How much is a fictitious brokerage account worth, and what happens when it loses value? The IRS and the Tax Court have struggled with issues arising from the Bernie Madoff scandal. The answer may depend on when (and how) you ask the question.
Michael Jackson is back in the news. The IRS added some $700 million to the reported value of Jackson’s estate, based on posthumous publicity rights valued by the estate at $1200. The news brought to light an interesting issue: To get a regular trial with a district judge on a tax deficiency, you have to pay the tax first.
Most people feel really great when they donate to charity, and the accompanying tax deduction can make the gift even sweeter. But recent cases show that the IRS is demanding strict compliance with its rules on substantiating charitable contributions, and messing up can mean losing the entire deduction.
Updated: The Supreme Court heard oral argument in Windsor v U.S. on March 27, 2013, with negative implications for domestic partners, as discussed in the April 2013 issue of CEB’s Estate Planning & California Probate Reporter.
The U. S. Supreme Court’s grant of review in Windsor v U.S. puts the marital deduction in doubt for same-sex surviving spouses but it doesn’t change the advice: for now, practitioners should keep filing estate tax returns claiming the marital deduction until someone tells them to stop.
If an inherited artwork is illegal to sell, should the beneficiaries of the artwork be taxed on a value of zero or on the appraised value as if the artwork were legally salable, or possibly somewhere in between? That’s the issue in a case discussed in a recent New York Times article and it raises an interesting debate among experts on estate taxation.
The issue of what constitutes a church for the IRS tax exemption purposes has recently been considered in a novel context: Is a congregation that holds only internet and radio worship services a church entitled to IRS tax benefits? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the “electronic ministry” did not meet the IRS’s definition of a church.