Free Linked IN Seminar- Set Up Your Company Page!

Complimentary Seminar for Health Care Practices

Linking to Linked in

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

At Provident Bank, 100 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830

LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool which can bring more patients to your medical practice.

Even if your current website is deficient, LinkedIn can direct visitors via Google to your website!

Your competitors are doing this already! 

TOPICS:

  • Various Goals of LinkedIn –Attract New Patients

  • Setting Up Your Company Page

  • Importance of Your Settings

  • Promoting Your Specialties

  • Communicating With Your Patients

  • Significance of Public Profile

  • Promoting your practice via LinkedIN Groups

     Please RSVP to Pamela at pma@ua-cpas.com or 732-777-1158

Provide for Your Loved Ones with Prudent Estate Planning

The recent, tragic passing of Robin Williams reminds us of just how fleeting life can be. The void in his loved ones’ hearts may never be filled, but the popular entertainer did take steps to care for them financially by engaging in effective estate planning. Among other acts, Williams reportedly created a revocable trust before he died. 

Revocable Trusts

Sometimes known as “living trusts,” a revocable trust refers to a fiduciary arrangement that you (the grantor) create during your lifetime. A living trust can help a grantor manage his or her assets, and protect the individual if he becomes ill, disabled or challenged as he ages.  

During your lifetime, you (the grantor) may transfer property to the “living trust,” which will be administered by a trustee you have selected; and during that time he or she is generally responsible for managing the property as you direct, for your benefit.  

Once you pass away, the trustee is generally obligated to distribute the trust property to your beneficiaries, or to continue to hold it and manage it for the benefit of the beneficiaries.  

How Do Wills and Trusts Differ?

Although both a will and a revocable trust can provide for the distribution of property upon your demise, a revocable trust can also provide you with a way to manage your property during your lifetime. A revocable,

or “living” trust may also enable the trustee to manage the property and use it for your benefit, and your family’s benefit, if you become incapacitated. Of course, the trust must be adequately funded when you are mentally competent to be useful. If the revocable trust is properly funded and structured, it can help avoid the need for a court-appointed guardian, if you become mentally incapacitated.

Most revocable trusts will not help a grantor avoid estate tax, but they may help you avoid probate, which is generally not expensive in New Jersey but may still expose the will to public scrutiny.

Talk To Your Trusted Advisor First

In some circumstances, particularly when a special needs individual is involved, it may be advisable to establish a kind of irrevocable trust called a “Special Needs Trust.” An SNT may enable the grantor to ensure that his or her assets will enhance the lifestyle of the special needs person without impairing his or her ability to receive government benefits. 

There are many issues to consider regarding the establishment of a trust, so before making a decision about setting up either a living trust, a will or another approach, it may be advisable to consult with your account and/or attorney, who can help you to consider the tax and other implications and the costs and benefits.  

Resolve Your NJ Tax Debt, No Penalties!

Businesses and individuals facing unpaid New Jersey tax liabilities may be able to get a break on penalties—although not on interest—according to a recent NJ Division of Taxation announcement. But you have to act quickly. From now until November 17, businesses and individuals with liabilities from tax periods 2005 through 2013 may be able to enter into a “closing agreement” with the Division.

And why should I do this now? Because under this limited-time offer (remember, the clock runs out on November 17) the Division of Taxation will accept—in full and final satisfaction of the outstanding tax liability—an amount that reflects reduced or eliminated penalties, with no charge for collection or recovery fees. Better yet, the tax liability will not be subject to further audit.

Not so good: no refund can be claimed by the taxpayer on this matter. You win some, you lose some.

Here are some more details

• Most penalties can be reduced to zero. But an Amnesty Penalty on taxes due on or after 1/1/2002 and before 2/1/2009 will still apply.

• Interest will not be waived, but it will only be calculated on the tax and reduced penalties (and the penalties may drop to zero, anyway).

• Recovery Fees—a 10% fee on each tax liability that was previously forwarded to the Division’s authorized collection agency—may be waived.

• Also, costs of collection may be eliminated. Normally, if the Division has to collect a tax debt by filing a Certificate of Debt (judgment,) a 10% fee is applied to cover legal and collection costs.

Is there a hitch? Sort of. If you don’t pay the balance due by November 17, 2014 or provide sufficient proof that you or your businesses do not owe it, then any and all penalties, interest, costs of collection, and/or recovery fees will remain due. The state may also pursue further collection activity. You may pay the balance due in one lump sum or you may make several payments to satisfy the amount due. But the full amount must be paid by November 17, 2014 in order to take advantage of the reduced penalties, and eliminated costs of collection, and recovery fees.

