2020 tax season comes to an end

During the 2020 tax season, the singular phrase that was overheard reminded me that I had not started a blog yet on the funny things heard towards the end of any filing season – whether it is the spring filing season (the main one) or this mini one here that deals with returns on extensions, …

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Need an estate tax closing letter from the IRS?

An estate tax closing letter is a confirmation that the Internal Revenue Service will provide to the fiduciary of an estate after they have finishing reviewing and have accepted a Form 706. According to the IRS website, a fiduciary should wait at least nine months after the filing of the Form 706 to request the …

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Education tax benefits in Arizona have changed

Getting educated solely from the School of Hard Knocks or the University of Life is something Uncle Sam would like to help us avoid.  To that end we have 529 plans and other education tax benefits. What are they? Simply put, a 529 plan is an investment account that offers tax benefits when used to …

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Can executors be held personally liable?

Executors are sometimes pressured by beneficiaries to “wrap up” the estate quickly and make distributions of estate assets. Often this is because beneficiaries want their money and don’t understand the liability executors can face for distributing the funds before it is advisable. I’ve written before about how this can have significant, adverse consequences when the …

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Can a trust or trustee plead the fifth?

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution allows a person to refuse to answer questions or give testimony that would go against his or her interest in a criminal proceeding. It also allows someone to refuse to produce incriminating documents. However, this protection does not extend to document requests directed at a person acting in a …

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Michael Jackson estate prevails on lower valuation in U.S. tax court

Though he passed away in 2009, the Michael Jackson estate has been in an extremely long and ongoing fight with the IRS over the valuation of the estate for tax purposes. Earlier in May, Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes ruled that the combined value of Jackson’s assets was around $111.5 million. For comparison, Jackson’s estate …

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How many people really file estate tax returns?

In the recent Pub 5332, the IRS has released statistics about those taxpayers in the U.S. who have filed estate tax returns over the past ten years. Estate tax returns, also known as Form 706, must be filed by decedents who are recipients of a “gross estate” at death over a certain filing threshold. For …

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The gift tax: Frequently asked questions part 2

When you present gifts to family and friends, probably the last thing on your mind – or theirs – is gift tax. For this reason, the gift tax often is often overlooked, and the average person does not know much about it. Here are more FAQs to get you familiarized with them. Don’t miss: The …

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The gift tax: Frequently asked questions part 1

When you present gifts to family and friends, probably the last thing on your mind – or theirs – is gift tax. For this reason, the gift tax often is often overlooked, and the average person does not know much about it. So, here are some FAQs to get you familiarized with gift taxes. Don’t …

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Who pays the deceased’s taxes?

When a person dies, you might be wondering who is responsible for paying his or her taxes. Generally, the person’s estate or trust is responsible for those liabilities and pays them before making distributions to the beneficiaries. In situations where the liabilities exceed the assets (i.e. insolvent), state law governs which creditors get paid first. …

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