2011 Posts

  • Are You Required to Support Your Parents?

    Much to my surprise, I recently became aware of the following North Carolina law: § 14 326.1. Parents; failure to support. If any person being of full age, and having sufficient income after reasonably providing for his or her own immediate family shall, without reasonable cause, neglect to maintain and support his or her parent or parents, ...
  • How to Draft IRA Trusts – Teleconference

    Attorneys interested in learning more about IRA Trusts may wish to sign up for my 90 minute teleconference, How to Draft IRA Trusts, to be held on January 27, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The program may also be of interest to CPAs, financial planners and trust officers....
  • Tax Provisions Expiring December 31, 2011

    There a few federal income tax deductions and other provisions that expire this year: Tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes - Taxpayers who were at least age 70½ could make tax-free charitable distributions from an IRA up to $100,000....
  • IRS Requests Comments on Trust Decanting

    The IRS is requesting comments on the tax implications of trust "decanting," which refers to transfers by a trustee of all or a portion of the principal of an irrevocable trust to another irrevocable trust. ...
  • Duke’s OLLI Program to Offer Retirement Course in 2012

    Local Financial Planner Janet Ramsey, MBA, CFP will be offering a course entitled To the Health of Your Wealth as part of Duke University’s OLLI program. ...
  • Tax Information for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad

    U.S. citizens must report and pay taxes on their world-wide income, even if living in another country. U.S. taxpayers are also required to disclose foreign bank and financial accounts (FBARs). It’s important to know and follow the rules in order to avoid civil and criminal penalties....
  • Estate Planning and Probate Seminar for Paralegals

    North Carolina legal assistants working with estate lawyers may be interested in a day-long seminar, Estate Planning and Probate Practice for Paralegals, to be held in Chapel Hill on January 25, 2012. I will be presenting the portion on Assisting with Guardianships....
  • Estate Tax Foe added to “Super Committee”

    Arizona Senator Jon Kyl will join the bipartisan Congressional super committee, which has the task of cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget in the next decade. Kyl is a staunch opponent of the estate tax, and his appointment to the committee makes any movement toward a decrease in the current $5 million exemption or increase in the 35% rate unlikely. Democrats have called for the rate to increase to 45%....
  • Estate and Gift Tax Bill Introduced in House

    On November 17, 2011, Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced HR 3467, the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011”. Along with changes to the estate tax, the bill includes many of Obama’s 2012 Fiscal Year Proposals with regard to gift and GST taxes. The bill includes the following:...
  • Four Common Estate Planning Mistakes

    The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recently published an informative article entitled Four Estate Planning Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them). Although the article is geared toward CPAs for counseling their clients, I recommend it as reading for all, as I see these problems everyday. The four mistakes featured are: ...
  • Death Taxes – Worst States to Die In

    Here are the states with an estate and or inheritance tax, ranked from approximate highest to lowest tax burden (North Carolina has the distinction of being the best of the worst):...
  • Democrats to Introduce Bill to Lower Estate Tax Exemption to $1 Million

    This news courtesy of Financial Advisor Nat Harris (emphasis added): House Democrats plan to introduce a bill today to extend and overhaul the estate tax beyond 2012 in the opening salvo of what is likely to be a long and politically-charged debate next year....
  • 2011 NC Senior Fraud Booklet

    The 2011 Consumer Scams and Fraud booklet issued by the North Carolina Attorney General is now available. It is geared to increase awareness of and prevent fraud against seniors. ...
  • Annual SSA Earnings/Benefit Statements Ceased

    In the past, each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed a statement to all workers age 25 and older who were not receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The statement listed a worker’s earnings record along with estimated benefit amounts at various retirement ages. ...
  • U.S. Citizens Living in U.K. Get Credit for Non-Domicile Fee

    The IRS recently issued guidance that U.S. taxpayers living in the United Kingdom can get a credit against their U.S. income tax taxes for the GBP30,000 non-domicile charge. Rev. Rul. 2011-19. See also this article in the STEP Journal....
  • 12 Scary Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

    It’s Halloween, and tonight kids of all ages will be dressed in an assortment of costumes, many designed to frighten. What frightens an estate planner? Here are a dozen examples of scary planning (or lack thereof) with regard to life insurance and retirement plan beneficiaries:...
  • The Jolly Testator

    Written by Lord Neaves centuries ago, but true to this day: Ye lawyers who live upon litigants’ fees, And who need a good many to live at your ease, ...
  • SECU – Estate Planning Friend or Foe?

