Legacy Giving News and Information
November, 2018
The following is intended as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. Individual circumstances vary - please consult your legal and tax advisors about your specific situation. To return to the general planned giving pages, please close this browser window. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus.

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You can contribute more to your 401(k) and IRA in 2019
Workers will be able to contribute more to their retirement accounts in 2019. How much a person needs to save for retirement largely depends on what they intend to do in retirement, including where they want to live, if they’ll have paid off a mortgage or plan to rent, what they’ll want to do during that time off. But it also depends on some of the biggest unknowns, including health and wellness, or potential emergencies. Some good news: The Internal Revenue Service unveiled the cost-of-living adjustments for pension plans and other retirement items for the 2019 tax year, including the first increase to the contribution limit for the Individual Retirement Arrangement in six years.

Scammers Impersonate Government Officials
FTC Consumer Alert
You know those posters businesses must hang up with information about labor laws? You can get them for free from the U.S. Department of Labor. If someone tries to charge you for them, it’s a scam. And this is only one way government imposters try to trick small business owners.
Scammers contact you and say they're with a government agency. They threaten to fine you, sue you or suspend your license if you don’t pay them.
Some scammers send letters that look like they’re from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The letters threaten severe consequences: “Pay immediately or lose your trademarks.” Others lie and say you can pay to get access to government grants for your business. No matter the threats, verify the claim before you pay. Contact the government agency directly to find out if the story is true.

5 retirement plan saving and tax options
A National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) report issued last month found that the retirement savings of U.S. workers are woefully inadequate. How woeful? NIRS points to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 2013 that reveals almost 60 percent of a working age individuals that year did not have any money in a retirement account. But another reason folks don't save for retirement often is because they are overwhelmed by the options. I get it. Too many choices frequently produce paralysis when it comes to picking one. You don't have the time or feel confident enough to evaluate all the possibilities. To help a little bit, here's a look at 5 popular retirement savings options and, of course, the tax benefits each offers.

Year-end tax planning moves
Year-end planning for 2018 takes place against the backdrop of a new tax law — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — that make major changes in the tax rules for individuals and businesses. For individuals, there are new, lower income tax rates, a substantially increased standard deduction, severely limited itemized deductions and no personal exemptions, an increased child tax credit, and a watered-down alternative minimum tax (AMT), among many other changes. For businesses, the corporate tax rate is cut to 21%, the corporate AMT is gone, there are new limits on business interest deductions, and significantly liberalized expensing and depreciation rules. And there's a new deduction for non-corporate taxpayers with qualified business income from pass-through entities. We have compiled a checklist of actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all actions will apply in your particular situation, but you (or a family member) will likely benefit from many of them.

Tax rules on rolling over retirement accounts
Life changes. That means sometimes you want or need to change your retirement plan. Say, for example, you have a 401(k) at one workplace, get a new job and open a 401(k) with that employer. What happens to the 401(k) you had at your prior job? In many cases, the company where you worked will let you keep it, although obviously you are no longer contributing. But many folks don't like that orphan retirement account sitting out there, out of reach and often eventually forgotten. Rollovers let you move, according to tax code and IRS rules, one retirement plan into a new one. Or in some cases roll the money into an existing account.

Scams against older adults: reporting to Congress
You might have read media stories about older people losing lots of money to scams. It does happen – and FTC data show that when people over 80 report losing money, the amount they lose is a lot higher than the amount younger people lose. But that’s not the whole story. In fact, FTC data also show that people 60 and older are great at reporting the fraud they see – and can be great at avoiding it, too. Because, according to the FTC’s 2017 data, people 60+ are much more likely to report fraud than people in their 20s – but far less likely to say they lost money. Read more.

Bewildering bequest
Wills often provide for specific bequests or devises, ensuring that the last wishes of the testator are carried out consistent with their intentions. But ambiguous and unclear language in one will’s residuary clause recently had to be sorted out by the Virginia Supreme Court. The case, Feeney v. Feeney, highlights how bringing in an experienced estate attorney early on may help to avoid this kind of issue.

Show me the social security money
Break-even analysis can prompt clients to take Social Security benefits sooner rather than later, as a hedge against early death. They really should be hedging against living longer and running out of money. What age should clients claim their Social Security benefits? You can run all kinds of numbers, but many clients will have a basic, understandable human urge: “Show me the money.”  Clients anxious to ensure they’re going to get their money’s worth from Social Security leads to a break-even analysis—that is, finding the point when total lifetime benefits received would be equal to those when using a different claiming age. So, what are the break-even numbers?

Like-Kind Exchanges - Real Estate Tax Tips
Like-kind exchanges -- when you exchange real property used for business or held as an investment solely for other business or investment property that is the same type or “like-kind” -- have long been permitted under the Internal Revenue Code.  Generally, if you make a like-kind exchange,  you are not required to recognize a gain or loss under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031. If, as part of the exchange, you also receive other (not like-kind) property or money, you must recognize a gain to the extent of the other property and money received. You can’t recognize a loss. But things have changed.


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Please note, individual financial circumstances will vary. The information on this site is meant as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. As with all tax and estate planning, please consult your attorney or estate specialist. All material is copyrighted and is for viewing purposes only. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus. Please report any problems to webmaster.