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Time’s up.

On February 9th, President Donald Trump made the following promise:

“We’re going to be announcing something over the next, I would say, two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.”

Now, say what you will about Trump’s presidency, but to date, he’s followed through on his promises. He said we’ll have a wall? We’re getting a wall. He said he’d keep terrorists out? He’s enacted sweeping — and potentially unconstitutional — immigration reform. Twice. He said he’d drain the swamp? He…well, two out of three ain’t bad.

But where’s the tax plan? Drastic individual and business tax cuts were a huge part of Trump successful campaign, but in the first 50 days of his presidency, he has produced nothing.

What’s the holdup?

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

 

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

In President Trump’s recent speech to Congress, he said very little about his much-anticipated plan for tax reform. One thing he did say was this:

We will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.

This promise was surely met by cheers from coast to coast, as it should have been. But it raises an interesting question: how does a middle-class taxpayer measure whether the President delivers on his promise? Do you simply view the tax cuts for the middle class in isolation? Or must the cuts be viewed in their larger context, relative to those bestowed upon the richest Americans?

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

 

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

I’ve made no secret in this space of my unabashed admiration for Howard Stern. Long a polarizing figure, whether you love or hate Stern, I would strongly encourage you to consider what he’s been tasked with over the last thirty years: waking up each morning and providing four hours of largely commercial-free entertainment for millions of listeners as they endure their soul-crushing daily commute.

Throughout Stern’s run atop the radio world, one thing has remained constant: he is more than happy to allow those same listeners to provide their own content, as he’ll routinely afford large swaths of air time to his loyal cadre of callers. It’s part of what makes the show unique: as opposed to the sports radio world — where callers are quickly ushered off so as not to take up too much valuable air time before the next break — Stern will engage callers for as long as necessary to extract entertainment value. And those listeners reward Stern for their momentary taste of stardom with undying loyalty.

Stern Show producers are likely on the lookout for new and interesting callers. And perhaps they thought they found just that on May 19, 2015, when “Jimmy from Long Island ” called into the show. But taking that call was one Stern may come to regret.

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

 

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

As you may have heard, within months President Trump will begin construction on a giant wall along our southern border, sealing us off from Mexico.

The wall, of course, will cost money — approximately $15 billion, in fact. Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that the U.S.could “easily pay for the wall” by imposing a 20% tax on all imports from Mexico.

If you were one of the millions of TV viewers who instantly reacted to that statement by tilting your head to the side like a confused Labrador, then this post is for you.

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

The Presidential Inauguration is tomorrow and, wherever you stand on the whole thing, there is no escaping that our country is entering a period that is sure to bring major change. In this space, we focus on the tax side of things, and President-elect Trump has repeatedly said that major tax reform is an overwhelming priority, promising to command a good deal of his attention during his first 200 days in office.

With Republicans also controlling the House and Senate, one would think the reform Trump wants would be quickly achieved, even with the standard Democratic opposition. Reality, however, is a different matter, and in recent weeks, major differences have arisen between Trump’s vision for the tax law and those shared by other Republican leaders, most notably Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the author of the GOP’s 2016 “A Better Way,” a blueprint for tax reform.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the proposals set forth by Trump and Brady — both minor and major — and see where they fall out on a “Problematic Scale” of 1-10.

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

 

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

First it was no problem.

Then it was a huge problem.

Then it was going to be a huge problem.

And now it’s no problem again.

That’s right: the circle of life is complete with regard to the penalties imposed on small employers who reimburse employees for premiums paid for health insurance purchased on the individual market. Let’s get caught up.

Continue reading on Forbes.com.

 

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

Nappi-TedToday’s blog post about the Heckerling Institute is written by Withum’s Private Client Services Partner and Practice Co-Leader, Ted Nappi.

It was an enjoyable week in Orlando, Florida attending the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning conference, catching up with old friends as well as making some new ones.

With the uncertainty of estate tax repeal and speculation of its replacement, the week was filled with predictions from all the experts. It will be an interesting year for the tax code and the estate planning profession.

Friday ended with two interesting sessions, the first was a review of when to claim Social Security benefits and a summary of the current rules in this area including the new one related to suspending benefits. Prior to 2016, a spouse could file for benefits and then suspend them. That filing would enable the other spouse to claim spousal benefits. Meanwhile, the suspended benefits would grow by 0.666% per month. After April 29, 2016, using the “file and suspend” method no longer creates a spousal benefit. The right of a spouse to claim spousal benefits depends upon the other spouse actually receiving benefits.

The second session was a review of the basis consistency and information reporting requirements for executors. The basis consistency provisions for property received from a decedent were enacted as Section 2004 of the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, which extends funding of the “Highway Trust Fund” through October 29, 2015, and which was signed into law July 31, 2015. If the estate is required to file an estate tax return, the executor is required to report valuation information reports to both the recipients (i.e., “each person acquiring any interest in property included in the decedent’s gross estate”) and the IRS. Estates that file returns “for the sole purpose of making an allocation or election respecting the generation-skipping transfer tax” or portability are not subject to reporting requirements. The Form 88971 must be furnished to the recipients no later than 30 days after the return’s due date, including extensions (or 30 days after the return is filed, if earlier). The presenter provided a detailed analysis of proper values to report as well as who are the proper beneficiaries to receive the reporting forms.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the topics covered in our blog posts from any of the five days, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the Private Client Services partners that attended the conference this week (Hal Terr, Ted Nappi, Al LaRosa, and Don Scheier).

More from Withum’s Private Client Services Team soon!