Practice Fundamentals Series: Estate, Gift and GST Tax Basics for the New Estate Planner

Program Date: Monday, November 28, 2016

Panelists: Susan A. Robb of First Republic Trust Company and Danielle R. Greene of Boston Private

Program ChairsHeidi Seely of Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster, P.C. and Nikki Marie Oliveira of Bass Doherty & Finks, P.C.

Materials: Click here for panelists’ handout.

Program Topic:  Panelists provided an introduction to the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.  The program content included a review of the key components of each tax, how the taxes related to one another, and context of the relevancy of each tax for purposes of preparing an estate plan.

IRS Announces Inflation-Adjusted Amounts for 2017

Author:  Susan A. Robb, First Republic Trust Company

On October 25, 2017, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2016-55, which outlined various inflation-adjusted amounts for 2017.  These amounts apply to returns for tax year 2017 that will be filed in 2018.  Some of the key provisions are as follows:

Estate and Gift Tax

  • Estates of decedents who die during 2017 will have a basic exclusion amount of $5,490,000, up from $5,450,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2016.
  • Accordingly, the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption will also rise to $5,490,000 for 2017.
  • The annual exclusion from gift tax will remain at $14,000 for 2017.
  • The exclusion from tax on a gift to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen will be $149,000 for 2017, up from $148,000 for 2016.

Income Tax

  • Highest tax bracket
    • The 39.6% tax rate will affect single taxpayers whose income exceeds $418,400 ($470,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly) for 2017, up from $415,050 ($466,950 for married taxpayers filing jointly) for 2016.
    • The 39.6% rate will apply to estates and trusts with income of more than $12,500 for 2017, up from $12,400 for 2016.
  • Standard deduction
    • The standard deduction for married filing jointly will rise to $12,700 for 2017, an increase of $100 from 2016.
    • For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction will rise to $6,350 for 2017, up from $6,300 for 2016.
    • For heads of households, the standard deduction will rise to $9,350 for 2017, up from $9,300 for 2016.
  • Itemized deductions
    • For individuals, the limitation for itemized deductions for 2017 will begin with incomes of $287,650 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).
  • Personal exemption
    • The personal exemption for 2017 will remain unchanged at $4,050.
    • The personal exemption is subject to a phase-out that will begin with adjusted gross incomes of $261,500 ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly) and phase out completely at $384,000 ($436,300 for married couples filing jointly).
  • “Kiddie tax”
    • The kiddie tax threshold amounts will remain unchanged for 2017. The kiddie tax applies to dependents under nineteen and dependent full-time students under twenty‑four who have unearned income of more than $1,050 but less than $10,500.
    • As was the case for 2016, for 2017, the first $1,050 of unearned income a child earns will be offset by the $1,050 standard deduction (assuming the child has no earned income), and the next $1,050 of such unearned income will be taxed at the child’s tax rate.
    • All of the child’s unearned income in excess of $2,100 will be taxed at the parent’s tax rate.
  • AMT
    • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for 2017 will be $54,300 and begin to phase out at $120,700 ($84,500, for married couples filing jointly, for whom the phase out begins at $160,900). The 2016 exemption amount was $53,900 ($83,800 for married couples filing jointly).
    • The AMT exemption amount for estates and trusts will be $24,100 for 2017, up from $23,900 for 2016.
    • For 2017, the 28 percent tax rate will apply to taxpayers, including estates and trusts, with taxable incomes above $187,800 ($93,900 for married individuals filing separately).
  • Foreign earned income exclusion
    • For 2017, the foreign earned income exclusion will be $102,100, up from $101,300 for 2016.
  • Parking and transportation
    • For 2017, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit will remain at $255.
    • The monthly limitation for qualified parking will also remain at $255.

BBA Event Recap: Trust Owned Real Estate – Navigating the Administration Issues

Program Date:  Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Panelists: Liza Connelly of Boston Private and Stacy K. Mullaney of Fiduciary Trust Company.

Program Chairs:  Liza Connelly of Boston Private and Stacy K. Mullaney of Fiduciary Trust Company, co-Chairs of the Trust Administration Committee

Materials:  To view the program materials, click here.

Summary of Program Topic:  This program covered the myriad of issues facing trustees who hold real estate in irrevocable trusts such as issues on trustee succession, insurance, expense allocation between trust and beneficiary-occupant and between trust income and principal, and the obligation to obtain “highest and best” price in a sale of real estate.  The panelists discussed the issues facing trustees when administering trust-owned real estate and how to avoid potential pitfalls in both the administration and the sale of real estate.

 

 

BBA Event Recap: Estate Planning for Owners of Closely Held Businesses

Program Date:  Friday, October 28, 2016

PanelistsJeffrey W. Roberts and Johanna L. Wise Sullivan of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Program Chairs:  Sara Goldman Curley of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, and David L. Silvian of Day Pitney LLP, co-Chairs of the Estate Planning Committee

Materials:  To view the program materials, click here.

