TaxConnections


 

President Trump’s 2017 Disaster Tax Relief Bill

John Stancil, Tax Advisor

At long last, Congress and President Trump have given us a tax bill that provides some real relief for taxpayers impacted by this year’s hurricanes. The “Disaster Relief and Airport and Airport Extension Act of 2017” was signed by the President on September 29.

Although it deals with issues beyond hurricane relief, those issues are not the focus of this article and will not be discussed here. And there are some provisions relating to hurricane disaster losses that do not have widespread application and will not be discussed here.

There are four important segments to the hurricane relief granted by this act.

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Getting Ready For Retirement: It’s More Than Just Money!

Lisa Nason, Tax Advisor

Many of our clients talk to us about setting up retirement plans, contributing to retirement plans, and focusing on the monetary aspects of retirement. But what they don’t do is spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for the nonfinancial aspects of their retirement; they don’t realize it’s the biggest transition they’ll ever go through.

The consequences of not planning can include sitting around with growing boredom. Retirees watch TV an average of 43.5 hours a week, according to Age Wave 2012, and lack of stimulation can be associated with higher risks of alcoholism or depression. Read More

Italy Implemented The IV Anti-Money Laundering Directive

Marco Rossi, Tax Advisor

With the Legislative Decree n. 90 of May 25, 2017, published on June 19, 2017 Italy finally adopted and transposed into its own legal system the EU Directive 2015/849, usually referred to as the “IV Anti Money Laundering Directive”.

One area that attracts particular attention concerns the new reporting rules applicable to trusts.

Article 21, paragraph 3 of Decree n. 90 provides that “trusts producing juridical effects relevant for tax purposes, in accordance with article 73 of the Presidential Decree n. 917 of January 22, 1986, shall be registered with a special section of the Register of Enterprises”.

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Another Nail In The Foreign Asset Protection Trust Structure

Hale Stewart, Tax Advisor

This is the fifth entry in my series on foreign asset protection trust failures. It shares a number of facts with the other cases. These are:

  • A less than savory character. Bilzerian was convicted of securities fraud.
  • A lengthy legal process. This August 2000 decision was the last in a series of hearings and trials that started in the early 1990s.
  • An offshore asset protection scheme: The taxpayer had a Cook Island trust.
  • Fraudulent Transfer issues: Bilzerian established and funded the trust during the trial.
  • The taxpayer argued the court couldn’t hold him in contempt because it was impossible to comply with the court’s disgorgement order.

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Highlights Of The Latest Republican Tax Reform Plan

President Trump unveiled his latest framework for tax reform, which stems from a collaborative effort by the so-called “Big Six,” which includes members of the Trump administration and Senate and House leaders.

The following is a quick summary of some of the main provisions of the plan, which have potential consequences for U.S. expat individuals: Read More

Tax Reform Framework Observations

On September 27, the “Big 6″* released their tax reform framework. It doesn’t add much more than we have known for the past 16 months other than:

  • Top corporate rate is 20% rather than President Trump’s 15%. The 20% rate should help us be more competitive internationally, particularly along with a shift from a worldwide system to a territorial one (15% would be better, other than for the budget effect).
  • The individual brackets will be 12%, 25% and 35% and perhaps something higher than 35%. In April, President Trump suggested 10%, 25% and 35% while last June the House Republicans suggested 12%, 25% and 33%. Today’s lowest bracket (other than zero) is 10%. Seems odd to try to sell tax cuts with a higher lowest rate, but the effect also depends on where the brackets start and end and a few other provisions.

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IRS Budget Cuts Results In Fewer Criminal Tax Investigations

Criminal investigations by the IRS reached their lowest levels over the past five years last year because of a reduction in IRS resources, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The office said there were “unfavorable trends” in criminal investigations of businesses due to declining resources, like budget challenges, which resulted in attrition of field special agents, in a report on trends over the past five years that the office made public on September 18, 2017. Read More

IRS Ransomware Scam – Keep Taxpayers Safe

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new scheme targeting taxpayers. The scheme, which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called “a new twist on an old scheme” involves a bogus email which impersonates the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. The email urges recipients to click on a link to download a questionnaire allegedly from the FBI. The email implies that the questionnaire is required as part of changes in the law focused on tax compliance. The regs referenced in the email are bogus, and the link doesn’t click through to a questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads ransomware. Read More

Reminder To CA Manufacturers: Sales Tax Exemption!

Remember when the California Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption first came into fruition, on July 1, 2014? It seems like so long ago. But maybe it’s a good time to remind companies about this useful partial exemption available to manufacturing companies.

What exactly is this exemption?

It allows certain manufacturers and biotech companies to exempt a portion of California sales and use tax on purchases of qualified equipment used in manufacturing and R&D (research and development). Read More

Did Harvey Wash Away Years Of Unfiled Tax Info?

Hurricane Harvey has been devastating for many Texans. It could prove to be even more devastating if you haven’t filed your income tax returns in several years and you lost your important papers during the storm.

Even if Harvey wiped out your important papers, your tax filing delinquency will not be forgotten by the IRS. Read More

Who Should Get A Rate Cut In Tax Reform?

Annette Nellen

For the past few years, the focus of federal tax reform has been on reducing the corporate statutory rate from 35% down to 25% (H.R. 1 (113rd Congress, Camp)), 20% (House Republican blueprint of June 2016) or 15% (Trump 1-pager). The rationale for a corporate rate cut is that ever since we last reduced the top corporate rate from 46% to 34% with the Tax Reform Act of 1986, other industrialized countries did the same (in 1993 the rate was increased to 35%). You can see from this OECD data that most countries have a lower rate, although France is at 34.43%. Read More

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