Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

            Asset protection during a grantor’s lifetime is often accomplished through complex entity structures (multi-member LLC’s or LLLPs) or through irrevocable trusts. However, clients are often apprehensive to transfer too much wealth to an irrevocable trust since they lose all benefit to the transferred assets, and the transfer will most likely require a gift tax return and result in a reduction the grantor’s estate tax exemption amount.  
However, there is a type of irrevocable trust that 1) protects the assets during the lifetime of the grantor; 2) provides for the efficient transfer of wealth; and 3) permits the grantor to be an active beneficiary. This specific estate planning technique is through the use of a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT).
A DAPT is an irrevocable trust established under the laws of one of the limited number of jurisdictions that permit a grantor of a trust to be a discretionary beneficiary and still protect the trust assets from the grantor’s creditors. We generally recommend the formation of a DAPT pursuant to Nevada law since it offers enhanced privacy and it is the only state that does not have any special classes of creditors that can pierce through a DAPT.
            Domestic Asset Protection Trusts offer many of the same benefits that offshore trusts provide but without subjecting the assets to the risks associated with offshore trusts.  According to the Steve Leimburg’s Asset Protection Planning Newsletter “after 22 years, there still hasn’t been even one non-bankruptcy, non-fraudulent transfer case where a creditor got a judgement or settlement, and then successfully accessed assets owned by a DAPT.”  Interested in learning more about DAPT’s? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Prize Winnings

Similar to lottery winnings, winning a prize subjects the recipient to income tax.  Section 74 of the tax code states that prizes and awards are included in gross income unless these items qualify as excluded as noted in this section or are considered scholarships and fellowship grants under Section 117.  Gregory R. Hampton, who recently won 100 years of season tickets for his beloved New York Giants as part of the NFL’s Tickets for 100 years contest, is therefore responsible for the taxes on his winnings.  Luckily for Mr. Hampton, the NFL announced that they will be paying the estimated taxes on the winnings.

Upon winning any sort of gambling, raffle, lottery or other similar prize, one must report the full amount of the winnings for the year on their form 1040.  One may itemize deductions on Form 1040 to take advantage of any gambling losses but may not net their winnings and losses.  Interested in learning more? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Inherited IRA's

In Private Letter Ruling 201909003, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that an IRA payable to an estate could be transferred to an inherited IRA for the benefit of the estate’s beneficiaries.  In the IRS ruling, the decedent received RMD’s from the IRA during the year of  their death and named  the estate as the sole beneficiary.  In the decedent’s will, the decedent named their entire estate to certain beneficiaries.
            The division of the IRA (of the decedent) into inherited IRA’s for the beneficiaries was not considered a taxable event.  Per the ruling, the beneficiaries can take RMD’s for each of the inherited IRA’s for the remaining years of the life expectancy of the decedent and each beneficiary is then responsible for any tax liability related to the RMD’s from their inherited IRA’s.
 Please note that this ruling applied to the facts of a certain case that was submitted and could have been avoided with proper planning on the front end.  Interested in learning more? Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Annual Report Reminder

Annual Report Reminder

Every business entity organized in Florida must file an annual report with the Florida Department of State by May 1st each year. This filing is mandatory for all business entities that wish to maintain an active status, even if no changes were made to the entity. The purpose of the annual report is to update and/or confirm the records of Florida’s Division of Corporations. Additionally, the responsibility to file falls solely upon the entity’s representative since Florida’s Division of Corporations is not required to send a reminder regarding the deadline. 

If you are a member of Morris Law Group’s Generational Planning Solutions (“GPS”) program then please disregard this notice as the filing of the annual report has already been addressed. If you are not a member of our GPS program and would like to find out more information, please contact our office today! http://www.law-morris.com/gps

The annual report can only be filed through Sunbiz, Florida’s Department of State, Division of Corporations (Sunbiz.Org). The option to file the annual report is prominently listed on the website’s homepage. In order to file the report, all you need is the Document ID Number (which can be found on Sunbiz), a valid email address and payment of the fee.

