Curious about Trump’s Thoughts on Taxes?

Here is a summary of the April 26th rollout of Trump’s tax plan.  He has proposed a pretty aggressive tax cut and reform package.  It has similarities to some prior Republican tax proposals, but may be too costly for “hawkish” Republicans.  The proposal was not in any technical or legislative form; it was simply rolled out on a one-page fact sheet by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.  There are plenty of holes to fill in among the various provisions and there are likely to be more surprises in the future details.  Mnuchin and Cohn indicated that White House officials would spend the month of May refining the plan with Congressional leadership and turn it into a legislative proposal later this summer.  They are determined to get something done by the end of this year.

Business provisions:  The plan continues Trump’s campaign pledge to lower the corporate rate down to 15 percent (from 35 percent).   Interestingly, it also calls for making the 15 percent rate available to businesses organized as pass-throughs (LLCs, partnerships and S Corps).  The administration acknowledged that there would need to be some anti-abuse rules to prevent business owners from converting wage income into business income.

Deemed repatriation: The proposal repeats a call Trump made during the campaign for a one-time deemed-repatriation tax on previously untaxed earnings held overseas. A specific rate for the one-time levy was not specified. However, Trump’s campaign proposal called for a rate of 10 percent.

Territorial tax system: Significantly, the plan also calls for a transition from a global tax system to a territorial system of taxation, meaning domestic multinational businesses would only be taxed on their income connected with the U.S. instead of worldwide income.   Most other countries around the world have territorial tax systems and this would “even the playing field,” according to Mnuchin.

Individual provisions – lower rates, fewer incentives:  On the individual side, the administration proposes to provide tax relief by compressing the seven income tax rate brackets under current law (ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent) to three brackets of 10, 25, and 35 percent. This is similar to what Trump proposed on the campaign trail in 2016, although that plan called for a bottom rate of 12 percent and a top rate of 33 percent.  It did not specify income thresholds for the rate brackets, but indicated that this would be worked out with congressional leaders

Capital gains: Trump would repeal the 3.8 percent surtax on net investment income that was enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.  The tax rate on capital gains would remain at 20 percent as under current law.

Standard deduction: The plan calls for increasing the standard deduction to $24,000 for joint filers and $12,000 for individuals.  During the presidential campaign, Trump called for hiking the standard deduction to $30,000 for joint filers and $15,000 for individuals.  This is designed to assist middle income families.

AMT: The plan also repeats proposals made during the presidential campaign to repeal the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT).  This is necessary given the proposed new tax rates, or else our tax system would effectively become AMT (as it did when Bush enacted lower rates in 2001).

New incentives for child care expenses: The plan includes a proposal to provide tax relief to families facing child and dependent care expenses. Although no specifics were provided, Trump has previously offered a series of proposals that have included: an above-the line deduction for taxpayers facing certain child care and elder care expenses, a new tax-preferred savings account to encourage families to set aside funds for caregiving expenses, and expanded incentives for employers who offer on-site child care to their employees.

Many current incentives targeted for elimination: The administration also proposes to simplify the tax rules for individuals by eliminating “targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers.” Although no details were provided, it was stated that the administration intends to review all current law tax incentives except for those tied to the mortgage interest deduction and charitable giving.  An example given of such a provision was the deduction for state and local taxes.  During the campaign, Trump also proposed to cap itemized deductions at $200,000 for joint filers and $100,000 for single filers.

Estate Tax Repeal:  Trump restated his desire to repeal the estate tax.  However, there was no indication whether it would be replaced with a capital gain tax, as he hinted during his campaign.  There was also no mention of the future of the generation skipping tax.

What was not mentioned was how this tax cut and reform package would be paid for as part of the budget deficit.  This should make for an interesting discussion with Congressional leadership of both parties.  We’ll keep you updated as things progress over the summer (and probably fall).

Written by: John Schuman, JD, CFP®

Is it time to hire a specialized advisor to run your company’s 401(k) plan?

While you may be great at running your company, you might not have the expertise to run the 401(k) plan for your employees.  The Retirement Plans Services team at Budros, Ruhlin & Roe is dedicated to helping you manage your liability as a plan sponsor and help you establish a fiduciary process to maintain a compliant plan.

Why should you hire a fiduciary specialist to manage your company’s plan?

Due to rule changes enacted by the Department of Labor (DOL), retirement plan sponsors will face tighter regulations. The right retirement plan advisory firm has an experienced team that can help you minimize risks such as lawsuits, accusations of providing inadequate and/or overly expensive investment options, DOL audits and penalties for noncompliance.   Many times, the advisor will recommend the creation of an Investment or Retirement Committee within your company, which can help to choose the menu of funds the plan will invest in. Additionally, the advisor can work with your employees through group and individual meetings to provide retirement education to your employees.

