Spear Phishing Emails

The Internal Revenue Service recently instituted a ten-part “Don’t Take the Bait” awareness campaign regarding cybercriminal tactics.  Part One covers Spear Phishing Emails.  This post summarizes the IRS’s information on this topic.

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Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions Will Rise in 2018

The IRS recently announced inflation adjustments to various estate and gift tax items for 2018.

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Churches and 501(c)(3) Status

Must a church file an exemption application in order to be recognized as tax-exempt under I.R.C. § 501(c)(3)?

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Considering Serving as Executor of an Estate Subject to a Tax Lien?

A recent case from the Southern District of Indiana might make you think twice.

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For a Limited Time Only: IRS Grants Extension to Elect Portability

Executors who discovered too late that they should have made a portability election have gotten a reprieve. 

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If You Want an Estate Tax Closing Letter, You Now Have to Ask for It

For estates that are required to file a Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return*, it is advisable not to close the estate until you know that the IRS has completed its examination of the return and has accepted it (either with or without adjustment). Until relatively recently, the IRS would notify you that the return had been accepted by sending an estate tax closing letter. However, that is no longer the case. For estate tax returns filed after June 1, 2015, the IRS will only issue estate tax closing letters upon request. Specifically, the executor must call the IRS at (866) 699-4083 and provide the following information: Name of the decedent; Decedent’s social security number; Date of death. […]

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Amateur Sports and 501(c)(3)

Can an amateur sports league qualify as 501(c)(3) organizations? Yes, but only if the organization is organized and operated for purposes that are not merely recreational and not for the sole benefit of its members. Case in point: an adult men’s baseball league applied for tax-exempt status under I.R.C. § 501(c)(3). It claimed to be exclusively charitable. The stated purposes of the organization were to: Provide strong league play Operate a quality run organization that gives back to players and provides the best experience possible (to including tracking stats, providing prizes for season leaders, playoff series, championship series and All- star game) Promote a healthy lifestyle Provide revenue support to area public high schools in the form of field rental […]

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2018 HSA Limits Announced

The IRS has announced the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2018. For individuals with self-only coverage, the HSA limit will be $3,450. For individuals with with family coverage, the limit will be $6,900. In order to qualify for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a “high deductible health plan.” For calendar year 2018, a “high deductible health plan” is defined as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,350 for self-only coverage or $2,700 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) do not exceed $6,650 for self-only coverage or $13,300 for family coverage. Earlier posts about HSAs: Are HSAs Protected […]

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PLR: CRUT Not Subject to Private Foundation Rules

Grantor executes a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT). CRUTs are normally subject to certain private foundation rules. However, Grantor never claims an income tax or gift tax charitable deduction with respect to the trust. Is the CRUT still subject to the private foundation rules? A quick review of I.R.C. § 4947(a)(2) would suggest the answer is yes. It provides that: In the case of a trust which is not exempt from tax under section 501(a), not all of the unexpired interests in which are devoted to one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B), and which has amounts in trust for which a deduction was allowed under section 170, 545(b)(2), 642(c), 2055, 2106(a)(2), or 2522, section 507 (relating to […]

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IRS Brings Back Private Collection Agencies

The IRS is now using four private collection agencies to assist in collecting overdue taxes from delinquent taxpayers.  The agencies are: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, New York; Performant of Livermore, California; and Pioneer of Horseheads, New York.  Here is how the new process will work: The IRS will send to the taxpayer a letter stating that it has assigned his or her account to a private collection agency (“PCA”). The letter will give the name and contact information for the PCA.  The designated PCA will send a letter to the taxpayer confirming that the IRS has transferred the taxpayer’s account to the PCA. After that, the PCA may contact the taxpayer by phone and mail […]

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