    The North Carolina State Employees Credit Union has a relatively new program called Estate Planning Essentials. Members of SECU are offered "estate plans" for $250, or $350 for married couples. The program description states that "[A] slate of experienced estate planning attorneys has been identified who have agreed to prepare these documents at a set price for Credit Union members." ...
  • Do you know the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

    Alzheimer’s disease has really been on my radar these days. Now, I know I’m an elder law attorney, so of course it’s on my radar, but even so, the blips on the radar seem to be coming more frequently lately....
  • 2012 Retirement Account Contribution Limits

    In IR-2011-103, the IRS announced the pension and other retirement account contributions limit. Certain limits are set for below: Qualified Plans:...
  • AK Bankruptcy Court Avoids Transfer to AK DAPT

    In the May 26, 2011 Alaska Bankruptcy Court decision of In re Mortensen, the court avoided a transfer of real property of the debtor to an Alaska Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT). The judge held that under Section 548(3) of the Bankruptcy Code, any transfer to a DAPT for less than full and adequate consideration is,...
  • The Seven Levels of Asset Protection

    Today I participated in a teleconference on Asset Protection Planning. Although the program was a bit basic for me, speaker Carl Waldman. Esq. included a helpful chart of the Levels of Asset Protection, which I have expanded on here:...
  • National Estate Planning Awareness Week

    October 17-23 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Most people are woefully unaware of the importance and benefits of estate planning. Even if you have implemented a comprehensive, up-to-date plan, chances are your family members and friends have not. Encourage them to talk to an estate planning attorney about how to protect their loved ones, preserve assets and save taxes. Here’s our Press Release on the topic. ...
  • IRS Provides Guidance for Protective Claim for Estate Tax Refund

    The IRS has just issued Revenue Procedure 2011-48, which provides guidance regarding the filing and subsequent resolution of a protective claim for refund of estate tax that is based on a deduction for a claim or expense under section 2053 of the Internal Revenue Code....
  • Low Rates, Low Values Create Planning Opportunities

    In How Low Rates Can Cut Your Tax Bill, WSJ columnist Laura Saunders reports out that current low interest rates create several advantageous tax planning opportunities: ...
  • LegalZoom Files Suit Against NC State Bar

    The online legal forms provider LegalZoom.com recently filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar in Wake County Superior Court, requesting that a judge rule that the company is entitled to sell standard legal forms on its website and be allowed to register in North Carolina to sell prepaid legal services. See this article on the Raleigh News and Observer website....
  • Nevada Asset Protection Trust Laws Improved

    Nevada’s new Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) laws became effective October 1, 2011. One new feature is the ability to move a DAPT that was established in another state to Nevada without having to start the statute of limitations period over....
  • More on the 2011 Federal Estate Tax Return

    The IRS has released the final instructions for the 2011 United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706), and Guidance on Electing Portability of Deceased Spousal Exclusion Amount (Notice 2011-82)....
  • Health Care Legal Documents Vitally Important

    To help increase awareness of the importance of having up to date health care legal documents (Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and HIPAA Authorization), TrustCounsel is offering all three documents for $50 today and tomorrow (September 29 and 30) to North Carolina residents through OurLocalDeal. ...
  • Parents – Important Tips to Legally Protect Your Kids

    Parents – if something were to happen to you, have you done all that you can to ensure that your children are legally protected? Most parents of young children have not done anything at all, or if they have, the planning is often incomplete or outdated....
  • IRS Releases 2011 Estate Tax Return

    The IRS has now issued the U.S. Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706) and draft instructions for decedents dying in 2011....
  • Democratic Proposals for Revenue Raising

