By Leanne Broyles, Esq.
What if you could take a portion of your hard-earned wealth, lock it up from your creditors, but keep the key for yourself? It sounds too good to be true, but the Domestic Asset Protection Trust provides a very real and very valuable estate planning tool for achieving this objective.
On March 23, 2018, the IRS issued IR-2018-71, reminding taxpayers that they must report income from virtual currency transactions on their income tax returns. The IRS defined virtual currency as "a digital representation of value that functions in the same manner as a country's traditional currency." The IRS emphasized that, as with any other property transactions, virtual currency transactions are taxable.
By Mary Lundstedt, Esq.
Cryptocurrency start-up firms sometimes attempt to raise funding for an original cryptocurrency venture through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Typically, the firm presents a whitepaper plan detailing the: (1) project requiring funding, (2) amount of funding needed, (3) amount of cryptocurrency that investors will retain, (4) specific currency accepted, and (5) timeline for the ICO campaign. Once the campaign is underway, the early project supporters purchase some of the cryptocurrency with legal tender or other cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrencies distributed in this manner is often referred to as “tokens” and are analogous to company shares that are issued to investors in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Assuming the money raised in this process is sufficient to meet the firm’s needs, the funds are used to complete the project. If the funds are insufficient, the money is returned to the investors and the ICO is considered unsuccessful. Obviously, the motivation for early investors is the potential for the plan’s success, which could result in a higher value of the cryptocurrency than the amount for which they purchased it.
If you owe taxes to the IRS, filing for bankruptcy protection may be one of the ways in which you could discharge that tax debt. However, it is important to remember that bankruptcy is not often a cure-all when it comes to tax debt. There are some circumstances under which you may not be able to discharge a tax debt by filing for bankruptcy. The laws surrounding tax liability can be complex and you may require the guidance and counsel of an experienced Florida tax attorney to lead you through what could very well be an intimidating process.
By Mary Lundstedt
According to the February 21, 2018, IRS news release, IR-2018-32, there are still circumstances for which interest on home equity loans is still deductible under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The IRS has now clarified that "taxpayers can often still deduct interest on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage, regardless of how the loan is labelled [emphasis added]."
By Mary Lundstedt
As cryptocurrency continues to inspire global awareness and dialogue, the news in the US has mostly focused on its regulation as a commodity; however, very recently, states like Arizona and Georgia are on the brink of recognizing Bitcoin, and its kin, as currency--allowing people to pay their tax bill with it. While neither state has finalized the proposed laws, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1091 was passed on February 8, 2018, and now awaits the consideration of Arizona’s House of Representatives. As it stands in Arizona, the cryptocurrency used to pay the tax bill would be converted to dollars at the prevailing rate.
By Eli S. Noff, Partner and Mary Lundstedt
On March 13, 2018, the IRS issued news release, IR-2018-52, announcing that the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) will close on September 28, 2018. The OVDP’s objective has enabled willful US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign assets to become compliant with US tax laws, while simultaneously avoiding substantial statutory civil penalties and virtually eliminating their risk of criminal prosecution. Now, willful US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial assets have just over 6 months to use the program.
U.S. persons who own 10% or more of the shares of a foreign corporation may need to act quickly on a new rule that can require inclusion of all foreign corporate earnings accumulated after 1986. This one-time tax obligation applies to 2017 tax returns with respect to earnings of calendar-year foreign companies. The good news is that the tax liability resulting from this provision can be paid over eight years (or in certain cases deferred indefinitely). However, in order to take advantage of the payment plan, both a timely election and timely first payment are required.
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has assembled a team of elite criminal agents to investigate whether cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple, are being used to evade taxes. Chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, Don Fort, revealed in a recent interview the addition of 10 new investigators to the Criminal Investigation Division. “It’s possible to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the same fashion as foreign bank accounts to facilitate tax evasion,” he stated. In addition to investigating international tax compliance cases, the team will work with international criminal agencies to investigate unlicensed exchanges.
As all of us paying attention to the recent tax reform suspected that: