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Protect Your Right to Life and the Environment with a “Land Trust”

Any trust, either a complex trust or a simple trust, gets a tax deduction for money it pays out to the beneficiaries. Thus, it is relatively easy to “zero out” a trust’s income and avoid paying taxes on trust money.

A complex trust may have to file a 1041 tax form, but if there isn’t any income retained in the trust, the tax will be zero, even if a 1041 form is filed.

Note that when a simple trust says all of its “income will be paid out at least annually,” that doesn’t mean the money has to be transferred from the trust’s accounts to the beneficiary’s accounts. It simply means that the beneficiary(ies) have to claim all of the income on their tax return(s). Thus, a simple trust does not retain income, at least as far as the IRS is concerned.  Yes, the money will still be in the trust’s account, but it has been recognized as paid out by having the beneficiary claim it as his or her income.

Think twice before letting your trust get into a position where it is subject to a tax liability. Tax rates for a trust are bad news.

Trust Tax RatesTrust tax rates are outrageous. (See table of Trust Tax Rates below.) There are two types of trusts: a simple trust and a complex trust.  The type of  trust you get will determine whether or not you are subject to trust tax rates.

Simple trusts  include the standard estate planning “living revocable trust,” and many other trusts. One example is a Living Revocable Trust or Family Trust. Simple trusts are often used in estate planning to hold property. Most of them are revocable.

Simple trusts usually do not have a tax ID number. If a tax ID is asked for, the grantor/trustee/beneficiary’s Social Security number is used. A simple trust is required to pay all of its income out every year to the beneficiaries. Technically, a simple trust can’t accumulate income.

On the other hand, a complex trust can accumulate income and make its corpus (trust estate) grow. Because complex trusts can accumulate income, they are required to have their own tax ID number. This will need to be an EIN.  Even though complex trusts can accumulate income, it’s usually not wise to have the trust actually do so, because the trust will be taxed on the income it accumulates. With trust tax rates hitting 37% at only $12,500 it’s not good to pay taxes out of a trust. Additionally, the 3.8% Obama-care surtax kicks in at that same “top” level. Obviously, trust tax rates are outrageous.

Tax table rates will blow your mind:

Trust Tax Rates Table

If taxable income is: The tax is:
Not over $2,600 10% of the taxable income
Over $2,600 but not over $9,300 $260 + 24% of the amount over $2,600
Over $9,300 but not over $12,750 $1,868 plus 35% of the excess over $9,300
Over $12,750 $3,075.50 plus 37% of the excess over $12,750

The rates in the table were set in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and updated for 2019 cost of living increases. These rates apply to estates and trusts. The Obama-care net investment income tax of 3.8% started in 2013 and applied to trust income above the $12,150 level.  Trust tax rates have been inflation-adjusted each year, so note that the rates in the table above are for 2018 and check for the year you are interested in. The rates are set to go back to 2017 rates in 2025.

For great tax saving ideas, check out my 10 Tax Tips.

Note: This post was updated on September 13, 2018.

Experiencing a Financial hardship?

A WAGE GARNISHMENT OR INCOME WITHHOLDING CAN BE CHALLENGED BY REQUESTING A HEARING UNDER 45 CFR 32.5. IF YOU WERE FIRED, OR HAVE SOME TYPE OF DISABILITY YOU CAN FILE A FINANCIAL HARDSHIP UNDER 45 CFR PART 32.9
§ 32.9 Financial hardship.

(a) A debtor whose wages are subject to a withholding order may, at any time, request a review by the Department of the amount garnished, based on materially changed circumstances such as disability, divorce, or catastrophic illness which result in financial hardship.

(b) A debtor requesting such a review under paragraph (a) of this section shall submit the basis for claiming that the current amount of garnishment results in a financial hardship to the debtor, along with supporting documentation. The Secretary shall consider any information submitted in accordance with this part.

(c) If a financial hardship is found, the Secretary shall downwardly adjust, by an amount and for a period of time established by the Secretary, the amount garnished to reflect the debtor‘s financial condition. The Secretary will notify the employer of any adjustments to the amount to be withheld.

 

Source: 45 CFR § 32.9 – Financial hardship.