For assistance please contact our Tax Manager, Steven Citron. You may also visit the NJ Division of Taxation website for more information at Resolve Your Tax Debt – Fall 2014

Click Here

 

Special Needs Trusts Win Big in NJ Supreme Court

A recent NJ Supreme Court decision could have a major impact on firefighters and police officers who are concerned about providing for their special-needs children.

The Case, Saccone v. Board of Trustees, was filed on behalf of Thomas Saccone, a retired Newark firefighter whose son, Anthony, suffers from a “severe mental disability.” The elder Saccone receives pension payments from the NJ Police & Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS); and his wife and son are entitled to receive pension death benefits if Saccone predeceases them.

But Anthony receives public assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, that are subject to income limitations. The survivors’ benefits could put Anthony over the income cap, possibly eliminating his eligibility for public assistance.

Thomas wanted to name a special needs trust (SNT) as the beneficiary of Anthony’s PFRS benefits. The trust funds would supplement Anthony’s needs, but would be shielded from the income test, and he would continue to be eligible for public assistance benefits. The PFRS rules did not permit Thomas Saccone to change the individual he originally named as beneficiary and the retirement fund’s board rejected Thomas’ request to name the SNT as the beneficiary. The NJ Appellate Division upheld the board’s decision.

The Court’s decision:Finally, in mid-September, the NJ Supreme Court ruled that the disabled child of a retired member of the PFRS may have his survivors’ benefits paid into a first-party SNT created for him. The Court cited strong public policy favoring special needs trusts..[1]


[1] As reflected in NJ Statutes 3B:11-36 & 37, which were authored by Lawrence Friedman on behalf of the NJ State Bar Association.

 

The Court’s ruling makes it easier for certain individuals to ensure that their special-needs children continue to receive public assistance with a SNT. But to qualify a special needs trust should be carefully structured by a competent attorney. 

Three amici, among them, the Guardianship Association of NJ (GANJI), argued in support of Saccone.  Urbach & Avraham Partner, Pamela Avraham, has been on the Board of GANJI for many years. We commend the tremendous work of GANJI, and of three GANJI members; Daniel Jurkovic who argued the cause for GANJI, Donald Vanarelli, Saccone’s attorney and Shirley Whitenack who was counsel for amicus Special Needs Alliance.

  

NJ Alimony Reform Bill Signed Into Law by Governor Christie

Major changes are here for those currently going through a divorce. On September 10, 2014 Governor Christie signed the NJ Alimony Reform Bill, bill A845, into law.

What does the new law accomplish?

• For marriages less than 20 years, the length of alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage unless a judge determines that there are “exceptional circumstances”.

• Judges would be able to end alimony payments if the recipient cohabits with a partner, even if they don’t get married.

• Judges would have the authority to modify alimony payments if the payer has been unemployed for more than 90 days.

• The term “permanent alimony” would be replaced with the language “open duration alimony”.

While the new law applies primarily to future divorces, it does allow for a “rebuttable presumption” that alimony payments will end once the ex-spouse making the payments reaches the full retirement age for Social Security.

Jeff Urbach, Partner at Urbach and Avraham, CPAs spearheads our litigation support department which specializes in matrimonial accounting. Jeff and his team of valuation analysts and fraud examiners guide couples and their attorneys through the myriad of financial and tax issues of divorce. Please call our office if you or someone you know is going through a divorce to see how we can assist and what effect the new law could have on your situation.

Free Seminar: Learn What Harms and Helps your Credit Score

Complimentary Seminar at Urbach & Avraham, CPAs

How to Understand and Improve Your Credit Score

Presented by Kevin Kerzner of Credit Distinction LLC

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 8:15 – 9:30AM

 At Our Office: 1581 Route 27, Suite 201, Edison, NJ

 Learn What Harms and Helps your Credit Score.

Learn Your Rights and the Real World Effect of Your Credit Score

Please RSVP to Pamela at pma@ua-cpas.com or 732-777-1158

 

NJ Employers-Reduce Your Unemployment Tax Rates-August Deadline

Did you check your NJ SUI rates?
In July all New Jersey employers received a Notice of Employer Contribution Rates. This is not a bill, but rather a summary of the manner

in which the NJ Department of Labor calculates your employer contribution rate for unemployment and  disability. This form enables you

to determine whether a voluntary  contribution would save you money in the subsequent year.

Can I reduce the NJ SUI rate?
A voluntary contribution increases the reserve balance and may reduce your contribution rate. Each employer should calculate the amount

of the voluntary contribution required to reduce the rate. The required voluntary payment should be compared to the savings realized from a lower rate.

The unemployment expense is a substantial component of the labor cost of staffing agencies. You should give it careful attention. If you wish to make a

voluntary contribution to your reserve balance you have 30 days from the date of your notice to do so. We recommend that you verify all the NJ DOL

calculations including the amount of the employer contributions and the benefits charged to your account. Report any discrepancies to the NJ Dept. of Labor.

