COVID-19 and Personal Bankruptcy for Small Business Owners

Our Clients generally are not needful of this relief, or appropriate candidates for it—but we felt this is very important for the community to know, and to pass on.  I have a long relationship with Andy, and consider him a wonderful resource. 4/16/2020  Author: Andrew M. Thaler Esq. Most small business owners unavoidably have to either incur business debt in their own name (think of an American Express Card) or personally guarantee business debt. The Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on small business.  Many small businesses will simply not be able to weather the storm and survive. In this scenario, an inability of non-operating companies to pay its debts will leave small business owners with personal liability on business debt. Now is the time […]

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Deferrals of Insurance Premium Payments in NYS

From the NYS Dept of Financial Services— Regulations will be issued in the near future allowing consumers and small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to defer paying health insurance premiums through June 1, 2020. Details will be available once the regulation has been issued. Consumers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying life insurance premiums for 90 days. Consumers and small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance for 60 days Premium finance agencies are required to provide same relief as insurers.

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Virtual Notary Now in New York by Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order

Great News for those of us trying to help our clients stay safe, Effective March 19th: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing for documents to be notarized virtually using audio-video technology, which those in the real estate industry say is a necessary step to keep business moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the executive order, Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency, any “notarial act that is required under New York State law” is allowed to be performed using audio-video technology if the person seeking the notary’s services, if not personally known to the notary, presents valid photo ID to the notary during the video conference. According to the executive order, the notary and […]

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Planning in a Disaster

We appear to be entering a new and terrible phase of this nightmare, where access to adequate health care becomes impossible in an overloaded system.  Our dread and anxiety become compounded by uncertainty about how long this phase could continue–hopefully just weeks, and not (many) months. Many of our friends, neighbors and our clients have the resources to withstand the loss of work, business, and income.  The sadness we feel for those who do not is a hard burden to bear, and we hope you all find ways to help and support those whose families are truly upended and ruined.  It is difficult to think that beyond our own communities, lay even more vulnerable populations, in dense Brazilian Favelas, slums in India, or overcrowded refugee […]

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Tax Planning for Wealth Transfers

The game has changed, and we do expect estate taxes to be repealed next year by the new administration and congress. Some things are unclear: we may see a phase-out of the federal estate tax over a five or six year period, instead of all at once in 2017.  The effective date could be in January, or perhaps at the end of the year.  We anticipate that federal gift taxes could also be repealed.  We further expect that “step up in basis” will be repealed, replaced by a capital gains tax on inherited property, similar to the Canadian system.  Accordingly, planning is continuing to focus on the income tax ramifications of property transfers, but as the prior post on this blog will show, capital gains […]

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Trump Tax Proposals

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal: “Income-tax rates: Both Messrs. Trump’s and Ryan’s plans would consolidate the current rates on “ordinary” income such as wages and interest from seven brackets to just three—12%, 25% and 33%. It would also make changes to the calculation of “taxable income.” The top rate of 33% would take effect at about $225,000 of taxable income for married couples; currently the top rate of 39.6% kicks in at $467,000 for couples. The top rate for singles under Mr. Trump’s plan would take effect at about $113,000, compared with $415,000 now, according to the Tax Policy Center in Washington. In 2016 the 33% rate takes effect at about $231,000 of taxable income for married couples and $190,000 for singles.   The upshot is […]

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Two Risks in Retirement Planning that are Frequently Ignored

Retirees experience heightened vulnerability to “sequence-of-returns risk” once they are spending from their investment portfolio.  Poor returns early in retirement can force the sustainable withdrawal rate well below what is implied by long-term average market returns.  The returns experienced near your retirement date matter a lot more than most people realize.  Retiring at the start of a bear market is incredibly dangerous.  You might enjoy positive average market returns over 30 years of investing, but if negative returns are experienced in the early stages when you start spending from your portfolio, wealth can deplete rapidly through withdrawals, leaving a much smaller nest egg to benefit from any market recovery, even with the same average returns over a long period of time. Retirees face the risk […]

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Obama’s Final Budget Proposal Continues to Address Estate Planning Issues

The Administration included in its 2017 budget proposals two new proposals regarding the reporting of cost basis for persons receiving inherited property, and to require donees to report their basis consistently with that of the donor with respect to lifetime gifts reported on gift tax returns. It also repeats several former estate planning-related proposals, including: (a) simplifying the income tax limitations on charitable deductions for gifts to private foundations; (b) requiring that GRATs have a minimum length of 10 years and a minimum remainder of 25 percent of the value of the transferred assets (or $500,000, if greater); (c) requiring a person who buys an interest in an existing life insurance contract with a death benefit of $500,000 or more to report the purchase and report […]

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