Category Archives: Tax Planning

Strategies to Pass on Wealth to Heirs

Strategies to Pass on Wealth to Heirs

Strategies to Pass Wealth to Heirs Individuals with significant assets should take advantage of proven tax strategies such as gifting and direct payments to educational institutions to transfer wealth to heirs tax-free, as well as minimize estate taxes. Additional opportunities are available as well, thanks to low interest rates and a volatile stock market.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Gifting

The annual gift tax exclusion provides a simple, effective way of cutting estate taxes and shifting income to heirs. For example, in 2021, you can make annual gifts of up to $15,000 ($30,000 for a married couple) to as many donees as you desire. The $15,000 is excluded from the federal gift tax so that you will not incur gift tax liability. Furthermore, each $15,000 you give away during your lifetime reduces your estate for federal estate tax purposes. However, any amounts above this limit will reduce an individual’s federal lifetime exemption and require filing a gift tax return.

Direct Payments

Direct payments for medical or educational purposes indirectly shift income to heirs; however, it only works if the payments are made directly to the qualifying educational institution or medical provider. This strategy allows you to give more than the annual gifting limit of $15,000 per donee. For example, if you’re a grandparent, you can pay tuition directly to your grandchild’s boarding school, college, or university. Room and board, books, supplies, or other nontuition expenses are not covered. Similarly, they can make direct payments to a hospital or medical provider, but medical expenses reimbursed by insurance are not covered, however.

Loans to Family Members

This strategy works by loaning cash to family members at low interest rates, which is then invested with the goal of reaping significant profits down the road. With mid and long-term applicable federal rates (AFR) rates for October 2021, as low as 0.91 and 1.72 percent, respectively, heirs can lock in these rates for many years – three to nine years (mid-term) and nine to more than 20 years (long-term).

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

Another relatively low-risk strategy is the grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT), where the donor transfers assets to an irrevocable trust and receives an annuity payment back from the trust each year. This strategy enables heirs to profit from their investments long-term if returns are higher than the IRS interest rate. Now that IRS interest rates are so low, this is easier than ever to do. In October 2021, the interest rate used to value certain charitable interests in trusts such as the GRAT is 1.00 percent.

Roth IRA Conversions

Contributions to a traditional IRA are made pre-tax, which means distributions are considered taxable income; however, the tax is paid upfront with a Roth IRA, and distributions are completely exempt from income tax. This feature makes converting a traditional IRA to Roth IRA and rolling it over to an heir an attractive option, especially during a financial crisis. The conversion is treated as a rollover where the trustee of the traditional IRA is directed to transfer an amount from the traditional IRA to the trustee of the Roth IRA. The account owner pays income tax on the amount rolled over in the year the account is converted, which allows the account to accumulate assets tax-free and future distributions are tax-free.

To learn more about these and other tax strategies related to wealth management, please call Lahrmer & Company LLC at (866) 474-1238 or email office@lahrmercpa.com and speak to a tax professional who can assist you.

Verifying Your Identity When Calling The IRS

 

Verifying identity when calling the IRSSometimes, taxpayers need to call the IRS about a tax matter. If this is the case, they should know that IRS phone assistors take great care to only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. As such, the IRS will ask taxpayers and tax professionals to verify their identity when they call.

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Six Things To Know Before You Start a Business

Tips for starting a businessStarting your own business is an exciting prospect, but there is more to it than simply writing a business plan. Understanding the tax responsibilities of starting a business venture can save taxpayers money and help set them up for success. That’s where a tax professional can help. Here is what you need to know before you start a new business:

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Retirement options

Retirement Plan Options For Small Businesses

Retirement options for small businessAccording to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses employ half of all private-sector employees in the United States. However, a majority of small businesses do not offer their workers retirement savings benefits.

If you’re like many other small business owners in the United States, you may be considering the various retirement plan options available for your company.

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Opt out of Child Tax Credit

Opting Out of the Monthly Child Tax Credit Payment

Child Tax Credit for 2021Thanks to the advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, approximately 60 million children received $15 billion in July, according to the Department of Treasury and the IRS. While many of these families will benefit from the extra money deposited into their bank accounts, some families may want to opt-out and instead take the credit when they file their tax return next spring.

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tax credits for families

Advance Child Tax Credit Payments Start This Month

child tax credit informationThe Internal Revenue Service has started sending letters to more than 36 million American families who, based on tax returns filed with the agency, may be eligible to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments starting July 15, 2021. Here’s what families need to know: Continue reading

make a tax payment

What are Estimated Tax Payments?

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, and rent and gains from the sale of assets, prizes, and awards. You also may have to pay an estimated tax if the amount of income tax being withheld from your salary, pension, or other income is not enough. Here’s what you should know about estimated tax payments: Continue reading

expat compliance for US

Expat Compliance With U.S. Tax Filing Obligations

expat complianceTaxpayers who relinquish citizenship without complying with their U.S. tax obligations are subject to the significant tax consequences of the U.S. expatriation tax regime. If you’re an expat who has relinquished–or intends to relinquish–your U.S. citizenship but still has U.S. tax filing obligations (including owing back taxes), you’ll be relieved to know there are IRS procedures in place that allow you to come into compliance and receive relief for any back taxes owed. Let’s take a look: Continue reading