Sunday, February 28, 2016

Estate Planning Today

According to the Wall Street Journal, many families are moving their estate planning focus away from avoiding estate taxes, to minimizing their capital gains tax burdens. Nowadays the federal estate tax is not the biggest worry for affluent people who would like to avoid paying taxes when their heirs inherit their wealth.

This is in contrast to how it was during the past ten years. Back in 2004, those with over $1.5 million in assets wishing to pass on their wealth after death, or who made gifts above that limit during their lifetimes, had to pay taxes at the top rate which was close to 50 percent. Married couples were forced to set up trust funds in order to benefit from the full $3 million exemption they were entitled to.

Adding to the complexity of planning was the fact that the tax burden kept changing every year. In fact, in 2010 the tax was completely gone, making it extremely difficult to plan for the future.

Last year Congress changed the estate tax law. Today the top estate-and-gift tax rate is set at a maximum of 40 percent and the exemption was changed to $5 million, with adjustments to take into account inflation, so that today’s exemption comes to $5.34 million. In addition, couples do not need to set up trusts to get the full benefit they are entitled to.

Now that individuals do not have to be so concerned with estate taxes, they can reap meaningful tax savings on capital gains by choosing smartly which assets to hold until death.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Louis Kreisberg and the Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness, with CEO Louis Kreisberg, has taken on the urgent mission of supporting the research into the causes of blindness and its prevention, treatments and also cures.
On the list of causes of blindness are retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and other diseases which cause the retina to degenerate.

Here are some facts about retinal degenerative diseases which can lead to blindness:
·       Blinding diseases affect people of all ages and races. Over ten million Americans suffer vision loss from these diseases.
·        Retinitis Pigmentosa and Usher syndrome are genetic diseases which are inherited and usually diagnosed during childhood or young adulthood.
  •   RP is the cause of serious vision loss which leads to legal and/or total blindness.
  •  Children who are born with Usher syndrome are born with varying degrees of deafness. They develop RP later.
  •  Age related macular degeneration has inherited risks. It is characterized by increasing loss of central vision.
  • The foremost cause of blindness in adults over 55 years old in the US is AMD.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Changing New York Tax Laws

Tax laws in America are very complicated.  And they differ from state to state.  And then they change.  Having a tax consultant therefore, makes the process a lot easier.  It is important that that tax expert specializes in the state where one has their money.

Louis Kreisberg – a Principal at Pioneer Wealth Partners – is one such individual who is equipped to offer consultation on this subject matter.  With offices in Seattle, Chicago and New York, Pioneer can offer clients expert consultation on business, estate planning, tax and more.

Last year, as part of the 2015-16 Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo made several changes to the New York State estate tax law. It was pretty complicated.  For example, estate tax exclusion was elevated by the 2014 legislation from $1 million to $2,062,500 for those who passed away between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015; to $3,125,000 for individuals dying between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016; to $4,187,500 for individuals dying between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017; and to $5,250,000 for individuals dying between April 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018.

At the beginning of this year, things changed again.  As pointed out in a recent article byconsultants at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP:

“On January 13, 2016 the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) requiring reporting by title insurance companies and their subsidiaries and agents on certain high-value real estate transactions starting on March 1, 2016. The GTOs require reporting on “all-cash” residential real estate deals made through shell companies in Miami Dade County, Florida and the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. The reporting is temporary, lasting for 180 days beginning March 1, 2016 and continuing until August 27, 2016 (unless extended).”

Clearly the above data from last year and this, shows the law is complex and subject to regular amendments.  Having a tax expert in New York, like Louis Kreisberg, can ease the pressure of keeping up with these laws.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Navigating Tax Laws

Tax laws often concern business people who lack extensive fiscal understanding. Right now, this is particularly worrying since it is tax season again in the US.  According to arecent article in My North West, this fear actually translates into tens of thousands of Americans avoiding tax filing, resulting in an IRS estimated almost $1 billion unclaimed refunds, just for 2012.

So what is the solution?  If there are refunds to be had, and one is not in the tax-know as it were, what should the next step be?  One idea is to contact a tax consultant in their area. In Washington for example, the above article estimated that half of the refunds are for $700+. People such as Louis Kreisberg of Pioneer Wealth Partners, Greg Boots of Anderson Advisors and Thuy Nguyen of H& R Block are just some of the consultants that offer services in this area.  Along with his team at Pioneer Wealth Partners, Kreisberg offers investment advice, tax and estate planning services and more to his clients, helping them navigate an array of fiscal adversities. They can help these people remove the fear of tax return filing for those concerned they owe money to the IRS.

Then of course there are the companies which are avoiding their taxes. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, companies were able to avoid up to $695 billion due to the fact that they are not bringing the profits they earned overseas back home.  This is because America – at a figure of 35 percent – imposes the highest tax rate in the developed world.

So when it comes to individuals potentially getting a tax refund, it is worth consulting those in the know to have this happen.