds, and provide additional detail regarding FFIs’ obligations to verify their compliance under FATCA.

Progress on International Coordination, Including Model Intergovernmental Agreements

Since the proposed regulations were published on February 15, 2012, Treasury has collaborated with foreign governments to develop two alternative model intergovernmental agreements that facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of FATCA. These models serve as the basis for concluding bilateral agreements with interested jurisdictions and help implement the law in a manner that removes domestic legal impediments to compliance, secures wide-spread participation by every non-exempt financial institution in the partner jurisdiction, fulfills FATCA’s policy objectives, and further reduces burdens on FFIs located in partner jurisdictions. Seven countries have already signed or initialed these agreements.

Today, Treasury announced for the first time that Norway has joined the United Kingdom, Mexico, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, and Spain as countries that have signed or initialed model agreements. Treasury is engaged with more than 50 countries and jurisdictions to curtail offshore tax evasion, and more signed agreements are expected to follow in the near future.

Additional Background on the Model Agreements
On July 26, 2012, Treasury published its first model intergovernmental agreement (Model 1 IGA). Instead of reporting to the IRS directly, FFIs in jurisdictions that have signed Model 1 IGAs report the information about U.S. accounts required by FACTA to their respective governments who then exchange this information with the IRS.  Treasury also developed a second model intergovernmental agreement (Model 2 IGA) published on November 14, 2012. A partner jurisdiction signing an agreement based on the Model 2 IGA agrees to direct its FFIs to register with the IRS and report the information about U.S. accounts required by FATCA directly to the IRS.

These agreements do not offer an exemption from FATCA for any jurisdiction but instead offer a framework for information sharing pursuant to existing bilateral income tax treaties. Under both models, all financial institutions in a partner jurisdiction that are not otherwise excepted or exempt must report the information about U.S. accounts required by FATCA. Therefore, the IRS receives the same quality and quantity of
information about U.S. accounts from FFIs in jurisdictions with IGAs as it receives from FFIs applying the final regulations elsewhere, but these agreements help streamline reporting and remove legal impediments to
compliance.

Background on FATCA

FATCA was enacted in 2010 by Congress as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. FATCA requires FFIs to report to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers,
or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. In order to avoid withholding under FATCA, a participating FFI will have to enter into an agreement with the IRS to:

 Identify U.S. accounts,
 Report certain information to the IRS regarding U.S. accounts, and
 Withhold a 30 percent tax on certain U.S.-connected payments to non-participating FFIs and account holders who are unwilling to provide the required information.

Registration will take place through an online system. FFIs that do not register and enter into an agreement with the IRS will be subject to withholding on certain types of payments relating to U.S. investments.

Posted in Compliance, Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, Reporting, Tax Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a 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 »

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Equal to Their Offshore Brethren?

Posted by William Byrnes on February 2, 2012


The Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) is the onshore response to concerns surrounding offshore asset protection vehicles, but are the onshore and offshore varieties of asset protection equivalent? Despite the surface similarities between DAPTs and asset protection vehicles based in the Caribbean and other offshore hotspots, the degree of creditor protection offered by them can be very different.

After a brief discussion of the history of DAPTs, this article examines the battle tactics used by creditors to break DAPTs and access trust assets.

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 DAPTs in Advisor’s Journal, see Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: New Chart Ranks the States (CC 10-30) & The Spendthrift Clause (CC 09-32).

For in-depth analysis of DAPTs, see Advisor’s Main Library: G—Domestic Asset Protection Trusts.

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

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).

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

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Ready for Launch?

Posted by William Byrnes on November 28, 2011


Despite the best efforts of Congressional Republicans, the ribbon-cutting for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is on schedule for next month. And unlike other Dodd-Frank progeny, this project looks like it’s going to hit the ground running.

The stated mission of the CFPB is to “make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans—whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.” After the mortgage debacle of the recent financial crisis and stories about predatory practices in the credit card and pay-day loan industries, who can argue with that mission statement?

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 the fight over Dodd-Frank in Advisor’s Journal, see Is Barney Frank’s Resolve to Implement Dodd-Frank Weakening? (CC 11-95) & Republicans Look to Erode Dodd-Frank (CC 11-75).

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

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).

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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).

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

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.

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

Court Holds that STOLI Law Isn’t Retroactive

Posted by William Byrnes on October 3, 2011


A stranger-owned life insurance promoter won a big victory when the California Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that California’s 2009 anti-STOLI law does not apply to policies issued before the statue was enacted.