By making a voluntary payment, employers may reduce the NJ SUI rate for the coming year. Please be aware that this payment increases your reserve

balance and helps reduce the NJ SUI rate in future years as well.

Domestic Partners: Do it New Jersey’s way or NJ says, “No Way”

The Tax Court ruled against a plaintiff that claimed she was a domestic partner of the decedents and exempt from Inheritance Tax as a Class A beneficiary. The Story:
Claudette Lugano and Armin Lovi lived together from at least 2003 until his death in 2011. They had filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) but not an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with any local registrar as required by NJ law per the provisions of the Domestic Partnership Act.
Because they had filed with the FRB, she was entitled to benefits under their retirement plan. However, NJ refused to treat her as a Class A beneficiary and to exempt her from NJ Inheritance Tax.

Bottom line; She’s a domestic partner as far as the Federal Reserve Bank is concerned but not for NJ purposes.

Creative Advanced Divorce Tax Tip – Monetizing NOLs

All family law attorneys understand the basics of income taxation as it relates to a marital dissolution: Alimony is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payor and child support is not taxable.

In complex cases with closely held businesses, it’s important the attorney (or an expert) review not only the business tax returns, but, the personal income tax returns as well.

If one spouse owns all or part of a pass-through entity such as a Subchapter S or Partnership, there may be hidden assets not usually found on the marital balance sheet. Those assets are called Net Operating Losses (NOLs) carry-forwards.

Taxpayers can carry back these losses two years (and get refunds) and/or elect to carry them forward against future income. (NOLs can be carried forward twenty years.)

Well, guess what? When assets are split, the NOLs travel with the business owner. And, assuming its material, they have a value which needs to be monetized. Why does it have value? Because it will save the business owner spouse $ X amount of taxes over the next twenty (or less).

A very, very simple example. The couple divorces and a $1,000,000 NOL travels with the husband. (No you can’t split the NOL) The non-titled spouse’s lawyer never thought to monetize the NOL (or even the expert CPA, who is a generalist without matrimonial litigation experience).

Two years after the divorce the company turns around and the owner spouse has income of $200,000. Pick your bracket, whether it’s 28% or 35% or 40% (I rounded.). The NOL was could be worth somewhere between $56,000 and $80,000. Three years after the divorce, the owner spouse has income of $200,000. Another $56,000 to $80,000. You get the picture. What if all the NOL is used? That can be a savings of possibly as much $400,000.

Failure to monetize this asset and award the non-titled spouse an off-set, can be the basis of a malpractice suit!

New Options for Foreign Bank Account Owners

What is the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?
Since 2009, the IRS has announced various initiatives for taxpayers with unreported foreign assets. The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) requires filing 8 years amended tax returns and 8 years of Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR). In addition to paying 8 years of taxes, taxpayers must pay a 20% “accuracy” penalty on the tax plus interest. Taxpayers must also pay a 27 ½ % “FBAR-related” penalty on the highest balance of their foreign assets in the 8 year period (includes investments other than bank accounts).

What are the Changes?
On June 18, 2014 the IRS announced major changes to the OVDP which results in three possible “routes”: First, U.S. residents who did not report foreign income or assets but who certify that their non-compliance was not “willful”, do not need to enter the OVDP, but are now able to address the issue by filing only 3 years amended returns and 6 years of FBARs. No income tax penalty and only a 5% “FBAR-related” penalty are due.

Second, those who cannot certify that their non-compliance was not “willful” can still join the OVDP. The June 2014 changes create a third category of those who enter the program after it becomes public that their foreign bank is under investigation by the IRS or Dept. of Justice. For these taxpayers, the June 2014 changes increase the 27 ½ % penalty to 50% of the highest balance (of the taxpayer’s foreign assets during the preceding 8 years). This 50% penalty can be avoided only by completing the detailed preclearance filing procedures before August 3, 2014.
For those who can’t certify non-willful non-compliance, the OVDP is the only way to cap their civil tax exposure and to avoid criminal prosecution and possible jail time.

What are the Risks?
For those who choose to certify that their non-compliance was not “willful”, be aware that there is NO protection against criminal prosecution if the IRS finds the Taxpayer’s certification of non-willful conduct not to be true. Furthermore, the taxpayer will then be considered ineligible to participate in the OVDP.

What Should I Do Now?
Taxpayers need to ask themselves some hard questions in order to determine if they are eligible to claim that their non-compliance was “non-willful”. Non-willful conduct is defined by the IRS as conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.

Time is Running Out
The 2014 OVDP does not have a final end date. However, the IRS has reserved the right to end the program at any time. We work with several law firms who specialize in this area. Together with your legal counsel we can help you evaluate the most suitable alternative.

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