Many plan sponsors are enlisting the advice of specialist advisors, such as Chartered Retirement Plan Specialists (CRPS®), who have expertise in the process of designing, installing and maintaining company retirement plans, and Accredited Investment Fiduciaries (AIF®), who are trained to help you fulfill your fiduciary responsibilities.   Budros, Ruhlin & Roe employs both CRPS® and AIF® professionals, who, as a team, can provide you with personal comfort and your employees with the opportunity and resources needed to plan and save for retirement.

What information will I have to provide in an initial inquiry?

A retirement plan advisor, like Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, may ask you the following about your current plan:

  • Number of plan participants
  • Amount of plan assets
  • How expenses are paid
  • Available investment options
  • Office location(s)

The advisor will use this information to better understand your company’s retirement plan and its participants, so they can then work with you to meet your goals and responsibility as a plan sponsor.

How can BRR help?

Choosing the right partner to help you fulfill your responsibilities shouldn’t be done without due diligence. For over 30 years, our team of experts have worked in a fiduciary capacity to serve our clients. Our dedicated Retirement Plans Services team can assist with:

  • Streamlining your fiduciary role
  • Comparing available third party administrators (TPAs) and record keeper providers
  • Creating and reviewing investment policy statements
  • Providing education to employees to encourage plan contributions

Contact our team today at info@b-r-r.com to start the conversation.

Written by Emily Zeller, CRPS®

Estate Planning for Blended Families

According to Smartstepfamilies.com, 40% of married couples with children in the US are step-couples—meaning at least one partner has a child (under the age of 18) from a previous relationship [1].  Now a days, blended or step-families are becoming more of the norm.  A blended family brings together assets, debts, and children, most often with different values and family dynamics. These types of families can present many challenges when it comes to estate planning. Each case is unique and requires a step-by-step review by a financial planner to ensure that the estate plan is well developed and creates harmony in the family. Working with a financial planner, who can act as an objective third party, to develop your estate plan can alleviate stress, anxiety and disagreements that may arise.

Before you meet with a financial planner, it’s recommended that you discuss your estate planning goals with your spouse. What retirement accounts do you have? Do you have financial obligations to your children from a previous marriage? To whom do you want to leave the property you own? What family heirlooms do you want to pass down? Write down all your accounts including retirement and investment accounts.

During your meeting with a financial planner, the planner will gather data from you and your spouse including assets, previous settlements and debts during a detailed interview. This will allow the planner to clearly understand all financial obligations each spouse has. In addition, the planner will also review beneficiaries of all accounts, as very often, clients forget to update this information when they divorce or remarry.

Once your planner has gathered all the data, he or she, in partnership with your attorney(s), can make suggestions on the best course of action for you and your family. Some options may include:

  • Non-reciprocal Will: This type of agreement gives part of your estate to your surviving spouse and part to your children. These types of wills will look different for each person.
  • Trust(s): Trusts are often used to separate assets and property between the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased spouse.
  • Life Insurance: You can purchase life insurance to either provide for the surviving spouse or to provide for the children of the first spouse. It’s most common to purchase life insurance to provide for the children.
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT): An ILIT is designed to own a life insurance policy. You can transfer ownership of an existing policy to the ILIT after it’s been formed or the trust can purchase the policy directly. You can’t act as a trustee for the trust; your spouse, adult children, friend, attorney or financial institution can serve as a trustee.
  • Family Limited Partnership (FLP) or Limited Liability Company (LLC) is comprised of family members to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family’s assets into one single family-owned business partnership that are split into shares owned by the family members.

Once you have reviewed all your options and determined the best course of action for your family, make sure family members are aware of your estate plan. Death is a stressful time for the surviving family members; a detailed estate plan alleviates stress post-death.

 

[1] http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is generic and not specific. Its purpose is to introduce the public to estate planning terms. Laws vary by states and each case is unique. Working with licensed financial and legal experts is recommended to detail your estate plan.

Finding the Value Abroad: BRR’s Chief Investment Officer, Dan Roe provides his insights on developing markets

Chief Investment Officer, Dan Roe was recently featured in Barron’s April 24th issue. Dan touched upon key market trends that he anticipates seeing over the next five to seven years. Given the current market outlook, Roe see opportunities in international equities and multisector bond strategies. He believes President Trump will be overall net positive for the markets, but executing his agenda ” is going to take more time than the most optimistic Trump supporters through.”

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