Tag: income tax

Top 10 Income Tax Considerations for Estate Planning in 2019

Income tax planning should go hand-in-hand with efforts to preserve and compound your estate. John O. McManus today discussed with clients key opportunities to maximize income tax savings.

Listen to the discussion and review important points below:

  1. Review Your Plan: Given the significant tax law changes on the State and Federal level over the past several years, it is important to review existing Wills and Trusts to ensure that income tax efficiency is maximized.
  • Evaluate cost basis of assets gifted to irrevocable trusts, which will not receive a step-up in basis.
  • Determine whether irrevocable trusts have swapping or decanting powers.
  • Re-visit the use and implementation of Testamentary Credit Shelter Trusts (see below).
  1. Basis and Testamentary Credit Shelter Trusts: It is important to preserve the flexibility to benefit from a step-up in basis upon the surviving spouse’s death.
  • Credit Shelter Trusts, which utilize State and Federal estate tax exemptions, typically do not allow for assets to receive a step-up in basis upon the surviving spouse’s death.
  • Since the estate tax exemptions have dramatically increased in the past decade, fewer families are impacted by estate tax.
  • This means that a Credit Shelter can do more harm than good because:

o   the children would not have been subject to estate tax even without a Credit Shelter Trust.

o   the children will have to pay capital gains on the assets of the Credit Shelter Trust when they sell them.

  • If it becomes evident that estate tax is not a concern, a power can be included in the Credit Shelter Trust to cause the assets to be included in the surviving spouse’s estate upon his or her death to achieve the step-up in basis.
  1. Paying Retirement Accounts Forward: If you inherit a qualified retirement account, you should consider disclaiming it to the next generation in order to extend the tax-deferred appreciation of the investments.
  • If you do not require the use of the retirement account investments inherited from a parent, a disclaimer within 9 months of the date of death can provide a significant tax benefit.
  • The required minimum distributions of the IRA will be based on your children’s ages, meaning the required minimum distributions will be significantly less and allowing for more assets to remain in the account to appreciate in value income tax-free.
  1. Using Assets as Leverage for Gifting: Using appreciated assets as leverage can provide for a wealth transfer opportunities to minimize estate tax without sacrificing a step-up in basis upon death.
  • It is common to gift significant assets as part of a wealth transfer plan to minimize future estate tax.
  • However, in doing so, the assets do not receive a step-up in basis upon the donor’s death.
  • If the family sells the assets soon after, the estate tax benefits are muted because the capital gains tax must be paid.
  • As an alternative, explore financing for the asset and gifting the cash to a protected, multi-generational irrevocable Trust.
  • The cash will then be invested, with any growth taking place outside of the estate and realizing the desired estate tax benefit.
  • The asset will remain in the estate to gain the step-up in basis and only the value of the equity in the property would be subject to estate tax.
  1. NINGs and DINGs: There may be significant tax-savings opportunities to eliminate the imposition of State income tax on capital gains by establishing a Trust in Delaware or Nevada.
  • If you anticipate having the opportunity to sell a closely-held business or appreciated stock holding, you will have a significant State income tax (and on your Federal return, you will no longer be able to deduct that tax paid).
  • By forming a specially-designed Trust in Delaware or Nevada and hiring a trust company located there to administer it, you can then fund the Trust with the asset that will be liquidated.
  • Since the asset is intangible and is considered to be custodied outside the state of your residence, the State cannot impose income tax on the gain.
  • The Trust can also be structured so that it will not be subject to State or Federal Estate tax after your death.
  1. Upstream Gifting: The sale of an appreciated asset to a specially-designed Trust for the benefit of a parent can provide post-liquidation tax benefits.
  • If there is high capital gains tax exposure for an investment that will be sold at some point during your lifetime, you might consider selling the investment to a Trust for the benefit of a parent.
  • By selling the investment, you do not use any of your estate tax exemption and you would hold a promissory note, the payment of which could be made by income generated by the investment.
  • The parent would be granted a power that would cause the Trust to be taxed as part of his or her estate.
  • Therefore, upon the parent’s death the investment would receive a step-up in basis, and it can subsequently be sold with minimum capital gains tax.
  1. 199A Qualified Small Business Deduction: The creation of non-grantor trusts for the benefit of separate beneficiaries can be used to expand the amount of Qualified Business Income that is deductible when income limits are exceeded.
  • Following the enactment of the tax law in 2018, taxpayers are entitled to a 20% deduction on qualified business income (QBI) from partnerships, LLCs, and S-Corporations.
  • If a single person’s taxable income exceeds $157,500 or a married couple’s taxable income exceeds $315,000, the deduction for QBI is then limited to 50% of the W-2 wages paid by the business or 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% basis of depreciable property.
  • A possible strategy is to establish non-grantor trusts (i.e. trusts specially designed so the creator is not considered to be the income tax owner) and transferring interest in the entity to the trusts.
  • Since each Trust is a separate taxpayer, all QBI in connection with the trusts’ share of the income would benefit from the full deduction presuming that each Trust’s taxable income does not exceed the $157,500 threshold.
  1. Qualified Small Business Stock: The creation of non-grantor trusts can be used to increase the exclusion on capital gains when Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) is sold.
  • QSBS is a shares in C-Corporation holding less than $50MM in assets and which have been held more than 5 years.
  • The tax code currently provides an exclusion on capital gains of $10MM or 10 times the cost basis, whichever is greater, when QSBS is sold.
  • For the sale of QSBS in which capital gains exceeds the thresholds, the transfer of the shares to non-grantor trusts will provide a separate capital gains exclusion for each trust (once again, because each trust is considered to be a separate taxpayer).
  1. Property Tax Deduction: The creation of non-grantor trusts can increase the Federal income tax deduction for property taxes paid.
  • The Federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes paid (including property tax) is currently capped at $10,000.
  • As a possible solution, a residence can be transferred to a LLC and then the membership interest in the LLC can be gifted to a separate Trust for the benefit of each child.
  • Each Trust would have the ability to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes for Federal income tax purposes.

