Applicable Federal Rates for December 2016

The Internal Revenue Code prescribes minimum imputed interest rates and time-value-of-money factors applicable to certain loan transactions and estate planning techniques. These rates are tied formulaically to market interest rates. The Internal Revenue Service updates these rates monthly.

These are commonly applicable rates in effect for December 2016:

Short Term AFR (Loans with Terms <= 3 Years)                                          0.74%

Mid Term AFR (Loans with Terms > 3 Years and <= 9 Years)                    1.47%

Long Term AFR (Loans with Terms >9 Years)                                              2.26%

7520 Rate (Used in many estate planning vehicles)                                     1.8%

Here is a link to the complete list of rates: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-16-27.pdf?_ga=1.114444423.1043379965.1429544687

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037

Post-Election Flashback: A Tax Break For Federal Executive Office Appointees

With President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments at the forefront, we revisit our August 2016 post examining a capital gains tax break for federal executive appointees who must sell assets to avoid conflicts of interest.  We noted that appointees with unrealized capital gains in undiversified assets could use the law to diversify without paying capital gains tax, creating a tax break vastly more valuable than anything else they earn from their positions.

Here is a link to our original post:  http://blog.williamsparker.com/businessandtax/2016/08/17/want-diversify-appreciated-asset-position-without-paying-capital-gains-tax-take-federal-government-job-conflict-interest/

Here is a link to a November 8 International Business Times article quoting our post and further examining the tax deferral law: http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/wall-street-titans-could-get-tax-benefit-taking-jobs-trump-or-clinton-white-house

Are any potential Trump appointees likely to benefit?  Decide for yourself after reviewing a roster of potential appointees:   https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_cabinet-graphic-135pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037

Ally Law London Firm Wins Article 50 Brexit Challenge

Williams Parker has international reach as the Florida member of Ally law – one of the world’s leading law firm networks. Our companion firm in London, Edwin Coe, represented the winning claimant, Dier Dos Santos, in the high-profile litigation in the U.K. challenging Article 50 and the Brexit vote. The High Court of Justice ruled that based on a 300-year-old law, the U.K. government does not have the constitutional capacity to trigger U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union without a Parliamentary vote. More information on the ruling and its consequences can be found here.

Williams Parker regularly works with Ally Law attorneys to make sure our clients receive the legal support they need wherever in the world they might operate or have investments. Ally Law includes over 1,300 lawyers in 41 countries. More information on Ally Law can be found on our website.

Michael J. Wilson
mwilson@williamsparker.com
941-536-2043

Does a Republican Sweep Augur Federal Tax Reform?

Amongst many things, the Republican sweep in yesterday’s election improves prospects for the most significant tax reforms since 1986.

While we instinctually focus on possible changes to our personal tax burdens, business income taxation may offer the most opportunities for structural reforms. Structural changes may or may not reduce the amount of tax revenue. They are, at least in theory, policy driven to encourage business behavior consistent with greater economic growth.

Changes on the table include taxing business income that is reinvested (rather than distributed to owners for their personal uses) at a lower rate, and changing the international tax regime to a territorial system that does not tax income earned in other countries when repatriated to the United States. The former may encourage business investment spending. The latter may reduce distortions in capital flows into the United States caused by the current tax regime. Both changes would bring the United States closer in line with the tax systems in other developed countries.

And, of course, our leaders will revisit Obamacare, including the new taxes it created.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposals do not exactly match those in Congress. Disagreement could impede reform. But with House Speaker Paul Ryan and President-Elect Trump both focusing on tax reform, we will see the most serious tax reform debate in many years.

Here are links to recent media discussion of possible tax reforms:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-win-gives-gop-fuel-to-slash-taxes-1478687402

http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2016/11/09/president-trump-what-does-it-mean-for-your-tax-bill/#53ec8be84b8b

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037

Applicable Federal Rates for November 2016

The Internal Revenue Code prescribes minimum imputed interest rates and time-value-of-money factors applicable to certain loan transactions and estate planning techniques. These rates are tied formulaically to market interest rates. The Internal Revenue Service updates these rates monthly.