Summary of Program Topic:  This program provided an overview of key issues and planning points that attorneys should keep in mind when engaging in estate planning for a business owner.  It included an overview of different tax structures (C corporations, S corporations and LLCs), other structural issues (women owned businesses and business succession planning), and drafting considerations.  The panelists also discussed planning options, including the use of discounted valuations, freezing techniques and liquidity issues.

 

BBA Event Recap: Planning for Contested Estates: Estate Planning Strategies to Avoid (or Prevail In) Litigation

Program Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

PanelistsAlison Irving Glover of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., Marshall D. Senterfitt of Goulston & Storrs, and Ryan P. McManus of Hemenway & Barnes LLP

Program ChairsMarshall D. Senterfitt of Goulston & Storrs and Ryan P. McManus of Hemenway & Barnes LLP, co-Chairs of the Fiduciary Litigation Committee

Materials:  To view the program materials, click here.

Summary of Program Topic:  This program provided an in-depth review of estate planning strategies and best practices to be employed when a contest is possible or even likely.  The program focused on steps that can be taken during the planning stage to reduce the likelihood of litigation and to ensure that an estate plan, if challenged, will be upheld.  The panelists included a discussion of procedures that can be employed to try to achieve certainty and finality when litigation is anticipated.

 

 

Proposed Regs. Under § 2704

Author: Allison A. Kazarian, Paster & Harpootian, Ltd.

On August 2, 2016, the IRS released proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 2704. If the proposed regulations are finalized as written, they will have a significant impact on the valuation of interests in family-controlled entities for estate, gift, and GST tax purposes due to new limitations on discounts for lack of control.

The proposed regulations, if finalized, will make the following changes to § 2704:

Three-Year Recapture Rule.  The proposed regulations narrow the current exception to § 2704(a), which provides that a transfer of an interest resulting in the lapse of a voting or liquidation right is not subject to 2704(a) if the rights associated with the transferred interest are not restricted or eliminated. The proposed regulations adopt a three-year recapture rule.  The exception for rights with respect to transferred interests that are not restricted or eliminated continues to apply unless the transfer occurs within three years of the transferor’s death.  If a transfer results in the lapse of the transferor’s right to force liquidation and such transfer occurs within three years of the transferor’s death, it will result in a deemed transfer of the value of the lapsed right at the transferor’s death.

Transferee with Assignee Status. The proposed regulations clarify that § 2704(a) applies to lapses of rights resulting from transfers made to assignees that do not participate in management.  For example, when a partner in a general partnership dies and under state law the deceased partner’s estate receives an assignee interest entitled to participate in profits but not management, such transfers may still be treated as taxable lapses.

Disregarded Restrictions.  Section 2704(b) currently provides that restrictions on liquidation rights shall be disregarded for valuation purposes when an interest of a family-owned business is transferred among family members and the restriction can be removed by the family.  The proposed regulations adopt additional “disregarded restrictions,” which include any restriction that (1) limits the interest holder to liquidate or redeem his interest; (2) limits liquidation proceeds to less than a “minimum value” (defined as a pro rata share of the net value of property held by the entity less outstanding obligations of the entity); (3) defers payment of liquidation proceeds for more than six months; or (4) permits payment of liquidation proceeds by a note from the entity or family members unless the note meets certain specifications.

A transfer of an interest that is subject to a disregarded restriction will be valued as if there is no such restriction. However, the “disregarded restriction” will not be ignored for valuation purposes if the entity has nonfamily members that meet the following tests: (1) the nonfamily members have held interest for at least three years; (2) the nonfamily member’s interest is equal to at least 10% of the entity’s equity interests or capital and profits interest (and 20% in the aggregate with other nonfamily members); and (3) the nonfamily member has the right to redeem the interest with six months’ notice for “minimum value” payment.

Marital and Charitable Deductions.  The proposed regulations clarify that if restrictions are disregarded for purposes of valuing an interest in an estate, it will also be disregarded when valuing the interest for purposes of the marital deduction.  Interests transferred to charity are not subject to § 2704 because § 2704 only applies to family member transfers.

Covered Entities.  The proposed regulations clarify that § 2704 applies to corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and other entities and business arrangements.

Effective Dates.  Comments have been requested, and a hearing is scheduled for December 1, 2016.  It is anticipated that final regulations will be issued and take effect sometime in 2017.

The “disregarded restrictions” rules will become effective 30 days after the proposed regulations are finalized.

The provisions related to voting and liquidation rights apply to rights and restrictions created after October 8, 1990, but only to transfers that are completed after the regulations are finalized. However, it is unclear whether the three-year recapture rule will apply to a transfer of interest completed prior to the date the regulations are finalized.  Therefore, there is a potential that transfers may be recaptured even if such transfers are made before the regulations are finalized.

