25January
2018
Six Steps to Prevent Trust From Being Betrayed

In order to effectively run a company, senior managers are entrusted with tremendous power and authority. But what if they decide to use it to line their own pockets? Investigations of executive management can be highly contentious and fraught with difficulty. It is imperative that they are conducted with the utmost discretion by highly trained and trustworthy fraud professionals. Of course, the goal is to prevent management fraud from happening in the first place. As part of a concerted effort, consider implementing the following six steps at your organization: 1. Conduct periodic reviews of management overrides. Given the level of…

25January
2018
Understanding Taxes Owed on Traditional IRA Withdrawals

If you own one or more traditional IRAs, you will probably take some withdrawals sooner or later. These withdrawals are “taxable,” but what does that really mean? Here’s what you need to know about withdrawals and taxes. Important: In the context of this article, “withdrawals” means garden-variety payouts from IRAs set up in your name as opposed to the required minimum distributions (RMDs) that you must start taking after age 70 1/2. (RMDs are a whole different subject.) Step 1: How Many Traditional IRAs Do You Have? If you have several traditional IRAs, you must treat them as a single…

25January
2018
Succession Planning: Splitting Up the Pie

Often, the senior generation of a family business goes through the process of choosing one of its offspring as the successor to lead the company in the future. Usually, the chosen successor is given the title of president or CEO. For a period of time, he or she will work under the supervision of the senior family member, who may have founded the business. Eventually, the successor takes over complete operating control of the business. This means that the fate of the future operation of the business is in the chosen sibling’s hands. Do Other Siblings Own Part of the Business? Whether or not…

11January
2018
Setting Up a Special Needs Trust

Medical advances, an aging population, a changing political scene and the increase of conditions such as autism are combining to produce a growing need for a particular type of estate planning tool — the special needs trust. For example, an aging couple whose adult son has severe autism might want a special needs trust because they are worried about how the child will survive after the parents’ deaths. Or a group of siblings may want to set up a special needs trust for their young sister, who is a teenager, but expected to need supervision for the rest of her life….

11January
2018
Save Taxes While Controlling Employee Health Costs

If rising health care costs have sent your company searching for ways to reduce expenses, you should know there are alternatives to standard medical insurance plans. Your choices are not limited to either paying the higher costs yourself or transferring the burden to your employees. Tax-advantaged strategies are available which can mitigate the effect of rising costs for you and your staff members. Here are three ideas to consider. 1. Establish a Health Insurance Premium-Only Plan (POP) This super-simple option is often a good choice for small employers. With a POP, your employees are charged via payroll withholding for their…

11January
2018
Four Steps to Valuing an Estate

Determining the value of an estate is a fundamental first step in estate management and a critical requirement for settling a decedent’s estate.¹ How to Assess the Value of an Estate   1.  Select the date of calculation. Because values move up and down, you need to set a specific date for a valuation. For a living person, you are free to pick any date. If you’re assessing the value of a decedent’s estate, you may choose either the date of death, or the date six months after death (the “alternate valuation date”). If you use the alternate valuation date,…

11January
2018
Many Businesses Will Celebrate Tax Cuts in the New Tax Year

Most U.S. businesses will receive a big tax cut starting with their 2018 tax years, thanks to the new law that was enacted on December 22. But some industries (such as retail, hospitality and banking) generally expect to reap more benefits than others (such as certain professional practices). Tax Breaks for Pass-Through Businesses Under prior law, net taxable income from pass-through business entities — including sole proprietorships, S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs) that are treated as sole proprietorships or as partnerships for tax purposes — was simply passed through to owners and taxed at the owners’ rates. For…

11January
2018
Tax Reform: Topics of Special Interest for Individuals

As you’ve heard by now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a number of changes that will affect individual taxpayers in 2018 and beyond. Significant attention has been given to the reduced tax rates for most individuals and the new limit on deducting state and local taxes. But there is more to the story. Here’s a summary of some of the lesser-known provisions in the new law. Repeal of the ACA Penalty for Individuals The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires individuals to pay a penalty if they aren’t covered by a health plan that provides at least minimum essential…