Bloomberg BNA: Two New Stories Cite Firm’s Founding Principal

 

 

McManus & Associates Founding Principal and top-AV rated Attorney John O. McManus recently spoke with Diane Freda, reporter for Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report®. The publication is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals covering issues in taxation, pensions, and accounting.

BNAFreda’s December 27th story “IRS Shuts Down Online EIN Applications, Complicating Year-End Gift Transactions” cites John’s thoughts on the IRS’s “planned outage” of online applications for employer identification numbers, from December 27th through January 2nd. It was the publication’s most-read article of the day.

Her second piece, “Fiscal Cliff Unified Estate, Gift Tax Exemptions Seen as Windfall by Advisers,” was published on January 2nd and includes John’s reaction to the passage of provisions in fiscal cliff legislation ensuring estate and gift tax exemptions remain at $5 million for the upcoming year and near future.

To learn more about fiscal cliff unified estate and gift tax exemptions, give our office a call at (908) 898-0100.

Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, 248 DTR G-4 (Dec. 28, 2012). Copyright 2012 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, 02 DTR G-8 (Jan. 3, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

Bankrate.com: “Are these tax proposals fair?”

Jennie Phipps, who has been reporting on retirement for six years, recently spoke with McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus about estate and retirement planning strategies and based an article for Bankrate.com on the conversation.

In her story, titled “Are these tax proposals fair?” Phipps highlights five estate and retirement planning strategies at which the Obama Administration has taken aim, according to McManus. As she notes in her piece:

Some of the people who are using these strategies as they approach retirement have lots of money to manage. But those using these approaches also include small-business owners and farmers eager to pass their enterprises on to their children without burdening them with a huge tax bill, McManus says.

Phipps summarizes what the government proposes to do to collect more taxes from money passed down via estates and tasks readers with deciding whether the proposals are fair. She calls out the following:

  1. Lower the estate tax exemption.
  2. Retool intentionally defective grantor trusts.
  3. Tax grantor retained annuity trusts, or GRAT.
  4. Limiting generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions to 90 years.
  5. Taxing grantor trusts when Dad still manages the money.

Phipps’ article expands on all five; read more here: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/retirement/are-these-tax-proposals-fair/

The story closes with thoughts from John:

McManus says he believes that taxing estates at 45 percent is unfair and counterproductive. “We are proposing to penalize hardworking people who aren’t making millions. Having to pay a punitive amount in taxes takes away the motivation to start up a business.”

Please give our office a call at (908) 898-0100 if we can help with questions.

Conference Call: Post-election Planning and the ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Now that the elections are over, Congress and the White House have the significant task of directing the country away from the impending “fiscal cliff.” Critical to these negotiations will be tax rates, exemption amounts and political ideologies.

During a conference call with clients, McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus identifies potential issues and ways to remain protected moving into 2013.

LISTEN HERE: “Post-election planning and the ‘Fiscal Cliff'”

Here’s what the discussion covers:

  1. What risks do the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations present for estate and gift tax exemptions?
  2. Can compromise be achieved?
  3. What if no compromise is achieved by Dec 31, 2012?
  4. How does the composition of the House and Senate effect these discussions?
  5. What are some of the speculations for the compromise regarding gift tax/estate tax?
  6. How likely is it that a compromise, achieved later in the year, will be made retroactive to January 1, 2013?
  7. How does the emotional power of the argument to abolish the ‘death tax’ play into the debates?
  8. What new taxes will be levied? For example: 3.8% Medicare tax on capital gains, dividends and the top tax brackets.
  9. Estate tax on the ballot. How did it fair this election?
  10. Have you fully funded the trusts that we have set up for you and are all titles correctly named?

Please contact our office at (908) 898-0100 if we can help with any questions.

New Jersey Newsroom: “A tax tip that can save you thousands”

Warren Boroson

Warren Boroson – author of more than 20 books, including “J.K. Lasser’s How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett,” and whose articles have appeared in publications like Reader’s Digest and New York Times Magazine – recently turned to McManus & Associates Founding Principal and top AV-rated Attorney John O. McManus to talk strategies for the looming Fiscal Cliff and rising taxes that 2013 will likely bring.

Boroson’s article “A tax tip that can save you thousands,” published by New Jersey Newsroom, is based on John’s foresight and guidance. Here’s an excerpt:

The gift tax exemption will likely be reduced next year, so something that well-to-do people should consider doing, McManus suggests, is setting up a trust to put assets into, to protect those assets from Uncle Sam. These trusts will give you “flexibility, control, and access.”