Related: https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/financial-hardships-force-growing-number-of-farmers-to-give-up-family-business-1451407939513

Duty to Protect / Correct Utilizing a Universal Standard of Principles (Part Two)

After determining which rights were violated (whether unintentional or outright fraud) utilizing a universal standard of principles and ULTRS (universal language for testimony and reports) to determine which duty was triggered, we can begin to rectify the situation.

This leads to two questions: 1. Where does this situation fall on the spectrum of fairness and, depending on where it falls, 2. What does that translate into in terms of specific procedures that must be followed?

Spectrum of Fairness

The court in Baker v. Canada (Minister of Immigration and Citizenship) listed four factors which help determine where on the spectrum of fairness a given decision lands. Note that the “legitimate expectations” of the person challenging the decision is a consideration, but it is considered before the factors listed below. The doctrine of “legitimate expectations” does not affect where the decision lands on the spectrum of fairness. Rather, it tells us some of the specific procedures that must be followed.

i. Nature of the decision being made and the process followed in making it: here, an assessment of how formal or informal the decision at hand is made. The more adjudicative the administrative decision maker’s nature and the process it follows (i.e. a formal decision), the more procedural safeguards necessary. The more operational or administrative (i.e. an informal decision), the less procedural safeguards necessary

ii. Nature of the statutory scheme and the terms of the statute pursuant to which the body operates: here, an assessment of the statutory scheme is made. If no further remedies or appeal are available under the statute, more procedural safeguards are necessary because the first level of the decision must be procedurally fair.

An assessment of the complexity of the decision being challenged is also made. If it is a relatively simple decision, it will fall at the lower end of the spectrum.

iii. Importance of the decision to the affected parties: here, an assessment of how important the outcome of the decision is to the parties affected. Where the decision is important to the affected parties, high procedural safeguards are necessary. For example, in Kane it was held that a high standard of procedural fairness is required when the right to continue in one’s profession/employment is at stake.

iv. Choices made by the decision-maker: here, an assessment of the power given to the administrative decision maker over its own procedures is made. If they have a lot of power, they are under a high procedural obligation and the decision is at the higher end of the spectrum.

Once these factors are considered, we end up with a point on the spectrum. The next question is: how does this translate into specific procedures?

Specific Procedures

The specific procedures required differs case by case. In Mavi, Justice Binnie stated that we ultimately need a fair process by considering what is relevant in the circumstances. There are general considerations that the court looks to when determining specific procedures:

  • The determination of specific procedures is a balance of fairness, efficiency and predictability of the outcome; and
  • The people affected by a decision have the opportunity to be heard and considered.

The doctrine of “legitimate expectations” can create specific procedures that must be followed where the administrative decision maker has made a certain representation or promise regarding specific procedures that will be followed.

An oral hearing is not necessarily required under the common law where a statute does not specify whether an oral hearing must be held. In Khan, the court held that, if an administrative decision maker is going to decide adversely against someone’s credibility and that person is affected by a decision of the administrative decision maker, an oral hearing must be held.

The enabling statute may state whether reasons for the decisions are required. An administrative decision maker who is subject to the SPPA must give reasons to the affected parties if they ask for them. At common law, Baker clarified that where a decision has important significance for an individual, where there is a statutory right of appeal or in other circumstances, some form of reasons should be required. In Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses’ Union, the court held that, at the procedural fairness stage, the only consideration is whether there is a duty to provide reasons. The adequacy of reasons is not a relevant consideration at this stage. In Baker, it was held that where some form of reasons are required, there is flexibility as to what those reasons generally look like. The courts are very flexible as to what counts as reasons.

Conclusion

At this stage of the analysis, there is a two step test. Determining what procedures are required after determining where on the spectrum a given decision lands is a contextual analysis.

My next blog entry will focus on procedural obligations arising under the constitution.

Should Witness ‘Flipping’ Be Illegal? — via Timothy T. Brock

FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

 

Should Witness ‘Flipping’ Be Illegal?

Even if you’re not a criminal defense attorney, watching a couple episodes of “Law and Order” will probably introduce you to the concept of police and prosecutors going after “small fish” in order to get the “big fish,” criminally speaking. This process involves lower level suspects or defendants exchanging testimony against higher level targets for lighter sentences or immunity.