    The proposal from the White House includes: Income surcharge for high income earners – basically a 5% surtax on Adjusted Gross Income in excess of $500,000. Repeal high-income tax cuts in 2012 as opposed to 2013....
  • IRS Offers Filing and Penalty Relief for 2010 Estates

    IR-2011-91 (emphasis added): WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that large estates of people who died in 2010 will have until early next year to file various required returns and pay any estate taxes due. ...
  • Spousal Portability and the Estate Tax After 2010

    The Tax Relief Act of 2010 included a spousal portability provision for the $5 million estate tax exemption. If a married person dies after December 31, 2010 and does not use all of his or her exemption, the unused portion can be transferred to the surviving spouse....
  • NC Homestead Exemption to Increase

    House Bill 1058 – Effective December 1, 2009, an individual resident of North Carolina who is a debtor can retain, free from the enforcement of the claims of creditors, the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $35,000 in value, ...
  • Certain NC Coastal Counties Qualify for IRS Relief

    The IRS has announced that residents of the following North Carolina counties qualify for filing and payment relief due to Hurricane Irene: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell....
  • Bankruptcy Courts Agree – Inherited IRAs Exempt

    With the Texas case of In re Chilton reversed in U.S. District Court, which held that the debtor’s inherited IRA was exempt from the claims of creditors, all bankruptcy courts that have ruled on the issue have determined that inherited IRAs are exempt in bankruptcy. ...
  • IRS Extends Deadline for Offshore Voluntary Disclosure

    Due to Hurricane Fran, the IRS has extended the deadline for the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative for foreign accounts to September 9, 2011. ...
  • President of Building Company Liable for Negligence Despite Acting on Behalf of Company

    The January 2011 North Carolina Court of Appeals case of White v. Collins Bldg., Inc. involved purchasers of beach house who filed a negligence claim against several defendants, including the building company’s president and sole shareholder, Edwin E. Collins, Jr., alleging that he failed to properly supervise the construction of their home, leading to sustained water, window, and plumbing damage....
  • IRS Releases Draft 2010 Estate Tax Return Instructions

    The IRS has released draft instructions for the 2010 Form 706, the U.S. Estate Tax Return. Executors of estates of decedents who died in 2010 between the estate tax, with a $5 million exemption and 35% rate, or the modified carryover basis rules. The modified carryover basis law does not institute a tax, but limits a step up in basis for property acquired from a decedent to $1.3 million, with another $3 million for property passing to a spouse. ...
  • Recording Document Fees

    Effective October 1, 2011, fees for recording documents in North Carolina’s 100 Registers of Deeds will increase: Deeds – $26.00 for up to 15 pages. $4.00 for each additional page....
  • New NC Trusts and Estates Laws

    In the 2011-2012 Session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed several laws affecting estate planning, trusts and probate: S.L. 2011-5 and S.L. 330- The reference to the Internal Revenue Code in G.S. 105-228.90(b)(1b) is changed from May 1, 2010 to January 1, 2011. ...
  • Execution of Promissory Notes and Deeds of Trust is Transfer for Medicaid Purposes

    From today’s NEALA eBulletin: Leola Joyner had been a Medicaid recipient since November 2005. She executed two promissory notes on March 1, 2006, secured by correlating deeds of trust in favor of her son. ...
  • IRS Guidance on 2010 Decedents’ Estates Filings

    The IRS recently issued guidance on the treatment of basis for certain estates of persons who died in 2010. This will assist executors who decide to opt out of the estate tax and have the carryover basis rules apply. Form 8939, the basis allocation form required to be filed by executors opting out of the estate tax, is due November 15, 2011. ...
  • NC – No Estate Tax for 2010

    Good news for beneficiaries of large North Carolina estates of decedents dying in 2010. From the North Carolina Department of Revenue:...
  • IRS Eliminates Innocent Spouse Two Year Limitation

    From IR-2011-80, issued on July 25, 2011: The IRS launched a thorough review of the equitable relief provisions of the innocent spouse program earlier this year. Policy and program changes with respect to that review will become fully operational in the fall and additional guidance will be forthcoming. However, with respect to expanding the availability of equitable relief:...
  • Estate Planning Checklist

