Identifying relevant fraud risk factors
Under the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping tax (GST) lifetime exemption amounts have now increased to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for married couples. After increasing with inflation each year through 2025, the exemption amounts will revert back to the 2017 levels ($5,490,000 and $10,980,000) on Jan. 1, 2026. These substantial, yet temporary, increases in the exemption amounts present a unique opportunity for the implementation of various estate planning techniques that will allow the transfer of wealth to future generations.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on Feb. 9, 2018, retroactively extends over 30 tax provisions that had expired at the end of 2016. This one year extension applies to the extended provisions and is effective for 2017 only. Many of the extended provisions are related to energy credits which are especially important for businesses and individual taxpayers.
Among the data exposed in the Equifax breach of 2017 were Social Security numbers, which thieves can use to file a fraudulent tax return using taxpayer information obtained in the breach. Tax-related identity theft is one of the top tax scams on the IRS "Dirty Dozen" list and the breach will exacerbate that problem.
Twenty years! That's how long Roth IRAs have been around. In the year 2000 only about $77 billion was invested in these types of accounts but by 2017 it is estimated that there is almost $3 trillion in Roth IRAs. While these accounts have enjoyed explosive growth over two decades, many things are not fully understood about this tax-free retirement account.
Beginning in 2018, regardless of when incurred, home equity loan interest is generally not deductible under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The IRS has issued clarifying guidance that taxpayers, in certain situations, can continue to deduct interest on a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage, as mortgage interest. All the interest paid on these types of loans is deductible if they are secured by a qualified residence and the total loans do not exceed the home's cost. Also, the total amount of these loans cannot exceed $750,000, reduced to $375,000 for taxpayers filing as married filing separate.