The ruling was issued by the 4th Appellate District in an appeal on the case: The Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York vs. Jonathan S. Berck, as Trustee, etc, Case No. D056373 (17 May 2011).

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 STOLI cases in Advisor’s Journal, see STOLI Scheme Lands Insurance Agent in Jail (CC 11-92).

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

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).

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

FINRA Puts Disciplinary Histories on Web

Posted by William Byrnes on September 29, 2011


Disciplinary histories are becoming easier to access. Brokers’ disciplinary histories are now prominently displayed for the web savvy public; they’re no longer filed away at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), where only the most diligent investors will find them. FINRA has made your disciplinary history freely and easily available to the public by launching a web-accessible discipline database.

Whether the easy accessibility of the information is a  beneficial will depend on a broker’s history. Those with a clean record will undoubtedly benefit from the easy accessibility of the information and the ease with which clients and prospects can search their record and compare it to others. Those with a negative history, whether deserved or not, may now find themselves on the defensive with prospects more often.

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 FINRA complaint and disciplinary procedure in Advisor’s Journal, see FINRA Rule 45-30: Expansive New Complaint Report Requirements (CC 11-96) & Broker Bonus Arbitration Bottleneck Forces FINRA to Reconsider Arbitrator Qualification Standards (CC 11-08).

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

Dodd-Frank Whistleblowing—Rewarding the Robbers?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 13, 2011


Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower provisions may be more effective than originally anticipated, but will they lead to increased corporate compliance?

The whistle blower rules have received cristicism from some who believe the procedures will hinder compliance procedures rather than improve them. The liberal Whistleblower provisions have also raised concerns about the already overcommitted SEC being overwhelmed by frivolous claims by employees who view the program as a lottery with multi-million dollar payouts.

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 Dodd-Frank updates in Advisor’s Journal, see Is Barney Frank’s Resolve to Implement Dodd-Frank Weakening? (CC 11-95).

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

Is the Contestability Period a Shield or a Sword in STOLI Disputes?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 12, 2011


Should insurance applicants and third-party investors be allowed to make material representations when applying for life insurance, if they can manage to hide misdeeds for at least two years? The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York thinks so.

In the latest STOLI case coming out of the federal courts, judge and jury discussed whether blatant fraud on a life insurance policy application is actionable to invalidate a policy after the contestability period has passed. The jury and court held for the investor in the $5 million case.

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 STOLI in Advisor’s Journal, see STOLI Scheme Lands Insurance Agent in Jail (CC 11-92), New York Court of Appeals Upholds STOLI Arrangement (CC 10-106), & Recent STOLI Case Is a Big Win for Insurers (CC 10-59).

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

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.

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

Is Barney Frank’s Resolve to Implement Dodd-Frank Weakening?

Posted by William Byrnes on September 1, 2011


Facing the onslaught of Republican legislative attempts to weaken Dodd Frank, Barney Frank (D-MA) seems unconcerned. His unwillingness to push for the prompt implementation of Dodd-Frank suggests that his resolve is weakening. And in recent weeks, Representatives have used the implementation lull to introduce a handful of bills that, if passed, would repeal or delay parts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

Dodd-Frank implementation was originally scheduled to launch July 21, but Mr. Frank has no reservations against allowing agencies more time to translate the abundant volume of provisions of the  reform into regulations. “There’s no gun at their heads. Nobody gets fired,” he stated.

However, by allowing for this delay, Mr. Frank risks giving the Republicans time to repeal Dodd-Frank one provision at a time.

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 Dodd-Frank financial reform in Advisor’s Journal, see Republicans Look to Erode Dodd-Frank (CC 11-75).

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

The Changing World of Health Insurance: MLR’s Slam Commissions

Posted by William Byrnes on August 31, 2011


Increased medical loss ratios (MLRs) are devastating health insurance producers’ balance sheets and driving agents out of the health insurance business. As of  January, the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act increased the MLR requirement imposed on health insurance companies, forcing many carriers to reduce agent commissions by 25 percent or more.

The objective behind imposing MLRs is to ensure that consumers receive the full value of their premium dollars. This is accomplished by implementing a shift in how insurance carriers spend their money. Insurance carries are now required to spend premium dollars on direct medical services, rather than on administrative costs and profits. Under the new MLR program, insurers must spend 80 to 85 cents of every dollar on direct medical services. Insurers who fail to meet the MLR requirement must either adjust their premiums to account for any discrepancies, or refund excess premiums to consumers.