    Here’s a test every adult should take – it’s not hard, but the consequences of failing can be serious:...
  • Filing Fees for NC Estates Increase

    Effective July 1, 2011, the fee to open an estate proceeding in North Carolina is now $120. This includes Trusts under Wills and Affidavits for Collection of Personal Property. Special Proceedings are also now $120. Click here for the Estates Court Costs Chart. ...
  • NC 529 Plan Income Tax Deduction Continues

    The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed legislation that preserves the deduction on NC 529 College Savings Plan contributions for all North Carolina taxpayers, regardless of income. ...
  • Today is the Deadline for Foreign Account Reporting

    From IR-2011-70: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminds everyone who has a bank or other financial account in a foreign country, or who has signature authority over such an account, that they may be required to report the account to the U.S. Department of the Treasury by June 30 each year....
  • Summary of Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal for Estate and Gift Taxes

    A June 22, 2011article on Trusts and Estates magazine’s website contains a nice summary of President Obama’s budget proposal measures effecting estate planning. ...
  • 4th Circuit Upholds Two-Year Innocent Spouse Limitation Period

    The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, under whose jurisdiction North Carolina falls, overruled a Tax Court decision and upheld a Treasury regulation that provides for a two-year statute of limitation on claims for innocent spouse relief...
  • How to Avoid Investment Fraud

    As an estate planning attorney and Certified Financial Planner, much of what I do is help people protect and grow their assets. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to do the opposite – con artists who try to take others’ hard earned money by committing investment fraud. ...
  • Tax Implications of Sale of Residence Upon Divorce

    For many people, the federal home sale gain exclusion is the single most valuable tax break available. But if you’re getting divorced and selling a home, you may need to plan ahead to take advantage of the tax break. We’ll explain why, but first, here’s a little background information....
  • IRS Mileage Rate Increased to 55.5 Cents per Mile

    From Announcement 2011-40: WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rates for the final six months of 2011. Taxpayers may use the optional standard rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and other purposes. ...
  • You’ve Got to Watch Those Taxing Authorities

    Recently I blogged about a client who had received a threatening letter from the IRS. She had me investigate, and it turns out it was a mistake. I have also known the North Carolina Department of Revenue to make errors and cause undue delay. I’m experiencing this personally right now – I filed an amended 2009 corporate return in January and have not received the refund....
  • An Apology from the IRS!

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  • Congress Starts on Estate Tax Debate

    The federal estate tax exemption is currently set at $5 million ($10 million for married couples), with a 35% rate. This law is set to expire on December 31, 2012, with the exemption reverting to $1 million (and a 55% rate) on January 1, 2013....
  • NC Court Costs May Increase

    If the pending appropriations bill in the North Carolina General Assembly passes and is signed into law by Governor Perdue, the filing fee for estates will increase to $120 effective July 1, 2011.  ...
  • IRS Offers Tips for Protecting Documents from Disaster

    Here in North Carolina we know all to well that disasters can strike at any time. In this YouTube video, the IRS provides guidance for protecting tax and other important documents from natural disasters. ...
  • CCRC Residents Should Consider Liability Insurance

    Even for those who don’t have umbrella liability insurance coverage, homeowners insurance policies normally provide general liability coverage. This insurance will help protect your assets if a guest is injured in your home or your dog bites someone, for example....
  • Separate Accounts for Your IRA Will Help the Beneficiaries

    The distribution rules for inherited IRAs generally make it advantageous to have separate accounts, which can be done during your lifetime or by December 31 of the year following your death. ...
  • Veterans Administration Does Not Recognize State Guardians

    I’ve been at the North Carolina Guardianship Association conference for the last couple of days. One issue that I never really gave much thought to is that the Veterans Administration, as a federal agency, does not recognize state guardianships. ...
  • 10 Most Overlooked Issues in Estate Planning