o   This means that if you establish one Trust for each child and retain an equal percentage ownership in the LLC, you would keep your personal $10,000 property tax deduction and get an additional $10,000 property tax deduction for each Trust created.

o   This concept could be extended to other beneficiaries, including grandchildren and other family members to further increase the amount of property taxes which would be deductible.

  • An important consideration is that each Trust should hold investment assets which generate sufficient income for which the property taxes could be used to offset the gain, interest, dividends, etc.
  1. Income Tax Opportunities in Real Estate: Cost segregation and Opportunity-Zone Funds are tools that are becoming more prominent and all real estate investors should develop a familiarity with them.
  • Cost segregation allows accelerated depreciation for certain components of a property, meaning that taxable income can be offset to a much greater degree.
  • While the regulations for Opportunity Zone Funds are not completely finalized, these may be a viable investment vehicles to defer capital gains of all types.

o   In order to qualify for the deferral of income tax, the amount of capital gains must be invested in a Fund within 180 days of a sale.

o   Remaining invested in the Fund for 5-7 years can eliminate up 15% of the original capital gain.

  • In order to be eligible for the 5 or 7 year basis readjustments, investments in a Fund must be made by the end of 2021 or the end of 2019, respectively.

o   Remaining invested for 10 years eliminates capital gains on all of the appreciation after the investment in the Fund.

o   The original capital gains that was deferred must ultimately be realized by December 31, 2026 and the tax will then be due.

Conference Call: 10 Tax Planning To-Dos to Check Off Your List before the End of 2018

With only one month left in 2018, time is running out to finish your wealth management to-dos. We’ve made your list, but it’s time to check it twice.

Today, McManus & Associates held a call with clients to provide guidance on the items below. Click to hear the half-hour discussion led by the firm’s Founding Principal John O. McManus:

 

1.  FREELY GIVE: Make annual exclusion gifts up to $15,000 for individuals and $30,000 for married couples, per chosen loved one.

2.  REAP (LOSSES TO OFFSET) WHAT YOU’VE SOWED: Harvest losses to offset capital gains in your securities portfolio.

3.  MIND YOUR HEALTH: Take advantage of this year’s lower threshold for Medical Expenses.

4.  USE A TAX RATE IN ITS INFANCY: Review your children’s portfolio income for application of the revised Kiddie Tax.

5. GIVE THOUGHT TO GIVING: Bunch your charitable deductions in the same year. The deduction for cash donations to public charities has increased to 60% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.

6.   FUEL INVESTMENT VEHICLES: Establish and fund qualified plan contributions.

7.  TAKE A BREAK TO RECONSIDER BREAK-UPS: If planning to execute a divorce or separation agreement, you may want to do so before year-end. Otherwise, moving forward, the payer of alimony will no longer get a deduction on his or her tax return, and the recipient will no longer have to include the alimony as taxable income.

8.  DON’T WAIT TO COMPENSATE (YOURSELF):

An owner of an S Corp must pay themselves a reasonable compensation (what someone in a similar job would be paid). Therefore, make sure you pay yourself a salary before year- end.

9.  RESERVE TIME TO REVIEW YOUR WITHHOLDING:

The 2017 Tax Act lowered the tax rates and changed the tax bracket income ranges. Therefore, now is the time to do a “check-up” to see if your current tax withholding will be sufficient for next year’s income.

10.  MAKE A MOVE: Make distributions of income from trust accounts and estate accounts to lower their income tax liability.