Please join the Estate Planning Committee on Friday, October 28, 2016, for a brown bag lunch on Estate Planning for Closely Held Business OwnersJeffrey W. Roberts and Johanna L. Wise Sullivan of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP will provide an overview of key issues and planning points that attorneys should keep in mind when engaging in estate planning for a business owner.  The program will include an overview of different tax structures (C corporations, S corporations and LLCs), other structural issues (women-owned businesses and business succession planning), and drafting considerations.  It also will include a discussion of planning options, including the use of discounted valuations, freezing techniques and liquidity issues.  Section 2704 will be discussed.

 

Rev. Proc. 2016-42: Language To Be Included In A CRAT To Qualify Under IRC Section 664(f)

Author: Kerry Reilly, Esq., K. Reilly Law LLC

Rev. Proc. 2016-42 – Language To Be Included In A CRAT To Qualify Under IRC Section 664(f)

The IRS has released sample language to be included in Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRATs) to satisfy the qualified contingency requirements under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 664(f). The sample language applies to all CRATs created after the effective date of the Rev Proc.

By using the language provided in the Rev. Proc., the CRAT will not “fail to qualify as a CRAT under Code §664,” nor be subject to the “probability of exhaustion test” pursuant to Rev. Proc. 70-452 (see also Rev. Proc. 77-374). The language is designed to ensure that (1) the beneficiary does not benefit at the expense of the charity, (2) that the charity ultimately receives an amount in keeping with the donor’s charitable deduction at the creation of the CRAT, and (3) that the charity be protected from some of the investment risk of the assets in the CRAT.

The use of similar but not identical language to the sample provision will not guarantee treatment as a “qualified beneficiary” pursuant to §664(f).

The sample language is as follows: (emphasis unchanged)

“The first day of the annuity period shall be the date the property is transferred to the trust and the last day of the annuity period shall be the date of the Recipient’s death or, if earlier, the date of the contingent termination. The date of the contingent termination is the date immediately preceding the payment date of any annuity payment if, after making that payment, the value of the trust corpus, when multiplied by the specified discount factor, would be less than 10 percent of the value of the initial trust corpus. The specified discount factor is equal to [1/(1+i)]t, where t is the time from inception of the trust to the date of the annuity payment, expressed in years and fractions of a year, and i is the interest rate determined by the Internal Revenue Service for purposes of section 7520 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (section 7250 rate), that was used to determine the value of the charitable remainder at the inception of the trust. The section 7520 rate used to determine the value of the charitable remainder at the inception of the trust is the section 7520 rate in effect for [insert the month and year], which is [insert the applicable section 7520 rate].”

Bank of America v. Commissioner of Revenue

Author: Kerry Reilly, Esq., K. Reilly Law LLC

Bank of America v. Commissioner of Revenue

SJC – 11995 (July 11, 2016)

On July 11, 2016, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) upheld the decision of the Appellate Tax Board (the “board”) that Bank of America N.A. (“B of A”), in its capacity as corporate trustee, qualified as an inhabitant of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (“MA”) and was subject to the state’s fiduciary income tax for the trusts in question.

G.L. c.62 §10 (a) provides that income received by trustees is subject to MA taxes if “the persons to whom the same is payable, or for whose benefit it is accumulated, are inhabitants of the commonwealth…”  Under G.L. 62 §1(f), inhabitant” means – “(1) any natural person domiciled in the commonwealth, or (2) any natural person who…maintains a permanent place of abode in the commonwealth and spends in the aggregate more than 183 days of the taxable year in the commonwealth.” Section 14 subjects corporate trustees to the same tax regime as “natural” trustees.

The SJC affirmed that B of A was an inhabitant of the Commonwealth based on its extensive branch structure, its conducting of business related specifically to the trusts at issue – “maintaining relationships with the beneficiaries, making decisions about distributions to those beneficiaries, administering trust assets, and retaining certain records” – as well as conducting similar business for other trusts, and was thus subject to taxes pursuant to G.L. c.62 §10.

BBA Event Recap: Estate Planning with Retirement Benefits – Part II

Program Date: Friday, September 23, 2016

PanelistSuma V. Nair, Goulston & Storrs

Program Chairs: Sara Goldman Curley of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, and David L. Silvian of Day Pitney LLP, co-Chairs of the Estate Planning Committee

Materials:  To view the program materials, click here.

Summary of Program Topic:  This program provided an in-depth review of estate planning with retirement benefits as a follow up to last spring’s introductory program.  It included a discussion of the different options for a surviving spouse who receives retirement benefits, drafting tips, traps for the unwary, the practical issues that arise when it comes time to implement beneficiary designations, and ideas to fix issues that come up during estate administration.