These are commonly applicable rates in effect for November 2016:

Short Term AFR (Loans with Terms <= 3 Years)                                          0.68%

Mid Term AFR (Loans with Terms > 3 Years and <= 9 Years)                    1.33%

Long Term AFR (Loans with Terms >9 Years)                                              2.07%

7520 Rate (Used in many estate planning vehicles)                                     1.6%

Here is a link to the complete list of rates: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-16-26.pdf?_ga=1.111173892.1043379965.1429544687

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037

Pink October: Be Careful That Giving Does Not Cause You Grief

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For many years now, the arrival of October, which has been dubbed “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” has been accompanied by an onslaught of pink products being sold to benefit various breast cancer charities.  This practice of selling products or services to benefit a charity (often referred to as a “commercial co-venture”) has become increasingly popular among business owners—in addition to the philanthropic goal of donating to a worthy cause, the use of the charity’s name will also often result in an increase in sales for the company.  Because these partnerships involve claims made to consumers regarding the recipient, and use, of the funds, many states have begun to regulate commercial co-ventures to ensure that accurate information is provided to consumers and that the money is ultimately used in the manner advertised.

Unfortunately, there is little uniformity among the regulations of the various states.  For example, some states require a written contract with the charity specifying exactly how the donation will be calculated.  In some cases, this contract must be filed with the state.  Other requirements may include registration with the state and furnishing financial statements to the charity and/or the state.  In each case, the regulations across the states differ with regard to whose responsibility (either the for-profit company or the non-profit company) it is to ensure that these requirements are satisfied.  Adding to the complexity is the fact that many sales involve the internet and interstate commerce, so commercial co-venturers may unintentionally, and unknowingly, subject themselves to the regulations of multiple states.

Entering into a commercial co-venture is a noble, but complicated, endeavor.  If you are considering entering into a commercial co-venture, you should take steps to ensure that you are complying with all applicable laws.  Some best practices include:

  • entering into a written agreement that grants a license to use the charity’s name in connection with sales;
  • including an honest disclaimer of the amount being donated (including any minimums or maximums) in advertisements and on the product;
  • keeping a detailed accounting of sales during the promotion; and
  • consulting with a lawyer to confirm all state-specific requirements are met.

Elizabeth M. Stamoulis
estamoulis@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-5546

2704 Regulations Explained: Proposed Rules Are Set to Further Expand Value Differences between Family-Controlled Entities and Other Companies

The IRS is focused on reducing valuation discounts associated with transfers of interests in family-controlled businesses, but this focus will result in family members being deemed to receive a different value than non-family members.  This also means that an appraiser will be required to establish two different values based on ignoring certain restrictions for family members, while taking those same restrictions into consideration for non-family members.

Consider, for example, a trust that provides that 50 percent of a decedent’s family-controlled business interest will go to charity and the remaining 50 percent will go to family members.  The IRS will be expecting that the interest being conveyed to the family members to result in a higher value when compared to the same percentage interest being conveyed to charity.  This ultimately means that the interest conveyed to family will result in higher estate taxes and the interest conveyed to charity will result in a smaller charitable deduction for estate tax purposes.  The end result is the IRS receives more estate tax from the estate even though the same restrictions apply to all members (both the family members and charity).

This post is part of a series of blog posts addressing the proposed 2704 regulations and the parties that should be reviewing their plans as a result.

View previous posts:

Thomas J. McLaughlin
tmclaughlin@williamsparker.com
941-536-2042

Hurricane Update: Should I Pay Exempt Employees Who Miss Work Due to Bad Weather Conditions?