To learn more about what you can expect in terms of gift-tax rates and tax benefits “when the battle about the so-called Fiscal Cliff is over,” check out Boroson’s full column to read John’s expert insight: http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/economy/a-tax-tip-that-can-save-you-thousands

FORTUNE: “The best way to give thanks at work”

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Reporter Katherine Reynolds Lewis has written a valuable article for FORTUNE that sheds light on how employers and managers can best show appreciation for their employees – fittingly published at a time when Americans are focused on giving thanks. Lewis’ story, “The best way to give thanks at work,” is introduced with a couple lines that get to the root of where there’s disconnect and the point of the piece: “Bosses may think they’re showing gratitude to their staff, but more often than not, those thanks are not heard or believed. How to bridge the gratitude gap.”

Lewis notes that “for a thank-you to be perceived as meaningful, it should be specifically connected to the recipient, her preferences, and her accomplishments.”

To illustrate this advice, Lewis uses an example of McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus expressing his thanks in a special, individualized way for the firm’s beloved team member Elizabeth Fojtu:

…when John McManus was looking for a way to thank one of the wealth advisors at his estate and tax-planning firm for pushing through a recent deluge of work, he decided on a trip to Le Chateau Frontenac, a Quebec hotel that captures the Old World charm of Europe. The employee has children the same age as McManus’, who loved their own Canadian vacation, and she met her Europe-born husband in a similarly charming venue: Prague. “That connection had even more meaning to her,” McManus says.

To read more about what Lewis found exploring the topic of giving thanks at work, go to http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/21/the-best-way-to-give-thanks-at-work/.

NBC News: “Seniors face retirement ‘perfect storm’ in 2013”

John O. McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates, recently spoke with CNBC Reporter Mark Koba about whether 2013 is a bad year to retire, with the predicted fiscal cliff and, even if it’s resolved, the larger numbers of workers leaving their jobs for retirement. According to Koba, an estimated 7 million Americans will reach the age of 65 by the start of 2013.

John’s thoughts are found throughout Koba’s article:

As it stands now, the top tax rate on capital gains will jump to 23.8 percent from 15 percent and the top tax rate on dividends nearly triples to 43.4 percent from 15 percent. And any fiscal deal will likely include higher tax rates so seniors had better count on that when they plan for their retirement, said John O. McManus, CEO of McManus & Associates, a trust estates law firm.

“Many seniors may want to postpone retirement in 2013 because they just don’t know what their tax rates will be,” McManus said. “If the markets don’t perform well and tax rates go higher, seniors will have a lot less money to spend. There’s a lot of uncertainty about where this will all end.”

But McManus said even planning for tax increases won’t be easy.

“If someone retires in January but a deal isn’t reached until March, will tax rates be re-retroactive? That’s a big risk for someone thinking about retirement,” said McManus.

And after looking at the thoughts of various experts, Koba gets it right: “While 2013 presents unique problems, analysts say that in the end, planning for retirement never comes at an easy time, fiscal cliff or not.”

A quote from John closes out the piece:

“It’s not to say that 2014 will be a better year to retire,” said McManus. “There are always a lot of things people can’t control, like the markets and global issues. I’m just saying that if you think about retiring in 2013 you need to take care and take caution.”

Read the whole article here.

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Gift Tax Exemption Will Not Likely Be Extended with President Obama’s Re-election and Divided Congress

In response to the results of the 2012 election, John O. McManus – top AV-rated tax and estate planning attorney and founding principal of Tri-State-Area-based McManus & Associates – released the following guide to changes in tax rates and exemptions, as well as a statement below:

From John O. McManus:

What does President Obama winning re-election mean for estate planning? Answer: Certain estate planning strategies are set to expire with no expectation that they will be extended. We must get to work now while we still have the opportunity. The gift tax exemption, currently allowing individuals to transfer up to $5,120,000 in assets free of tax retreats to $1,000,000 at the end of this year, and the gift tax rate jumps from 35% to 55%.

As we hurl toward the fiscal cliff of 2013, Speaker Boehner and President Obama now draw lines in the sand assuring an end to this unique tax opportunity. Furthermore, if and when a compromise is achieved – possibly sometime next year – the death tax and gift tax rates will likely increase significantly, and the tax benefits will fall to less than 20% of what is available through year-end.

More than ever, it is now critical to hop on this last tax-planning train before this period dissolves to the disadvantage of loved ones.

Rather than giving gifts directly to loved ones, transfers should be made into trust to provide flexibility, control and access to the donor. Assets such as business interests, private equity ownership, stock portfolios, cash and real estate are all suitable for transfer. Employing qualified professionals can assure that this work can be completed in less than 30 days – just enough time to make the deadline. Missing this twilight period could prove to be taxing on your mind and your balance sheet.

Please contact us immediately to learn how to take advantage of this fast-closing window of time as the end of 2012 approaches — we have at least another month to help.

