Basic Steps to Avoiding Probate

As many of you know that follow this blog my father recently passed away and I’ve been called upon to settle his financial affairs. My biggest fear is probate and after studying the tax code I have grown to be of the opinion that it is best to be avoided when possible. This short post on the…

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American Taxpayer Relief Act 2012

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 makes permanent many otherwise expiring tax provisions. The following is my summary of what I believe to be relevant provisions: Ordinary income above a certain threshold is taxed at a higher rate. The thresholds are: taxable income of $400,000 (for an unmarried taxpayer), $425,000 (for a head of…

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Gift Tax on Transferred Real Estate

The person or entity transferring a property has a capital gain to the extent that the amount realized exceeds the adjusted basis of the property. However according to Reg § 1.1001-1(e) no loss is allowed on a transfer that is part sale and part gift, if the amount received is less than the adjusted basis. For…

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Tax Treatment of Charitably Donated Artwork

Please refer to IRC 170 as well as Publication 526, Charitable Contributions (PDF), Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property (PDF), and Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements (PDF) for detailed information on charitable contributions. This is what I’ve learned about issues involving charitable contributions of artwork that tax examiners focus on: 1. The charitable contribution deduction for artwork by Art…

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IRS Statistics of Sole Proprietor Income

Approximately 22.7 million individual income tax returns reported non-farm sole proprietorship profits of $244.8 billion for tax year 2009 according to the recently released Statistics of Income Quarterly Report.  Check it out here -> Summer 2011 Some other points worth noting in my opinion include: 1. For tax year 2008, almost 67,000 foreign-controlled domestic corporations…

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Simple Trusts – Basic Observations

For tax purposes a Simple Trust requires that all income generated by the trust be distributed each year to the trust’s beneficiaries.  Even if a trust distributes all its income every year this alone does not necessarily make it a simple trust though. Understanding the trust document is important.  If all income is not distributed…

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Sale Leaseback

From a tax perspective the fundamental issue is whether a legitimate business purpose exists for the formation of a distinct entity to do a sale leaseback. If one exists and this is pursued all elements of the transaction should meet an arms length standard and be at fair market value. For a sale-leaseback, the business…

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