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 health care reform in Advisor’s Journal, see Long-term Care Insurance Reform Act of 2010 (CC 10-46), Changes Affecting Large Employers in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-17), Changes Affecting Business in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-16), & Changes Affecting Individuals in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-15).

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

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.

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

SEC Okays CFP Board’s Request to Dig into Applicants’ Backgrounds

Posted by William Byrnes on August 22, 2011


The dynamics of the confidentiality is enduring change. Certified Financial Planners (“CFPs”) and CFP applicants can no longer hide their disciplinary histories from the CFP Board under the shield of client confidentiality. At the request of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a no action letter that gives brokers and advisors the  to share customer complaint information with the Board without fear of reprisal from the SEC. The no action letter removes advisors’ ability to maintain client confidentiality as a justification for not disclosing customer complaint information to the CFP, giving the Board free-reign to scour members’ backgrounds.

What impact will this heightened need for disclosure have on the advisor- client relationship?

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 financial planning industry in Advisor’s Journal, see Wall Street Reform Act Mandates Study of Financial Planning Industry (CC 10-73).

For in-depth analysis of financial planning concepts, see Advisor’s Main Library: A – The Need For Financial Planning.

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

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)

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

Turning Plan Sponsors’ Risk into Reward

Posted by William Byrnes on August 12, 2011


Barry Flagg continues his popular series, this month discussing the cash value of life insurance as a factor of suitability. The desirability of a permanent life insurance product is influenced by the degree of cash value liquidity throughout the life of the policy. All other factors being equal, the higher the liquid cash value after deduction of cost of insurance charges and policy expenses (including contingent surrender charges), the more suitable the policy.

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 income taxation of life insurance, see Advisor’s Main Library: D–Gain Or Loss On Surrender Or Sale

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

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).

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

Plan Clients: Where are the Advisory Margins?

Posted by William Byrnes on July 28, 2011


A significant of number of employee retirement plans don’t use an outside investment advisor, often because of the cost. Demonstrating your firm’s flexibility and splitting fiduciary responsibility for the plan could be the key to securing those underserved plans. Customizing your level of service gives these plans what they need—advice—while allowing you to prune services that aren’t cost effective for your firm.

According to the Retirement Plan Survey 2011, released by Grant Thornton LLP, Drinker Biddle & Reath and Plan Sponsor Advisors, greater than 50% of plans use a limited scope investment advisor and 14% of plans use an outsourced investment advisor. 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).

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

The Perils of Top-Hat Plans

Posted by William Byrnes on July 22, 2011


An executive top-hat plan can be a great way to become desirable to highly qualified executives or supplement a business owner’s compensation. However, these plans are accompanied with a significant downside. Because the plans are generally unfunded, major events at the sponsor, like a sale or insolvency, can decimate a plan and leave participants empty handed. The effect on a top-hat plan when a sponsor liquidates its assets is illustrated by a recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case. 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).

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

NCOIL Announces New Annuity Suitability Penalties

Posted by William Byrnes on July 20, 2011


Producers and carriers may soon face more stringent compliance requirements, and increased liability for making unsuitable recommendations, when selling annuities. The regulatory change will happen at the state level as a result of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) executive committee voting unanimously on March 6 to adopt the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation.  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 life insurance regulations in Advisor’s Journal, see NCOIL Adopts Model Act Requiring Insurers to Inform Consumers of Settlement Options (CC 10-104).

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

Are the Mass Affluent Missing from Your Client Profile?

Posted by William Byrnes on July 19, 2011


Individuals in the fastest growing class of investors—the mass affluent—need your advice.  According to a recent report, there is a void in representation by financial professionals this group. As a corollary, they lack confidence in their ability to meet their financial goals, making them desirable candidates for professional services.

The mass affluent are investors occupying the upper tier of the mass market—the biggest group of consumers. But “mass affluent” isn’t just a synonym for “upper middle-class”; it is a subset of the upper middle-class with $50,000 to $250,000 in “investable assets.”

Depending on your career trajectory, the mass affluent can be resourceful in establishing the foundation for a successful practice. A majority (55 percent) of the mass affluent believe they will be wealthy one day. Although only a small number of the mass affluent will move into high-net-worth territory, you can get in on the ground floor of the upward career trajectory of those who will. 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).

