Monday, January 18, 2010

Domestic tax havens continued

The article that I just shared (via ShareThis -- great tool) is a bit dated but still relevant, as are many other similar articles. What these articles do not clearly illustrate, however, is the stark contrast among states' tax regimes. For example, in Tennessee (which is still dear to our hearts, incidentally!), a married couple will face several additional tax burdens that do not exist in Florida: (1) a state-level inheritance tax (link -- actually applies as an estate tax) and gift tax (link); (2) the so-called "Hall" income tax on taxable interest and dividends as applied to individuals, business entities, and even trusts (link); and (3) a state and local sales/use tax applying at up to 9.25% (link). Those issues alone might justify changing at least one spouse's domicile to Florida, to say nothing of homestead protections and tax benefits, superior tenancy by the entirety (joint marital property) protection, and better protection for annuities and life insurance. I do not think that many of the folks who have left Florida in recent years have considered some of these factors, particularly if they were facing financial difficulties (unless a job in another state resolved their issues). My summary chart/matrix posted on our website compares Florida to several key Southeastern states, which are ironically better than many other states in terms of tax burdens and even protections and estate/trust laws. Florida is truly a domestic tax haven when compared to other states.

Tax Havens: States with Favorable & Friendly Tax Situations

Tax Havens: States with Favorable & Friendly Tax Situations

Posted using ShareThis

CCH's excellent site on using trusts and more

For many years, CCH's Business Owner's Toolkit (link) has been one of my favorite sites. We refer many clients and potential clients there because CCH has done an excellent job of summarizing many legal topics relevant to estate/tax planning and also business/corporate law. For example, their coverage on "Using Asset Protection Trusts" (link) is very helpful and continues with succeeding sections on how trusts function.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Additional repeal coverage at Heckerling Institute

Although I will miss the Heckerling Institute this year (only the second time in a decade), those who are attending should note the additional coverage/sessions on repeal of the federal estate tax. Additional details are available on the UM website (here). Advisers dealing with any aspect of estate planning should consider attending the Institute, as it is definitely the best in the country. I will miss participating in the ABA reporting team led by Joe Hodges, Esq., but will be reading their excellent coverage via the ABA-PTL list (here) or the ABA website (here) and would encourage other advisers to do the same.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Summary of estate planning and asset protection laws in Southeast

I recently posted a summary chart/matrix comparing the estate planning, asset protection, and state-level tax laws of four Southeastern jurisdictions (AL, GA, and TN, which often "feed" into Destin, along with FL (current as of August 21, 2009)), which is available <here.