    A couple of days ago I blogged about the dangers of bad estate planning, and presented a hierarchy of worst to best ways to plan. Today I’m providing a list of 10 of the most overlooked issues in estate planning (things that frequently aren’t dealt with in lesser methods of planning). ...
  • IRS Issues Interim Guidance on Fiduciary Fee Treatment re 2% Floor

    The IRS has issued interim guidance on the treatment under Code Section 67 of investment advisory costs and other expenses subject to the 2-percent floor under Section 67(a). Notice 2011-37....
  • Hierarchy of Estate Planning

    I have seen plenty of bad estate planning planning in my 23 years of practice. The pitfalls are many – I will list them in my next post. Here’s my list of the hierarchy of estate planning, from worst to best (and I have seen them all!):...
  • Additional NC Counties added to Tax Relief List

    On April 22, 2011, I posted an IRS Notice about a tax relief program for victims of the April 16, 2011 storms in North Carolina. As of May 9, 2011, residents who live in or own a business in the following counties are eligible:...
  • The State of State Estate Taxes

    The majority of states no longer have an estate tax, but North Carolina is not one of them. Hungry for revenue, some states, such as Connecticut, are trying to lower the tax threshold. ...
  • Tax Breaks for Supporting a Parent

    Taking care of an elderly parent may provide more than just personal satisfaction. You could also be entitled to substantial tax deductions even if your parent doesn’t live with you....
  • A Funny Question to Ask a Lawyer

    My blog has a function that allows readers to comment on a post. In the vast majority of cases, however, the comments are actually questions by those trying to avoid having to pay a lawyer to assist or advise them. ...
  • Southern Gun Law Group

    http://www.southerngunlawgroup...
  • NFA Gun Trusts in North Carolina

    North Carolina residents who want to own certain weapons regulated by the National Firearms Act should consider the advantages of an NFA Gun Trust specifically designed for use in North Carolina. From NorthCarolinaGunTrustLawyer.com:...
  • Why You Might Not Want a Simple Estate Plan

    Many people come in to see me with the notion that all that they need and want is a "simple" estate plan. Generally that means no living trust, and a will with no trust provisions for surviving family members. ...
  • IRS Announces Tax Filing Relief for NC Victims of April 16 Storms

    From NC-2011-20, April 20, 2011: GREENSBORO — Victims of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding on April 16, 2011 in parts of North Carolina may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service....
  • National Health Care Decisions Day

    Today is National Health Care Decisions Day. Take charge of your future – talk to family, your doctor and your estate planning attorney about your wishes. ...
  • Company Buy-Sell Agreements – Plan Ahead

    One estate planning tool that can protect your family and partners is a buy-sell agreement. This legal document gives owners the first chance to buy an interest in the company if another owner pulls out or dies. ...
  • IRS Warns of 12 Current Tax Scams

    WASHINGTON –– Hiding income in offshore accounts, identity theft, return preparer fraud, and filing false or misleading tax forms top the annual list of “dirty dozen” tax scams in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service announced today....
  • IRS Extends Deadline for Carryover Basis Form for 2010 Estates

    The IRS is extending the filing deadline of Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis of Property Acquired from a Decedent, which must be submitted to determine the new basis of assets in 2010 estates that opt out of the federal estate tax....
  • NC Supreme Court Decision Kinlaw V. Harris IRA Exemption Case

    I previously blogged about the ruling by the North Carolina Court of Appeals that in addition to IRA accounts being exempt from creditors, distributions from IRAs were also exempt. On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that “there may be some circumstances under which withdrawn funds are no longer exempt from execution.” ...
  • Texas Court Rules Inherited IRA Protected in Bankruptcy

    In a ruling entered on March 16, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in Chilton v. Moser (2011, DC TX) 2011 WL 938310, reversed the bankruptcy court and held that a debtor’s inherited IRA met the requirements for a bankruptcy exemption under Bankruptcy Code §522(d)(12)....
  • Planning Tips for Clients with Chronic Illness

    Yesterday I attended a presentation by attorney Martin Shenkman, whose wife has multiple sclerosis – he regularly speaks on planning for those with chronic illness. He offered the use of his materials to the attendees, and this is one of his memos: ...
  • Missed Your IRA Rollver Deadline? All May Not be Lost

