Estate tax Feed

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic created a plethora of economic problems, student debt was a national concern. Student loans are among the largest contributors to household debt, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau analysis. It cites Department of Education estimates that in 2017 the total amount owed in federal student loans was $1.37 trillion. That figure no doubt has grown dramatically in the last four years, exacerbated by the recent job losses caused by the coronavirus. Federal student debt relief moves: As the higher education debt dollars pile up, Washington, D.C., is working on ways to deal the costs... Read more →


Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash The major challenge for Congress right now is finalizing funding so the federal government won't shut down in March. But some members also are, as noted in yesterday's post, trying to get a mini tax extenders measure passed. And that's not the only tax bill on some lawmakers' minds. A bill to eliminate the federal estate tax was introduced just as the larger bipartisan House/Senate tax bill was clearing the House Ways and Means Committee. Estate tax elimination effort. Again: Some cynical Washington, D.C., watchers might say this bill was introduced primarily for political purposes.... Read more →


No need to wrap cash holiday gifts. Here are three that also have some tax benefits. (Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash) Still shopping for the perfect gift? Lots of folks who get stuck turn to cash. As the old saying (OK, cliché) goes, any amount is the perfect size and green looks good on everyone. Many people, though, find giving cash too crass. There are, however, ways around this that are a bit more subtle, and which can financially help others in a tax-favored way. Here are three. 1. Open a Roth IRA for a young worker.... Read more →


You have a lot to do, and which you'd rather be doing, this month. But also take some time to check out a few December tax moves. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Me neither. Although I love the holidays and Christmas decorating, my time and patience get shorter this time of year as my seasonal to-do list gets longer. So I understand if you are rolling your eyes right now as I suggest adding some tax moves... Read more →


UPDATED, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, to add a couple of new links as I found as I caught up on my own weekend tax reading. Source: Monopoly Wiki An inheritance from a friend or relative can be a nice surprise and a way to fondly remember that person. Such gifts typically do not have any tax implications for either the estate or heirs, at least not immediately, at the federal level. As noted in Part 6 of the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series, the value of an estate that is exempt from Uncle Sam's clutches goes from $12.92 million... Read more →


Plus, a look at how a higher cost of living affects gifts before you go, youngsters' investment earnings, and more. Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash What we would do with our wealth may differ, but most of us want to be rich. And even if the Internal Revenue Service is successful in its recently announced effort to crack down on higher income tax evaders, having money is always preferable. In fact, if you've got beaucoup cash, you don't really have to try to slip one past Uncle Sam. Many of the current wealth-related provisions in the Internal Revenue Code... Read more →


Photo by Chris Ensminger on Unsplash The federal estate tax has always been politically divisive. Opponents, usually Republicans, argue it essentially is double taxation on a deceased person's wealth. They cite instances where families lose property that's been held for generations when they must pay estate tax. The GOP goal is to eliminate the estate tax. Supporters, typically Democrats, say the estate tax only applies to a very small group of ultra-wealthy families. They want to expand the amount subject to the levy. Collecting more from those estates, they argue, would help fund programs for middle- and lower-income taxpayers. At... Read more →


Reviewed and updated Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 The New Year's Day 2024 Powerball drawing was life-changing for the yet-to-be identified person who bought the lone winning ticket in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Congrats to the winner of the $842.4 million jackpot, which has a one-time cash payment value of $425.2 million. And better luck next time for the rest of us! Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. Benjamin Franklin wasn't wrong, but he did live in pre-national lottery times. Today, joining death and taxes as life's constants is Americans' love of gambling. One of the most popular betting options... Read more →


… and yes, there is a tax connection beyond winning wagers being taxable income. Photo by Scott Webb As is usual each Super Bowl Sunday, bets are getting a lot of attention. There are the big-dollar wagers on the game. Two seven-figure bets were placed last week on the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in today's Super Bowl LVII championship game. Then there are the prop bets, many of which have nothing to do with National Football League plays on the field. For any of those bets that pay off, the winners will owe taxes to the... Read more →


Plus a look at how higher costs of living affect capital gains, youngsters' investment earnings, gifts, and more. Image via Giphy Them that got, are them that get. Not only is that a lyric (and theme) from a fabulous Ray Charles song, it's a good synopsis of the current estate tax law, especially with 2023 inflation adjustments. Many of the current wealth-related tax provisions help the richest among us stay that way. But some of them can help all of us, regardless of our income level, increase our relative wealth. And, as reviewed in this Part 6 of the ol'... Read more →


Current political talk (OK, fights) on Capitol Hill is full of discussions (OK, fights) over how and how much to tax the rich. The discussions (OK, fights) are driven by the fact that the tax code already is full of provisions that help the wealthiest among us stay that way. But some of the tax laws can help all of us, regardless of our income level, increase our relative wealth. And some of those Internal Tax Code components are adjusted each year for inflation. This Part 6 of the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series looks at how these annual... Read more →


