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Tax Changes 2019

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With the start of the fourth quarter of 2019 underway, it’s time to see what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will expect of filers for their 2019 taxes. The following are a list of major changes that filers need to be aware of: 1. Removal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Individual Mandate Penalty With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), filers and households who failed to carry adequate health insurance according to the ACA’s minimum coverage requirements will no longer have to pay the penalty on their 2019 taxes. This is because the TCJA lowered the penalty to zero dollars permanently. In previous years, households… Read More

How to Get the IRS to Pre-Approve Your Taxes

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It might seem odd, but it is possible to get the IRS to give you a straight-forward and binding answer to ambiguous tax positions in advance. How does this happen, you ask? The answer is through an IRS private letter ruling. IRS private letter rulings provide many benefits, but they are not easy to obtain. There are costs, potential delays, and even then, you run the risk of not being granted a ruling. This dynamic might seem odd as the entire point of applying for a private letter ruling is to obtain certainty. If your position is weak from a tax law perspective, the government could refuse to rule on… Read More

The Five Key IRS Rules of Taxation for Lawsuit Settlements

The Five Key IRS Rules of Taxation for Lawsuit Settlements thumbnail

Coming out on the winning side of a lawsuit as a plaintiff can be a gratifying feeling, especially if there is a financial settlement involved. There is likely a sense of both relief and vindication. Unfortunately, far too often people are in for a shock when they realize that they must pay taxes on the award. You can even be taxed on your attorney fees! However, a little tax planning can go a long way, especially if you do it before the settlement is finalized and the award is substantial. Below are the five key rules to know so you can make the right move. The Origin of the Claim… Read More

3 Big Tax Issues to Look Out for in Your Estate Plan

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There are three big tax issues that can derail an otherwise well-executed estate plan. These include Family Limited Partnerships, Revocable Trust Swap Powers and Trust Situs. Below we explore the pitfalls with each issue. Fixing FLPs Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) are often created to hold investments or business assets in order to leverage a valuation discount, exert control and provide asset protection. First, to understand the valuation discount, take the example in which an FLP owned a family business valued at $10 million. A straight 25 percent interest in this business would therefore be worth $2.5 million. However, due to valuation discounts for a non-controlling interest that would not be… Read More

Be Smart About Giving to Hurricane Victims

From Texas to Florida, a large swath of the United States was recently slammed with back-to-back hurricanes, leaving flooded streets, damaged buildings and wreckage all around. Huge economic costs will be associated with these hurricanes. Economic Impact AccuWeather President Joel Myers believes the combined costs of the two storms could collectively cost the United States as much as $290 billion. This figure considers a broad range of factors, including business disruptions, higher unemployment, infrastructure damage, crop losses and elevated gas prices. The economic impact will extend and eventually also impact consumer spending, higher prices on items shipped out of Florida and Gulf Coast ports, manufacturing and construction backlogs, as well… Read More