The practice of flipping has become especially prominent in the investigation headed Robert Mueller looking into possible collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. In fact, in the wake of news that Trump longtime lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen would be cooperating with federal prosecutors, the president decried the practice of witness flipping, claimed it encourages criminal defendants to unfairly “make up stories,” and asserted that “it almost ought to be illegal.”

Flipping may have its issues, but should it be outlawed?

The Force of Flipping

Much of the incentive to cooperate with law enforcement comes from the amount of power and discretion prosecutors have in determining both criminal charges and the possible sentences for convictions or guilty pleas. As criminal defense attorney Ken White pointed out at the Washington Post, “Federal prosecutors could flip Cohen because they had broad discretion to charge him with dozens of crimes or none; they alone decided how sweet a deal to offer and how ugly the alternative was.”

When faced with myriad possible criminal charges and years or decades behind bars (not to mention days and nights in jail until their case is resolved), defendants often feel they have little option but to give prosecutors any information they can, even if that information isn’t always accurate.

It doesn’t help that many of those targeted for flipping lack the financial resources to mount an adequate defense, and public defenders, too, are often underfunded and overworked. The choice of whether to flip or stay quiet and fight criminal charges is, more often than not, no choice at all.

Running on Flipping and Reform

“The criminal justice system,” White asserts, “runs on flipping defendants. If we want fairness for both the cooperating defendants and the people they implicate — if we want faith in the results — we need serious reform.”

Reform will almost certainly not include President Trump’s suggestion that flipping be outlawed, better funding for criminal defense and more transparency and consistency in charging and sentencing can be positive steps to, if not eliminating flipping, ensuring fairness for both those offering evidence against other criminal targets and those against whom that evidence will be used.

Related Resources:

via Should Witness ‘Flipping’ Be Illegal? — timothytbrock

Estate Planning & Land Trust

Planning for Future by Estate Planning & Land Trust

Section 502(e)(1) states the general rule requiring the court to disallow any claim for reimbursement or contribution of an entity that is liable with the debtor on, or that has secured, the claim of a creditor to any extent that the creditor’s claim against the estate is disallowed.

See how our estate planning and trust services can help you accomplish your many goals.

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Let us help develop a plan to efficiently transfer wealth to your heirs and favorite charities, protect your family and business, grow your assets, and minimize taxes.

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Find out the best ways to support causes you believe in, promote family values and social responsibility, and leverage the tax-deductible nature of charitable gifts.

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Benefit from our guidance as you face key moments of transition in the life cycle of your business.

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Find out how our services can help you reduce risk, create liquidity, and defer taxes with your concentrated corporate stock.

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Get guidance on how you can structure your insurance plan to avoid costly estate and federal tax liabilities and ensure you have the coverage you need.

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Learn how we can help protect your best interests with guidance and sound financial solutions.

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Learn about the many advantages the state of Delaware offers for trusts, and how we’ve helped shape Delaware trust law for decades.

Speak with our advisors to ensure that your plan is on track and that you are making the most of your trust opportunities.

Don DiCarlo

Don DiCarlo
Head of Strategic Planning Advice

Bend the curve with Average Contract Value (ACV) — with me

SaaS entrepreneurs know how hard it is to scale their companies from zero to their first few $M in revenue. I’ve posted before about misconceptions about scaling SaaS businesses – namely that adding more sales pods will lead to exponential growth. While pod additions are part of it, the single most powerful lever in driving exponential […]

via Bend the curve with Average Contract Value (ACV) — vcwithme

Lawsuit: Insurer Anthem Misleading California Customers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California consumer advocacy group is suing Anthem Blue Cross over allegations that the health plan is misleading several hundred thousand customers about changes in their policies for next year.

Consumer Watchdog filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Tuesday claiming Anthem is charging more for inferior coverage and burying the changes in a mountain of paperwork.

In most of California, Anthem is changing its “preferred provider organization,” or PPO, plans that provide coverage for out-of-network doctors to “exclusive provider organization,” or EPO, policies that do not.

Consumer Watchdog says many customers chose PPO plans specifically for the option to use out-of-network providers and will be surprised when their bills are no longer covered.

Anthem says state regulators approved the changes and the lawsuit is without merit.

via Lawsuit: Insurer Anthem Misleading California Customers — FOX40