The fees for the annual report vary based on entity classification, and are as follows for 2019:
        For a Profit Corporation: $150.00
    For a Non-Profit Corporation: $61.25
    For an LLC: $138.75
    For an LP or LLLP: $500.00      

Florida’s Division of Corporations will impose a penalty of $400 for an annual report that is filed after the May 1st deadline; however, the penalty does not apply to non-profit corporations. Furthermore, this $400 late fee cannot be waived or abated.

The failure to file an annual report by the third Friday of September will result in the administrative dissolution or revocation of the business entity. Such administratively dissolved or revoked entities must then apply for restatement and pay additional fees in order to regain active status in Florida. Therefore, if you are an individual who has formed, or maintains a business entity in Florida, it is crucial that you file the annual report in order to avoid the disruption of business.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Charitable Deductions

With April 15th fast approaching, now is a time to review your charitable gifting for 2018. 
           One main tax benefit of charitable gifting is that a qualified donation entitles the donor to a charitable  deduction . Please be aware that there are certain limits on taking charitable contribution deductions.  One can also make a qualified donation of a non cash item as long as the fair market value of the item can be substantiated.  If a donor makes a qualified charitable donation from their IRA, they can also take advantage of that income not being counted as taxable income (with certain restrictions).  There are many tools that donors can utilize to fund their charitable endeavors such as donor-advised funds, private foundations and charitable remainder trusts and these are to be considered when reviewing their charitable goals.  Interested in learning more? Contact the experiences attorneys of Morris Law Group for an immediate consultation.   

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


The purpose of this post is to advise you that you may be required to file a Federal gift tax return (IRS Form 709). If you made a gift during 2018, the below summary may be critical to your tax planning.  

The due date for a 2018 gift tax return is April 15, 2019, the same due date as your 2018 individual income tax return. This date can be extended by extending the time to file your individual income tax return using Form 4868 or Form 2350. This due date can also be extended by filing a Form 8892 to request an automatic 6-month extension if you do not request an extension for your individual income tax return. However, neither of these methods will extend the time to pay gift or GST taxes due.

Outright Gifts of Cash or Property
All gifts of cash or property (in excess of $15,000) to an individual other than a spouse requires a gift tax return. As a result of the gift, your lifetime estate and gift tax exemption will be reduced by the value of the gift that exceeds the $15,000. However, no gift tax will be due with the return unless you have fully used your lifetime estate and gift tax exemption.  

Gifts of Cash or Property in Trust
When you gift cash or property to a trust, including a life insurance policy or premium payments to be made on a life insurance policy, you are making a gift to the trusts beneficiaries. If the gift to the trust beneficiaries does not exceed $15,000 per beneficiary, and Crummey notices are properly used, a gift tax return may not be required unless the trust is structured as a generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax trust. If a gift is made to a GST trust, it may be advisable to allocate the donors GST exemption to the trust. While this allocation is automatic, it is advisable to either opt out of the automatic allocation rules for record keeping purposes, or, file a return showing the allocation of the GST Exemption. If a gift to a trust exceeds $15,000 per beneficiary, a gift tax return is required to be filed.

Most CPA’s are willing and able to prepare gift tax returns. However, many prefer not to due to the complex rules that apply to the allocation of GST exemption and other special disclosures. Due to such complexities, we prefer to review all gift tax returns prepared by our client’s accountants to ensure they align with your estate planning goals.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

MLB and State Income Tax

During the off-season, two MLB superstars signed massive contracts with the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies which could change the landscape of the league.  The location of these contracts could also dramatically change the amount they have to pay in state income tax.  Bryce Harper signed a 13-year $330 million-dollar contract with the Phillies where the Pennsylvania state income tax is a flat 3.07 percent.  Manny Machado signed a 10-year $300 million-dollar contract with the San Diego Padres that will have him paying 13.3% state income tax on his game salary when playing at home.  State income tax rates vary from state to state.  Good news for anyone looking to join the Miami Marlins is that Florida is one of the handful of states with no state income tax. 
                Find yourself in a state where you are paying heavy state income tax? Interested in taking advantage of some cost savings?  Contact the experienced attorneys of Morris Law Group for an immediate consultation.