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Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

IRS Left Holding the Bag After Investors Madoff with Millions

tax_100889473How 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.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

Act Now on Direct IRA Distribution to Charity

180779637Under IRC §408(d)(8), IRA owners over age 70 ½ can distribute up to $100,000 per year directly to charity and never recognize any income on the distribution. But to get this benefit, you must act fast because the law expires at the end of this year.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

Tell It to the (Tax Court) Judge: If You Prefer District Court, Pay the Tax First and Then Ask for a Refund

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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.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics New Legal Developments Tax Law

Going to the Chapel in Another State: IRS Ruling Extends Same-Sex Marriage to Couples Nationwide

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In a swift and decisive ruling, the IRS concluded that same-sex couples lawfully married in the state of celebration are married for federal tax purposes regardless of residence. Rev Rul 2013–17. The ruling effectively extends same-sex marriage to couples nationwide.

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Business Law Legal Topics Tax Law

IRS is Very Strict When It Comes to Charitable Contribution Rules

blog-140237960v2Most 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.

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Estate Planning Family Law Legal Topics Tax Law

Whither Windsor: What to Do About the Estate Tax Marital Deduction While the Court Considers DOMA

hands_147261872Updated: 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.

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Employment Law Legal Topics Tax Law

Is the Money You Got in Your Employment Case Taxable?

If you are skilled and fortunate enough to get a nice monetary recovery for your client in an employment case, you need to understand what part of that recovery is taxable. From your client’s perspective, this issue will be critical.

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Employment Law Legal Topics Tax Law

When Is a Tip Not a Tip?

You may think that the 20% tip you leave when you are out for a romantic dinner for two is the same as the 18% service charge the restaurant adds to your bill when you have a celebratory dinner for eight, but there’s a difference. A new IRS ruling shines a light on this sometimes confusing area.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

What’s the Value of Illegal Art?

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.

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Business Law Legal Topics Social Media

When Is a Church Not a Church?

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.