Conference Call: 9 Year-End Charitable Tips for 2016 and Philanthropic Strategies for 2017 and Beyond

Year-end giving allows you to positively impact the greater good by helping charities in need, while reducing your 2016 tax liability. During a new conference call with clients, John O. McManus shares important advice on how to give now to capture the greatest income tax deductions, and he identifies tax-efficient estate planning vehicles to consider for your ongoing philanthropic mission.

LISTEN HERE: “9 Year-End Charitable Tips for 2016 and Philanthropic Strategies for 2017 and Beyond”

“The result of this year’s election makes taking advantage of deductions in 2016 even more urgent and more important,” explained McManus. “Income tax rates will likely go down in 2017, reducing the value of deductions. Because tax deductions are more impactful when tax rates are higher, consider making your charitable gifts for 2017 before the end of 2016.”

Conference Call: Top 10 Tax Planning Tasks to Complete before the End of 2016 in Light of President-Elect Trump’s Proposals

In light of Donald Trump’s election and his pre-election platform to reduce marginal income tax rates, there are several planning strategies that should be considered as part of your year-end planning. Today, McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus held a conference call with clients to discuss the 10 items listed below.

LISTEN HERE: “Top 10 Tax Planning Tasks to Complete before the End of 2016 in Light of President-Elect Trump’s Proposals”

Trusts & Estates, WealthManagement.com Publishes Guest Article from McManus on Coordination of Income Tax and Estate Planning

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wealthmanagement

Combine Income Tax Preparation and Estate Planning

Coordination is key

Apr 1, 2015 John McManus Trusts & Estates

When tackling a jigsaw puzzle, you’ve likely taken the “divide and conquer” approach, separating the larger puzzle into more manageable sections. Eventually, you bring the different areas of focus together to put the finishing touches on the full image.

Wealth management is the same. Estate planning emphasizes an array of complex matters spanning death taxes, asset protection, incapacity, guardianship and family missions. Compartmentalizing can be helpful, but advisors must remember to bring the pieces of the puzzle back together in the end. It’s critical that strategies to maximize the value of your clients’ estates are coordinated with their retirement, financial and income tax planning.

McManus Weighs in on IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for ThinkAdvisor

Photo credit: Lendingmemo

Photo credit: Lendingmemo

The IRS recently issued its list of “Dirty Dozen” tax schemes, an annual release that kicks off tax season. Michael Fischer, contributor for ThinkAdvisor, took a closer look at the 12 scams and tapped McManus & Associates Founder John O. McManus for his guidance on two that specifically impact high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs): “Stashing cash offshore” and “Abusive tax shelters”.

Firm’s Tax Experts Hold Conference Call on Income Tax Preparation

McManus & Associates can prepare your Income Tax Returns. For many years, the firm has been completing tax returns for clients and has learned that keeping income tax planning under the same roof enables a more refined level of specificity in estate planning for your family. Want to hear more about how you can benefit from McManus & Associates’ Income Tax Planning Practice? Listen to the firm’s recent conference call with clients (link below) and contact us at 908-898-0100/212-753-9000.

LISTEN HERE: “Preparing Your Tax Returns”

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Forbes: “Farm Like A Billionaire–Harvest Tax Breaks” and the 2012 Investment Guide

Forbes magazine’s June 25, 2012 Investment Guide issue has been posted online, and several stories of interest are included from Ashlea Ebeling, who writes about how to build, manage and enjoy your family’s wealth.

Ashlea Ebeling

Founding Principal of McManus & Associates John O. McManus, a trusts and estates attorney, spoke with Ashlea about the requirements tied to reaping tax benefits from farm-assessed property for her article “Farm Like A Billionaire–Harvest Tax Breaks.” The piece shares examples of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) planting lavender, establishing honey hives and declaring wildlife preserves to “harvest real estate tax breaks” and income tax savings.

Based on her conversation with John, who practices law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and more, Ashlea writes:

New Jersey allows you to snag a farm break with just 5 acres of land “devoted to agricultural and/or horticultural use” (not including the immediate area around your residence) and $500 in annual farm sales—a threshold neighbors can meet by buying each other’s products. “Everybody talks about what their products are at cocktail parties,” reports John McManus, an estate lawyer in New Providence, N.J. Pumpkins, Christmas trees and alpaca wool are popular.

Check out “How To Farm For Love And Profit–And Save The Farm” for important information on conservation easements and farmland preservationists successes and struggles in Pennsylvania. You can also see beautiful photos of the lavender farm — used for a Lands’ End catalog shoot — featured in the piece for which John was interviewed  here.

And finally, another story from the Investment Guide that relays smart investment strategies that help both you and your family is “Become A Family VC: How To Capitalize On Your Kid’s Or Cousin’s Business.”

The 2012 Forbes Investment Guide is definitely worth the read.