Estate tax Feed

Welcome to Part 6 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the series' first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to estate and gift tax amounts, as well as limits on investment income for children, known as the kiddie tax. Note: The 2017 figures apply to 2017 returns that are due in 2018. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2016 amounts to be used in filing 2016 returns due next April. There's a time for play and a time for generational tax planning.... Read more →


While most of the world this week was watching the court battle begin over pop icon Prince's estate, some U.S. House members were trying to reconfigure federal law to capture more tax money from more estates. "Requiring more of the wealthiest estates to pay the estate tax and raising the estate tax rate are commonsense steps we can take toward making our tax code fairer," House Ways and Means Committee ranking minority member Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) said in announcing introduction of H.R. 4996, the Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2016. The estate tax has been around in some form... Read more →


The estate planning world is stunned by the news that Prince passed away without a will. Prince performing at Coachella in 2008. Photo by Scott Penner CC BY-SA 3.0 via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons While lots of folks delay officially putting their final wishes on paper, the wealthiest among us, which definitely included The Purple One, tend to have a phalanx of advisers to take care of their money, including how it will be dealt with once they're gone. Such professional financial and tax advice is critical, especially if you have a lot of money and/or live in a state... Read more →


Powerball Update, Jan. 10, 2016: There are some new millionaires in America this morning, including three Texans (one here in Austin, who, sad for me, is not me) who matched 5 of 6 Powerball numbers last night. But there was no Powerball big jackpot winner, so the drawing on Wednesday, Jan. 13, night will be for more than $1 billion for the first time. This morning it was $1.3 billion, with a cash lump sum payout of $806 million. This post applies to the latest winners, as well as the lucky person/people who win on Wednesday. A Lottery is a... Read more →


From a tax standpoint, Alaska is a pretty cool location. The Last Frontier doesn't collect any individual income tax. It also doesn't have a state sales tax. Local Alaskan governments, however, do have the option to collect sales and other taxes. The additional local levies in Alaska cover such things as raw fish (you did see that Deadliest Catch episode featuring the tax collector, didn't you?), hotel and motel occupancy, fuel, gambling proceeds, liquor and tobacco. Right now, one of the most popular local tax collections is on tobacco. More tobacco taxes in Alaska: A dozen years ago, reports Jeannette... Read more →


When Downton Abbey showed up on PBS back in 2011, the hubby and I were avid viewers. We're both Anglophiles, PBS supporters and it had a nice tax hook for me. Thanks to arcane British inheritance and tax laws in the early 20th century, Lord and Lady Grantham had to marry off their eldest daughter, Mary, to a distant relative to retain possession of the family estate. Lady Mary Crawley is shocked, perhaps at Rep. Aaron Schock's situation? Watch more of Lady Mary's and other Downton Abbey residents' reactions at the PBS Masterpiece website. The convolutions, both legal and emotional,... Read more →


It's Tuesday, but to borrow a phrase and concept popular on the Internet, it sure feels like Throwback Tax Thursday. The reason? The preview of the topics that President Obama plans to address in tonight's State of the Union Address includes some tax provisions that used to be in the Internal Revenue Code. The one that caught my eye is a tax break that's near to my heart, and I mean that in the romantic sense. The hubby and I married in 1982 in part because by waiting until that year, we started off as husband and wife with a... Read more →


A lot is going on in the next eight weeks. The holidays are almost here. Got your turkey yet? Made your Santa wish list? Meantime, you're also checking out the year-end tax moves you need to make to ensure you pay Uncle Sam the lowest possible 2014 tax bill. And you need to do some 2015 tax planning. Sorry, but it's true. So this week's By the Numbers figure is 2015 in recognition of the many inflation adjustments that will affect next year's tax bill and tax plans. Back on Oct. 30, I posted next year's ordinary tax rates and... Read more →


The hubby and I enjoy fine art. Most of our vacations include trips to museums. We even own a few original pieces by artists other than my grandmother, although I must say her work, like the Texas bluebonnet field below, is among my favorites. Her landscapes and more lighthearted pieces are very valuable to us. But Vera K originals and the handful of other paintings we own by more famous painters won't one day produce any big estate tax issues. Estate tax issues with art values: Wealthier art patrons, however, often find that their collections could produce tax problems for... Read more →


Our beloved cat Zeke was part of our family for 19 years. He's been gone for 15 now and we still think about him every day. Zeke chilling out in a box at our Maryland condo back in 1984. Our human family and friends are stunned we never adopted another cat. When I've broached the subject of a new kitty over the years, the hubby's reaction has remained consistent and firm: "Do people get another kid when they lose one?" Sometimes, but that's a topic and blog post for another time. Today's focus is on our collective devotion to our... Read more →


