The original purpose for the enactment of the estate tax in 1916 was to be a temporary tax used to pay off the war bonds of WWI. One hundred years later and it’s still around. However, Donald Trump has pledged to repeal the estate tax, although presidential candidates promising to repeal the estate tax is standard campaign rhetoric in every election. However, this time around, with the incoming Trump Administration, it may be more than just talk.
Most of us don’t have to worry about the federal estate tax or gift tax. In 2016, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $5.45 million. Thus, any taxpayer while alive may give, and at death, devise, or bequeath, up to $5.45 million before any federal tax liability is created. This exemption is double for married couples, which means that a married couple can gift or leave a total of $10.9 million that will be exempt from federal estate and gift taxes.
Many parents consider and assume that one of their children will succeed them in living in the family residence. Of course, this place may be the house in which the child grew up and spent a considerable amount of time. To return to such a place can be very special. But what in fact are the tax consequences of such an event? What happens if the parents wait until death? What if they want to make an outright gift of the property? Perhaps they wish to make a sale at a bargain price? What if they make a more traditional sale that involves financing?
Which retirement account, vehicle or venture is best? One thing is certain, diversity still carries the day when it comes to investments as different ones afford the most flexibility. The returns on different types of investments are treated differently by the tax code, which logically means that some get better tax treatment than others. Qualified dividends and capital gains, for example, are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income, and thus are attractive investment options for retirement.
It’s not news that most people complain about having to pay taxes. New Yorkers seem to especially complain about their state and local tax burden. The Tax Foundation, with a database that currently covers the years 1977-2012, interprets the tax burden of individual taxpayers by measuring what they actually spend in local and state taxes. Its. According to its rankings of states with the highest state and local tax burdens, Americans paid an average rate of 9.9 percent in state and local taxes in 2012. Further, the state with the highest state-local tax burden was New York at 12.7 %. In fact, the top three states – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – have been ranked as the top three in this category since 2005. Not surprisingly, New York’s tax laws are relatively complex compared to other U.S. states. Here are some things to know about taxes in the Empire State.
Section 61 of the Tax Code states that “except as otherwise provided in this subtitle gross income means all income from whatever source derived”. Thus, the federal tax law requires taxpayers to pay income taxes on earnings, commissions, rents, royalties, retirement benefits, investment profits, tips, fringe benefits, bonuses and almost anything else of value, unless the Internal Revenue Code specifically provides an exception to the general rule contained in §61. An exception to the general rule is §102 of the Internal Revenue Code.
In June of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in U.S. v. Windsor that provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were unconstitutional. Prior to this ruling, Section 3 of DOMA required that, for purposes of federal enactments, marriage be defined as the union of one man and one woman and the word spouse be defined as someone of the opposite-sex who is a husband or wife.