Elected officials come into office with grand plans. Then the reality of governing hits. Although President Joe Biden has a nominally Democratic House and Senate, the margin in both chambers, especially when we're talking about the perpetually infighting Dems, is razor thin. That means Biden is not going to get everything he proposed on the campaign trail. That's become obvious in the wrangling still going on over his scaled-back Build Back Better (BBB) budget bill. Estate tax/other benefits tradeoff: The Biden Administration had hoped to help pay for new and increased family-focused tax breaks in the BBB by upping another... Read more →


Young boy feeding the chickens. (Photo by ArtHouse Studio from Pexels) As we wind down the first weekend in October, Democrats are continuing to fight amongst themselves and with Republicans over how big President Joe Biden's economic plan should be and how to pay for however much it ultimately is. But one group of taxpayers is happy about what isn't in the mix. Potential changes to the tax treatment of inherited property are off the table, at least for now. There had been talk that the stepped-up basis rule would be eliminated. This tax rule allows heirs to set the... Read more →


UPDATE, Jan. 10, 2023: The two national lottery jackpots are huge. The next Powerball drawing on Wednesday, Jan. 11, will be at least $360 million ($188.7 million lump sum). Mega Millions is now mega billion-plus. The drawing Tuesday, Jan. 10 (that's tonight!) will pay out more than $1.1 billion ($568.7 million cash) to a single winner. If your numbers do come up, congratulations! After you recover from the shock and elation, check out these tips to help you cope with being a sudden millionaire. Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. Benjamin Franklin wasn't wrong, but he was pre-national... Read more →


We need to follow Santa Claus' example this month. Just as he checks his naughty or nice list, we need to check on tax moves to make by Dec. 31. It's December. 2020 and its craziness is almost over! Are you ready? Specifically, are you ready for the holidays? For those of us still committed to pandemic precautions, it's going to be a different, and yes, a bit less jolly, season. But one thing is the same as in previous Decembers. We still need to make some tax moves before Jan. 1. Some December tax moves will demand a little... Read more →


Welcome to Part 6 of the ol' blog's series on 2021 tax inflation adjustments. We started with a look at next year's income tax brackets and rates. That first item also has a directory, at the end of the post, of all of next year's tax-related inflation updates. In today's post, we look at how the annual changes help investors, high-earners and, eventually, estate heirs. Note: The 2021 figures in this post apply to that tax year's returns to be filed in 2022. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2020 amounts that apply to this year's taxes, due April 15,... Read more →


The Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement Act, or SECURE Act as it's popularly known, was attached to the omnibus spending legislation enacted in late 2019. Taxpayers, lawmakers and investment advisers generally supported most of the measure's changes to how we stash and ultimately access our retirement funds. One SECURE provision, however, is causing some concerns, especially among those who have accumulated large IRA holdings and who had planned to leave the bulk of that money to heirs. They and, more importantly, their heirs no longer have access to what used to be known as a stretch IRA. Ending... Read more →


First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then come two filing as one When it comes to their taxes. OK, "marriage" and "taxes" in my opening verse don't rhyme, which is why I'm a journalist, not a poet. But since I focus on taxes and today is, so romantics tell me, the most important day of the year for couples, I thought I'd give the marrying of taxes and wedded bliss a try. Here are five love and tax considerations. 1. Marriage date matters Sure you marry for love. But you might want to consider when you formally tie the knot.... Read more →


Yes, I bought a ticket for the Jan. 29 Powerball. I always do when the jackpot of that and the other national lottery, Mega Millions, gets into the, well, mega million-dollar range. No, I didn't win. Again. Last night's Powerball payout, which had climbed to $396.9 million, is going to the lucky person who bought the winning ticket in Florida. Yes, I am contacting my Sunshine State friends and relatives! In addition to the one big winner, three other Powerball tickets worth $1 million each went to ticket holders in Ohio, Virginia and, again, Florida. If you're one of the... Read more →


These carolers, dressed in Dickensian attire, are no doubt singing traditional Christmas tunes, not my reworked and tax-themed "O Tannenbaum." (Photo by Chris Waits via Flickr CC) O Tax Year-End (O Tax Year Moves) O Tax Year-End, O Tax Year-End, How are thy days so nearing! O Tax Year Moves, O Tax Year Moves, How are thy days so wearing! Not only in the wintertime, But even in young spring is thy prime. O Tax Year-End, O Tax Year Moves, How are thy days so nearing! Yes, that's my attempt at tax lyrics to the tune "O Tannenbaum," known here... Read more →


Welcome to Part 6 of the ol' blog's 2020 series on tax inflation adjustments. We started on Nov. 6 with a look at next year's income tax brackets and rates. Today we look at how the annual changes help investors their families and eventual heirs. Note: The 2020 figures in this post apply to 2020 returns to be filed in 2021. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2019 amounts to be used in filing 2019 returns due April 15, 2020. OK, maybe the rich don't literally burn money. But as the saying goes, the very wealthy really are different from... Read more →