Thirty-seven years ago the musical world was in shocked mourning. Just a day earlier, Aug. 16, 1977, Elvis Aaron Presley had died. Many people can still tell you where they were on that Tuesday afternoon more than three decades ago when they got the news that the King was dead. I can't. I was probably in a class at Texas Tech University. But I wasn't then and am not now a big Elvis fan (despite what I've discovered is a surprising number of Elvis-related blog posts), so it doesn't stick in my memory. Still, I recognize his place in the... Read more →


The best day in auto racing is two-thirds over, with the checkers having waved for the Formula 1 race along Monte Carlo's streets and at the Indianapolis 500. We race faces now await the green flag for NASCAR's longest race of the season, 600 miles that will end under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One of the reasons I like watching races is that I get glimpses of incredible pieces of engineering. That's especially true of the F1 vehicles. I seen some of these magnificent autos, both the racetrack and regular road versions, on trips the hubby and I... Read more →


Tonight could be the end of the 2014 season for the Los Angeles Clippers. They face the Golden State Warriors in game seven of their series to determine which team will go to the next round of the NBA playoffs. UPDATE: The Clippers beat the Warriors 126 to 121. Time also is running out for Clippers' owner Donald Sterling. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last week banned Sterling from the sport for life following his racially charged comments. Silver also asked the league's other team owners to remove Sterling from their ownership ranks. Sterling is expected to fight to keep the... Read more →


For good or ill, 2013 is gone. Welcome 2014! On the tax front, 2013 was quite an eventful year. So before we get too deep into this new year, I thought it would be fun to reflect on what happened in the tax world last year. Taxes, of course, are very personal. That one-to-one relationship we all have with the tax code extends even to major developments in tax laws. What seems momentous to me might not be so important to you and vice versa. So the following list of 10 tax happenings in 2013 is in no particular order.... Read more →


Christmas is less than two weeks away. I must admit that the holiday has sneaked up on me this year, but I'm finally getting into the spirit. And as a tax geek, that means that some -- OK, a lot -- of the holiday trappings remind me of taxes. Take, for example, Christmas carols. Listening to them at a holiday party this past weekend naturally brought to mind some tax provisions. That's right. This is just the kind of thing the hubby lives with, even at this special time of year. You can send your words of sympathy for him... Read more →


The wait is almost over! Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013 will be announced Dec. 11. UPDATE, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m.: My prediction from last night (see end of this item) was correct. Pope Francis is Person of the Year. But I'm very glad that a tax-connected person was one of the finalists. I generally don't pay attention to this annual event. This year is different. Taxes are involved, at least peripherally. One of the five finalists, per NBC Nightly News and on whose sister network program Today the announcement will be made, is Edith Windsor. Bringing down... Read more →


Edith Windsor, the woman whose estate tax lawsuit led the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is getting even more tax money back. In addition to the $363,000 plus interest that Windsor will get from Uncle Sam for federal estate taxes she paid after the death of her wife Thea Spyer, Windsor also will be getting a New York state estate tax refund. And she's not alone. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state's tax department to issue refund checks to the surviving spouses of gay marriages who had to pay estate taxes... Read more →


James Gandolfini's unexpected death last month in Italy is back in the news, this time because a large portion of the actor's $70 million estate reportedly will be subject to the federal estate tax. The will left by Gandolfini, best known as the complex mob boss Tony Soprano in the HBO television series "The Sopranos," is "a disaster," says a New York estate tax attorney. William Zabel, who was asked by the Daily News to review Gandolfini's will, says the document is "a nightmare from a tax standpoint." The 51-year-old actor made a "big mistake" by leaving 80 percent of... Read more →


The Supreme Court on June 26 declared the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, dead. That same day, Attorney General Eric Holder said that President Obama had directed the Justice Department to work with other agencies to expeditiously implement the decision making federal benefits available to same-sex married couples. And expedite they did. On Friday, two days after the DOMA decision and the same day that same-sex marriages resumed in California thanks to the high court's removal of the Proposition 8 roadblock, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that same-sex spouses are eligible for a wide range of federal... Read more →


Can you hear the cheering? It's still going on and it's coming from gay and lesbian couples, their families and friends and same-sex marriage supporters across the country who are thrilled that the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. This federal law, enacted in 1996, defined for federal purposes a marriage as between one man and one woman. Yeah, right. DOMA was enacted because the ship on expanding marriage had already set sail. Gay and lesbian couples currently can get married in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington and the... Read more →