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December 2013 Archives

Variety of tax breaks set to expire

As 2013 draws to a close, it seems more and more likely that Congress will not act to extend several federal income tax breaks that taxpayers have come to rely on. While these may expire for the tax year 2014, taxpayers still have one more filing to take advantage of these deductions before they are gone.

Tax exemption continues for underwater California homeowners

Both the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board have issued clarifying statements to reassure taxpayers in California that debt written off after a short sale of a home will not be considered income for tax purposes. This is a major issue for many California homeowners who bought when prices were inflated and who now owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth (called "underwater" homes).

Trusts and tax minimization

Tax planning and estate planning often go hand-in-hand, since it is a priority for many California families to preserve assets to pass along to the next generation. There a lot of different ways to go about doing this that are all perfectly within the bounds of the law, although some tax minimization tactics are more controversial than others. In choosing any type of estate tax plan, it is crucial to receive qualified and reliable advice and to structure the passage of assets in strict accordance with the law.

IRS to introduce audit deadlines in 2014

If you surveyed the average American about what they fear most, a tax audit is probably near the job of the list, just after natural disasters. Tax audits are a fact of life for many, particularly those who have significant assets or who own a business. And, in reality when faced with a tax audit it can be less frightening than it is from a distance, since it is often easier to tackle a concrete set of problems than to worry about a nebulous threat.

Is the IRS ready to enact tax evasion enforcement?

We’ve written on this blog in the past about the renewed efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enforce anti-tax evasion laws. One of these efforts include cooperation with foreign governments and new agreements on disclosure of Americans who have bank accounts abroad.

NBA player's trust creation sets example for financial planning

A personal trust set up by rookie NBA player Michael Carter-Williams is making the news as a surprisingly wise decision from a first-time professional athlete. Players from the NBA declare bankruptcy at a startling rate of 60 percent within their first five years of retirement, indicating that financial management may not be a top priority for players in the league.

Trusts can help guide family on how to use an inheritance

As we make our way through the first part of the holiday season, many of us are reminded that as much as we love our families, they can be complicated. Even in the most harmonious of clans, disagreements can arise or a crisis can strike, causing the dynamics to alter. These issues may impact an estate plan, particularly when the conditions call into question the gifts that have been previously designated to a family member who may no longer be a responsible or grateful recipient.

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