    The IRS is often accused of being heartless, but it does show some compassion to taxpayers who cannot complete an IRA rollover within the deadline because of extenuating circumstances. ...
  • Decision Time is Here if You Did a Roth IRA Conversion in 2010

    The rule that made higher-income folks ineligible for Roth IRA conversions expired at the end of 2009. That made 2010 a big year for conversions, because even billionaires could make the transactions. ...
  • Health Care Reform – How it Will Affect Our Taxes

    Health care reform doesn’t come cheap. How do we pay for it? More and increased taxes, of course, both this year and in future years, along with certain credits for health insurance premium costs. This is an outline of the many tax law changes as a result of the new health care laws, organized by affected parties and implementation date:...
  • 10 Estate Planning DONT’s

    From a presentation I gave last week for Duke University’s OLLI program’s course on retirement and wealth management, here are 10 things NOT to do in terms of estate planning:...
  • Long-Term Care Planning for Your Senior Life

    Many senior citizens freely admit that they fear growing older more than they fear death. The prospect of becoming increasingly frail and dependent in a society which worships strength and self-reliance, and of losing family and lifetime friends can understandably make the specter of old age a frightening one. ...
  • IRS Says Beware of Frivolous Tax Arguments

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2011 version of its discussion and rebuttal of many of the more common frivolous arguments made by individuals and groups that oppose compliance with federal tax laws....
  • Veterans Victory in the Supreme Court

    David Henderson was a Korean War veteran. He was discharged from active duty in 1952 due to paranoid schizophrenia. In 1992, the VA gave him a 100% disability rating, and in 2001 (while living in North Carolina) ...
  • Powers of Attorney “Die” Along With the Principal

    General ("financial") Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOAs) are very useful documents that every competent adult should have. DPOAs can be used to manage one’s property and affairs in the event of incompetency, avoiding the need for a court proceeding to determine incompetency and appoint a guardian. ...
  • Reverse Mortgages – the Impact on Older Homeowners

    From a recent AARP report: reverse mortgages offer older homeowners a way to tap home equity to meet financial needs in retirement. However, the collapse of the mortgage market in 2008–2009 has led to major changes that impact consumer choices. ...
  • Durable Powers of Attorney Don’t Allow You to Control Trusts

    A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a part of virtually every estate plan. The DPOA allows the person who signed the document, the principal, to designate an agent, or attorney-in-fact, who will act in his or her stead. ...
  • Estate Taxes: The Worst States in Which to Die

    Here’s a recent marketwatch.com article on State Estate and Inheritance Taxes, and the various exemption amounts for each state. A majority of states, including Florida, have no state estate or inheritance taxes, and a couple of others effectively have the same $5 million exemption as the federal estate tax. ...
  • Best Nursing Homes in North Carolina

    The U.S. News and World Report has issued a report on the best nursing homes in America. From the website: "All of the homes shown received 5 stars, the highest overall rating, from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ...
  • Depictions of “Reading of the Will” are an Anachronism

    Modern day movies and television commercials (including a recent one by DirecTV) sometimes feature a lawyer reading the will of a deceased testator to his family. Occasionally I even get questions about the ceremony. ...
  • Life Insurance to Pay a Future Bill

    Second-to-die insurance is traditionally purchased by affluent married couples.How it works: The insurance proceeds are paid out upon the death of the second spouse when the funds are often needed to pay taxes....
  • Am I Ready to Die?

    I’m at home today, sick with the flu. Last night was rough, fever, chills, cough, and inability to sleep, but I feel a bit better right now. However, during the worst of the night, a thought came to mind that it might actually be a relief if my mortal existence ended. ...
  • IRS Offers 2nd Voluntary Disclosure Initiative for Offshore Assets

    Today the IRS announced a new special voluntary disclosure initiative designed to bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system and help people with undisclosed income from hidden offshore accounts get current with their taxes. The initiative is available through Aug. 31, 2011....
  • Tax Law Changes in Obama’s Proposed 2012 Budget

