Estate

Want to give this year? Here’s what you need to know

Posted on Dec 22, 2017

Giving on a yearly basis could trim both your estate and income taxes. First, there’s the annual exclusion for gifts. Currently, you can give $14,000 annually to any number of recipients without paying federal gift tax. Married couples can double this amount by gift-splitting – a gift of $28,000 from one spouse is treated as if it came half from each. Why giving is a two-way street Gifts do more than help out children who need the money. They also reduce your estate so your estate will pay less estate tax upon your death. Apart from annual gift giving, you can currently transfer (during your lifetime or through your estate) a total of $5.49 million with no estate or gift tax liability. On amounts above this threshold, you or your estate will be faced with taxes at the current top rate of 40 percent. So a consistent program of annual gift giving might create substantial tax savings. Note that gifts to individuals do not entitle you to an income tax deduction. A gift isn’t a charitable contribution. Conversely, a gift doesn’t constitute taxable income to the recipient. Gifts of income-producing property may, however, reduce your taxable income. Once you’ve given the property away, the recipient (not you) receives the income it produces and pays any income tax due on it. Giving can be easy One advantage to annual gift giving is that it is relatively simple to do, especially if you’re giving away cash. Another advantage is flexibility. You’re not locked into anything; you can see how much you can afford to give away each year. You can give away anything – cash, stock, art, real estate, etc. Valuation is the fair market value on the date of the gift. Subsequent appreciation, if any, belongs to the recipient’s estate (not yours). Before you give away assets, be sure you will not need them yourself to provide income in later years. Consider the impact inflation will have on your resources. Proper planning is essential in this area; get professional assistance before you do any gift giving. Contact our office if we can help. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Parents need to do estate planning

Posted on Aug 18, 2017

For a parent, estate planning is especially important. The first priority is to make sure your children are protected in the event that something happens to you. Your estate plan should appoint guardians for your minor children, as well as provide for their financial well-being. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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4 tips to landing your dream home in a seller’s market

Posted on Jun 26, 2017

Here are some suggestions to landing your dream home in our current real estate market. Be nimble, be flexible. Try to investigate new listings quickly – within hours of their first posting, if possible. If you’re interested in a house but an inspection finds a few flaws, you may have to be flexible about accepting a house with a few quirks or in need of some repairs. Make a strong offer. A seller’s market isn’t a time to lowball your first offer on a house you want. If you’ve prepared and set your expectations below your minimum price range, you should be able to make a strong offer to ensure you are among the most attractive bidders. You shouldn’t wildly overpay, but making a strategic offer above the listing price may sweeten the deal enough to close quickly. Earnest money. You may consider offering a meaningful earnest money component to your offer to show you are serious. Just understand that this money is put at risk if you later change your mind. Few strings. Try to make your offer as simple as possible. The more contingencies, the more room for someone else to sneak in and snap up your target home. Flexible move-in dates may help the seller navigate their purchase. Having to sell your home before buying theirs may create a snag versus another...

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FINANCES AFTER THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE

Posted on Jun 22, 2017

The last thing you want to be bothered with when you are grieving is sorting out the finances of your departed loved one. Here are some suggestions to make the process a little easier. Prioritize. Focus on the most pressing tasks you face. Make sure you have access to the right accounts in order to secure living expenses for yourself and any people the departed person supported. Close any of their outstanding debts. Gather documents. Get at least a dozen copies of the death certificate. Insurance companies, government agencies, creditors, and banks will require a copy before they share the departed person’s financial information. Having the person’s financial information ready (including a will, insurance policies and retirement plans) will make the process easier. Notify others. You will need to notify several agencies, institutions and companies of the death. These include the Social Security Administration, the deceased person’s employer, insurance companies, credit bureaus, credit card companies, the post office, utility companies, and creditors. Take time where you can. Some financial issues can wait. Insurance proceeds and inherited assets can remain where they are for six months to a year. When dealing with intense grief, many people make hasty financial decisions they later regret. Make sure you take time to process your grief and address important financial decisions with a clear head. Get professional help. If your loved one has not named an executor of his or her estate, you may be faced with meeting this obligation. If he or she died without a will, each state has laws that affect the settlement process, and it’s probably not something you should tackle on your own. Tax returns may need to be filed, and the tax basis of assets at time of death may need to be established. Working with a financial professional will help you navigate the process and minimize your hassle during a difficult time. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Tax filing responsibilities of estate executors

Posted on May 23, 2017

Your role as an executor or personal administrator of an estate involves a number of responsibilities. Did you know that part of your responsibility involves making sure the necessary tax returns are filed? And there might be more of those than you expect. Here’s an overview: Personal income tax. You may need to file a federal income tax return for the decedent for the prior year as well as the year of death. Both are due by April 15 of the following year, even if the amount of time covered is less than a full year. You can request a six-month extension if you need additional time to gather information. Gift tax. If the individual whose estate you’re administering made gifts in excess of the annual exclusion ($14,000 per person for 2017), a gift tax payment may be required. Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, is due April 15 of the year following the gift. The filing date can be extended six months. Estate income tax. Income earned after death, such as interest on estate assets, is reported on Form 1041, Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. You’ll generally need to file if the estate’s gross income is $600 or more, or if any beneficiary is a nonresident alien. For estates with a December 31 year-end, Form 1041 is due April 15 of the following year. Estate tax. An estate tax return, Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, is required when the fair market value of all estate assets exceeds $5,490,000 (in 2017). One thing to watch for: Spouses can transfer unused portions of the $5,490,000 exemption to each other. This is called the “portability” election. To benefit, you will need to file Form 706 when the total value of the estate is lower than the exemption. Form 706 is due nine months after the date of death. You can request a six-month extension of time to file. Give us a call if you need more information about administering an estate. We’re here to help make your task less stressful. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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