Planning for Life

What's In the New Tax Law?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 26, 2017

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By Harry S. Margolis

While it will take some time to understand all of the effects of the new tax law, and most of it has to do with reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, here's some of what we know that relates to individual taxpayers. But before we get into the details, be aware that almost everything listed below sunsets after 2025, with the tax structure reverting to its current form in 2026 unless Congress acts between now and then. The corporate tax rate cut does not sunset. Here are the principal changes:

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Topics: income taxes, estate taxes, tax law

What Would the House Tax Bill Mean for Seniors?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 7, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

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Perhaps we shouldn't be concerned with the House Republicans' proposed tax bill. With no Democratic support, a slim Republican majority in both houses, and a somewhat more moderate Republican majority in the Senate, it is unlikely to become law in its current form, if at all. On the other hand, the Republicans need a victory and will do everything they can to pass the law in something close to its current form.

So, what does it mean for seniors and people with disabilities? The two largest impacts would probably result from the projected loss of tax revenue and the elimination of the medical expense deduction.

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Topics: Medicare, income taxes, seniors, Medicaid

Trump Tax Plan May Discourage Charitable Deductions

Posted by Anthony Bushu on February 8, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Several of President Donald Trump's tax plans have been described as threats to the ability of charities to raise money. While I oppose just about everything the new president stands for, there's one tax proposal I can get behind -- limiting total annual itemized deductions to $100,000 per taxpayer ($200,000 per couple).

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Topics: income taxes, estate taxes, tax law

Announcing the Creation of the Trump Policy Analysis Group Focusing on Older Americans and Individuals with Special Needs

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 7, 2016

Five leading elder law attorneys have created theTrump Policy Analysis Group (TPAG)[1] to consider probable changes in law that will affect older Americans and those with special needs.  Initially TPAG will focus on entitlements, public benefits, tax, special needs planning, and veterans’ benefits.

TPAG Members and Experience

Michael Gilfix of Palo Alto, California, A. Frank Johns of Greensboro, North Carolina, Harry S. Margolis of Boston, Tim Nay of Portland, Oregon, and Vincent J. Russo of Long Beach, New York, together have over 160 years experience advising individuals and families and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tax, long-term care, veterans’ benefits, and special needs planning.  They are established authors, speakers, and experts and include founders and leaders of national organizations, including the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, addressing the needs of aging and vulnerable populations.

Following is their initial analysis.

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Topics: Medicare, social security, income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, Medicaid

Is Your Trust Subject to Massachusetts Income Tax?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 8, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Is your trust subject to Massachusetts income taxes? Probably it is. But probably it also pays no income tax so it doesn't matter. I'll explain the reasons why below.

In contrast, the 35 trusts in question in the case of Bank of America, N.A., vs. Commissioner of Revenue (SJC-11995, July 11, 2016), do have to pay income taxes. The Bank of America argued that when it acts as trustee its trusts should not be subject to Massachusetts income tax because (1) as a corporation it's not a "natural person" and (2) it doesn't have sufficient nexus with Massachusetts to be considered an "inhabitant" of the state for this purpose. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in this decision disagrees, upholding the decision of the Appellate Tax Board to tax the income of these trusts.

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Topics: trusts, income taxes

5 Rules You Need to Know About the Tax on Capital Gains

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 22, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

There are many types of taxes out there: income, sales, real estate, estate, excise and capital gain. The tax you may be able to avoid or minimize most through planning is the tax on capital gains. Here's what you need to know to do such planning:

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Topics: income taxes, capital gains taxes

4 Tax Benefits Available to Baby Boomers Caring for Seniors

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 8, 2014

Increasingly, federal and state governments are providing assistance to family members caring for seniors. Some of these programs involve direct payment through Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts), such as for personal care attendants or adult foster care. (Click here to learn more about these programs.)

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Topics: long-term care planning, income taxes

How Are My Social Security Benefits Taxed?

Posted by Sarah Foster on February 24, 2014

By Sarah Foster

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Topics: social security, income taxes

Do I Need to Pay Income Taxes on My Social Security Benefits?

Posted by Rachel Sandler on February 10, 2014

By Sarah Foster

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Topics: social security, special needs planning, income taxes

Massachusetts Taxes Below National Average

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 30, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Massachusetts, income taxes, Estate Planning

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