Conference Call: President Obama’s Green Book — The Future of Estate Planning

As we have emphasized over the last two years, the Estate Tax Exemption Amount and the Lifetime Gift Exemption Amount currently at $5.0 million per person will end December 31st, 2012, and revert to $1.0 million.

President Obama has already indicated in his Green Book for the 2013 Budget that the Lifetime Gift Exemption will remain at $1.0 million and the tax rate will be 55% for transfers above that $1.0 million amount.

The opportunity, therefore, to transfer assets into a protected trust before year-end while retaining flexibility is unprecedented.  The additional benefit is that the future appreciation of the assets will be sheltered from both federal and state estate tax.

Read on or LISTEN HERE: “President Obama’s Green Book — The Future of Estate Planning”

When considering transfers of greater than $1.0MM in real estate, securities, partnership interests, or other assets, we strongly advise that a properly structured trust is the ideal recipient.

Given the potential value of the trust, it is specifically designed so that you and your spouse are able to enjoy a measure of flexibility to continue to access and control the transferred assets.  Among other things, this is accomplished by:

  • Retaining the power to remove and appoint Trustees or to receive loans from the trust;
  • Granting your spouse the right to receive distributions and serve as Trustee; and
  • Authorizing your spouse to determine how assets will be divided between your children.

Additionally, through the trust’s provisions, the assets receive an exceptional degree of protection against financial reversals and liability that you, your spouse, your children, and your other descendants may encounter during your lifetimes.

Again, after the expiration of the $5.0MM exemption at the end of 2012, only an act of Congress may increase the exemption from its $1.0MM level.  While it is unknown how Congress may respond after the election, the exemption is still likely to substantially decrease due to the current economic and political climate.

The nation is facing a “fiscal cliff” – the coinciding action of tax increases and spending cuts in order to remedy escalating budget deficits.  The result is that this special $5.0MM planning opportunity may never resurface during our lifetimes and be forever lost.

The prospective constraints on the present amount gifted will exponentially diminish the future amount that may be exempt from estate tax.  This concern is compounded by the fact that certain assets may currently be undervalued due to current market conditions and may reasonably be expected to experience accelerated growth in the coming years and decades in the protected trust.

To highlight the long-term estate tax advantage of making a significant lifetime transfer to a trust, consider an example in which a $3.0MM gift is made, both spouses pass away in year 2032, the gift appreciates at a very modest 4% per annum, and President Obama’s proposed estate tax plan is adopted.  The value of the assets will have doubled.

The consequences of failing to make such transfer now are at least $650,000.00 in state estate taxes and $2,600,000.00 in federal estate taxes, reducing the amount received by the children by more than 50%.  Naturally, this negative effect is diminished if more assets are gifted away, if each spouse lives longer, or if the estate appreciates in value at a greater rate.

The firm will close for the year on December 15; therefore, to be effective, all work must be commenced and completed within the month of November. We invite you to call or e-mail our office to review your specific circumstances.

Conference Call: Top 10 Planning Issues for Recently Emancipated Children (over 18) and Minors

The Dog Days of summer are past us and the recent return to school for so many reminds us of the simple task of protecting our young adults and our minor children. McManus & Associates is pleased to share the recording of our “Back to School” edition conference call, which addresses issues associated with the well-being and care of young adult and minor children.

LISTEN HERE: “Top 10 Planning Issues for Recently Emancipated Children (over 18) and Minors”

Below please find a list of topics that attorney John O. McManus, founding principal of the firm, covers in the discussion.

1. Legal and medical risks for children upon reaching age 18, legal adulthood. What happens if they are in a car accident or are hospitalized? How can we access medical and school records?

2. Overseas travel and study abroad. What are the necessities when your child is overseas?

3. Upon attaining age 18, does your child require a will?

4. Your child is 18. Should you appoint him or her as your representative in your incapacity planning?

5. Your child is 18 or 25. Should you make outright gifts to them? What are the risks of these gifts and custodial accounts?

6. Your 25 year old (or younger) child is getting married. Should you review with them whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary to protect the family assets?

7. Your child is under 18. What are the medical risks if you are unavailable?

8. Your child is under 18. What if both parents pass away or become incapacitated? What must a comprehensive plan to protect this child address in addition to appointing guardians?

9. Your child is under 18 and your selected guardians reside overseas. What are the risks to getting them “Home?”

10. Passports for children. What is the relevance of children of foreign nationality having a passport in the foreign jurisdiction? If your children are foreign born or going overseas, are passports current in the event of an emergency?

Please contact us — McManus & Associates, a trusts and estates planning law firm — at (908) 898-0100 if we can help with any questions.