When it comes to deductions from exempt employees’ salaries it is easy to get into trouble.  The general rule is that an exempt employee is entitled to receive his or her entire salary for any workweek he or she performed work. This means, if the worksite closes for a partial week due to bad weather conditions (such as a hurricane), and the exempt employee has worked during that workweek, the employee is entitled to his or her full salary. However, if the employer has a leave benefit, such as PTO, and the employee has leave remaining, the employer can require the employee to use paid time off for this time away from work. If the employee does not have any remaining leave benefit, he or she must be paid.

If the worksite remains open during inclement weather and an employee is absent, the employee can be required to use paid time off.  If the employee does not have any paid time off remaining, the employer may deduct a full-day’s absence from the employee’s salary.

For a more detailed explanation see:
https://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FLSA/2005/2005_10_24_41_FLSA.pdf.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558

This post was originally published on The Williams Parker Labor & Employment Blog, which focuses on the latest trends and developments concerning labor and employment law and provides commentary and analysis regarding best practices for employers, HR professionals, C-level executives, and boards of directors. Visit the blog to read more and subscribe to receive the latest updates.

What Do Estate Tax Laws in Other Countries Tell Us About the Presidential Candidates’ Proposals?

Under current law, the federal government imposes a 40% estate tax to the extent an individual’s estate exceeds a $5.45 million exemption. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump advocates eliminating the tax. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton previously previously proposed reducing the exemption to $3.5 million and increasing the tax rate to 45%. Last week, she further proposed increasing the tax rate to 50% to the extent an estate exceeds $10 million, 55% to the extent an estate exceeds $50 million, and 65% to the extent an estate exceeds $500 million.

According to a 2015 Tax Foundation study, the current top 40% federal estate tax rate was the fourth highest amongst the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at that time. Japan had the highest top rate, 55%. Spain had the next highest rate behind the U.S., 34%. Chile rounded out the top 10, at 25%. 15 countries imposed no estate tax.

Adopting the Clinton proposal would make the U.S. top estate tax rate 10% higher than any other OECD country’s top rate. Even if we ignore the 65% rate applicable only to estates over $500 million, a 55% top rate would tie the U.S. with Japan for the highest rate. Even a 50% top rate would tie the U.S. with South Korea for the second-highest rate.

What does this tell us? The candidates’ proposals are at the opposite extremes of worldwide estate tax policies. While neither proposal seems likely to pass into law, the divergence underscores the tax policy polarization between the candidates.  Rather than “fitting in,” each pushes our nation’s tax policy to an extreme.

There is also a question whether adoption of either policy would serve the proposing candidate well as President.  How would Mr. Trump’s disgruntled blue collar supporters react to estate tax repeal?  One also can wonder whether Ms. Clinton’s proposal would motivate more of the wealthiest Americans to surrender their citizenship and move capital out of the U.S., not a result she relishes.

Here is a link to the Tax Foundation estate tax study: http://taxfoundation.org/article/estate-and-inheritance-taxes-around-world

Here are links to recent media coverage regarding the candidates’ estate tax proposals: http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-proposes-65-tax-on-largest-estates-1474559914

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-1474577545-htmlstory.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2016/09/23/hillary-clintons-65-estate-tax-or-donald-trumps-repeal/#450664385bf7

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037

Applicable Federal Rates for October 2016

The Internal Revenue Code prescribes minimum imputed interest rates and time-value-of-money factors applicable to certain loan transactions and estate planning techniques. These rates are tied formulaically to market interest rates. The Internal Revenue Service updates these rates monthly.

These are commonly applicable rates in effect for October 2016:

Short Term AFR (Loans with Terms <= 3 Years)                                          0.66%

Mid Term AFR (Loans with Terms > 3 Years and <= 9 Years)                    1.29%

Long Term AFR (Loans with Terms >9 Years)                                              1.95%

7520 Rate (Used in many estate planning vehicles)                                     1.6%

Here is a link to the complete list of rates: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-16-25.pdf?_ga=1.112790660.1043379965.1429544687

E. John Wagner, II
jwagner@williamsparker.com
941-536-2037