    Thanks to Keebler and Associates, LLP, CPAs for portions of this summary: Limit the tax rate that certain individuals will get a benefit for their itemized deductions - For investors filing joint returns and having income over $250,000 itemized deductions would only reduce the investor’s tax liability by a maximum of 28%. ...
  • Estate Tax Claw Back – Don’t Worry About It, Says AALU

    Since the enactment of TRA 2010 in December of last year, tax practitioners have been concerned that gifts made during 2011 and 2012 may, partially because of the way in which the current Federal Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return (Form 706) ...
  • Keeping Your Personal Financial Information Safe Online

    From guest author Aaron Huber: Whether you’re keep your money in a conventional financial institution or in an internet based bank without a physical location, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re doing business with a reputable organization and that your money deposited is federally insured. ...
  • North Carolina Senior Helpline

    Legal Aid of North Carolina has a Senior Legal Helpline for citizens age 60 and older. The toll-free number is 1-877-579-7562. Intake hours for new callers are 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Matters covered include Housing Law, Consumer Law, Employment Law, Pubic Benefits, Alternatives to Guardianship and Wills....
  • NC 2011 Tax Return Due Date April 18

    From the North Carolina Department of Revenue: Taxpayers across the nation will have until April 18, 2011, to file 2010 federal returns, extensions, and payments that ordinarily would be due April 15, 2011. The extra time is provided because April 15 falls on Emancipation day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia....
  • 10 Tips from a Tax Lawyer for 2010 and 2011

    Last week I was interviewed regarding income and estate taxes in 2010 and 2011 offering tips and insights based on what I see in my practice. Click here for the text and the podcast. ...
  • You Need a Power of Attorney

    Giving someone your power of attorney (POA) has been likened to giving a trusted person a spare set of keys to your house or car. If a problem arises — for example, you lose your keys — your interests are protected. ...
  • More on Estate Tax – for 2010, 2011 and 2012

    "Nothing is certain but death and taxes," Benjamin Franklin famously said. In the last decade, another occurrence has been certain: The federal estate tax keeps changing. The tax cut legislation passed recently establishes new estate and gift tax rules for this year, next year and last year. ...
  • Obsessed with Taxes – Get the IRS Smart Phone App!

    IRS Launches the IRS2Go App for iPhone, Android; To Check Refunds, Get Tax Information Video: IRS2Go: English WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today unveiled IRS2Go, its first smartphone application that lets taxpayers check on their status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information....
  • RA Charitable Rollover is Back

    There’s good news if you’ve reached age 70 1/2, and you have an IRA and philanthropic inclinations. Through 2011, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 resurrected the opportunity to make cash donations to IRS-approved charities directly out of your IRA....
  • Organ Donation in North Carolina

    Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you know how to become one? There are three ways to become a donor: 1. Request that a heart be placed on your driver’s license at the DMV. ...
  • No more “Do-Over” Strategy for Social Security Retirement Benefits

    On December 8, 2010, the Social Security Administration published a new rule eliminating the “do-over” strategy some retirees were using to boost their retirement benefits. The new rule went into effect immediately....
  • Don’t Pay more than 24.5% Tax on Your Roth Conversion

    Do you think you have to pay income tax on large ($500k++) Roth IRA conversions at the top marginal tax rates? Think again. I have recommend the following strategy to several of my clients. In most cases, you can stay with your current investment manager....
  • Domestic Asset Protection Trusts – What State is Best?

    A dozen states now offer what are called Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs), which allow a trust grantor to shelter trust assets from creditors while retaining the right to distributions from the trust. ...
  • $5 Million Estate Tax Exemption Here to Stay?

    This week I’m attending the University of Miami School of Law Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Most of the speakers so far are of the opinion of that the current federal estate tax exemption will not be decreased in 2013 when TRA 2010 expires....
  • Some Taxpayers Must Wait to File 2010 Federal Returns

    From today’s IRS Newswire: For most taxpayers, the 2011 tax filing season starts on schedule. However, tax law changes enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama in December mean some people need to wait until mid- to late February to file their tax returns in order to give the IRS time to reprogram its processing systems....