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

Historical Performance of Underlying Cash Value of Life Insurance

Posted by William Byrnes on July 17, 2011


Last month, Advanced Market expert Barry Flagg talked about the relevance of policy cash values to the overall suitability of a permanent life insurance policy. This month, he expanded on the cash value topic by addressing how cash value is generally a product of the number of cash value investment options, the historical performance of such cash value investment options, and the cost-effectiveness of the various cash value allocation options.

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 in Advisor’s Journal, see Life Insurance Valuation (CC 10-09).

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

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.

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

CAASP firma convênio com a Thomas Jefferson School of Law, da San Diego Califórnia (EUA)

Posted by William Byrnes on May 10, 2011


Inscritos na OAB-SP têm desconto de 20% em curso internacional que começa no dia 5 de julho

A Caixa de Assistência dos Advogados de São Paulo (CAASP), por meio do seu Clube de Serviços, acaba de formalizar parceria com a Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL), de San Diego, Califórnia (EUA). Agora, os inscritos na OAB-SP têm desconto de 20% no curso de verão “Introdução ao Sistema Legal Norte-Americano” (Introduction to US Legal System), que será ministrado de 5 a 28 de julho. Em vez dos US$2 mil usuais, os advogados paulistas pagarão apenas US$1,6 mil. Há também oferta de estadia por valores diferenciados.

Para se matricular, o advogado deve cumprir o seguinte procedimento: no endereçowww.tjsl.edu/graduate/caasp, acionar o aplicativo TJSL/SC/2011, imprimir e preencher a ficha de inscrição. Em seguida, é preciso escanear o documento e enviá-lo para mcewenc@tjsl.edu, endereço eletrônico da professora Carla Lima de Castro McEwen, coordenadora pedagógica do curso.

“O curso habilita para o Exame da Califórnia Bar Association e conta com renomados professores norte-americanos, além da advogada brasileira Carla McEwen, coordenadora pedagógica, que garantirá aos brasileiros todo o suporte necessário em língua portuguesa”, destaca o assessor para Assuntos Institucionais da CAASP, George Augusto Niaradi. “Com mais esta parceria na esfera educacional, a Caixa prossegue em uma de suas linhas prioritárias, que é disponibilizar a todos os segmentos da advocacia paulista cursos que supram sua necessidade de atualização permanente”, afirma o presidente da Caixa de Assistência, Fábio Romeu Canton Filho.

O curso “Introdução ao Sistema Legal Norte-Americano” proporciona uma visão geral da linguagem norte-americana sobre o sistema jurídico baseado na jurisprudência (commom law). O aluno tem a oportunidade de conhecer a estrutura da linguagem jurídica usada na prática legal nos Estados Unidos em petições, apelações ou correspondências, além de participar de uma série de palestras. A programação contempla 15 horas semanais de aulas presenciais e 15 horas semanais de pesquisa e estudos.

A Thomas Jefferson School of Law nasceu em 1969 como campus de San Diego, na Califórnia, da Western University College of Law, tendo evoluído até tonar-se uma escola  de Direito de ponta, assim reconhecida tanto por estudantes dos Estados Unidos quanto de diversas partes do mundo. Um fato marcante na história recente da TJSL é a construção de um moderníssimo campus em San Diego Downtown East Village, perto do coração da comunidade jurídica da cidade. As primeiras aulas nas novas instalações foram ministradas em janeiro de 2011. Dotada de um corpo docente de classe mundial, a TJSL conta com três centros de excelência acadêmica: o Center for Global Legal Studies, o Centro para o Direito e Propriedade Intelectual e  Centro de Direito e da Justiça Social – todos os três centros têm alcançado destaque em suas áreas por meio de ofertas de cursos e programas de extensão.

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

New Proposed Rules for Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers

Posted by William Byrnes on May 3, 2011


The SEC recently considered a proposal that would prohibit incentive-based compensation practices that may encourage inappropriate risk.

The proposal arises from Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the SEC along with six other financial regulators to jointly adopt regulations or guidelines governing the incentive-based compensation arrangements of certain financial institutions. These institutions include broker-dealers and investment advisers with $1 billion or more of assets.

In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act calls upon the regulators to do two things:  Read the analysis at AdvisorFYI

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

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

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

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

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

 
%d bloggers like this: