Your Tax, Estate and Business Resource!

Ease and effectiveness

  • Are you paying high taxes without knowing why? Understand & pay less. 
  • Are you unsure of your contracts? Knowledge will protect and empower you.
  • Is your family afraid of what will happen if you die? Plan your estate! 

As a 2017-2018 Super Lawyer, I can show you how to conserve earnings and savings with ease and effectiveness.

Here’s How:

TAXES: I teach them that it is always Tax Season! Every day of the year there are steps you can take to save taxes, and I can help you with them. For more information, see the Individual Tax tab or Business tab or use the Search Box.

CONTRACTS: don’t take risks and sign agreements that you don’t understand. I negotiate contracts that last because they are win-win. They benefit all parties. For more information, see the Business tab or use the Search Box.

YOUR ESTATE: you cannot predict when you will need those estate planning documents. God does not ask your permission before he sends you that invitation. So make sure that you have the best estate plan and that you understand it. For more information, see the Estate Planning and Probate tab or use the Search Box.

This website shows you thousands of ways to save thousands of dollars. So keep on reading. 

If you are a successful business/property owner or employee I may be the only tax and legal adviser that you’ll ever need. Why? Here is why:

⊗ As a tax attorney, I am more than an accountant. I am your legal advocate.
⊗ As a former IRS lawyer, I have inside experience.
⊗ Instead of telling you what you can’t do, I show you how to do it.
⊗ As a former corporate counsel, I negotiate win-win contracts.
⊗ As your legal mentor, I teach you how to make smart, informed decisions.
⊗ I provide ease and effectiveness in the most convoluted tax and legal areas.

Hire Wis & receive:

  1. Professionally prepared tax returns.
  2. Personal tax planning, generated with my Tax Mastery(c) program.
  3. Answers from a LAWYER  based on respected source like Bloomberg Law.
  4. Legal representation against the Internal Revenue Service. 
  5. Considerate, personal estate plans, wills, and trusts.
  6. Representation before the Shelby County Probate Court,
  7. Entertaining seminars.
  8. My WealthWISe e-letter: regularly updates you on fast moving laws.
  9. Win-win contracts for your business that benefit both parties,
  10. Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge that puts you in control.

Do not rely on statements on this website without consulting your own tax professional and providing him or her with all relevant facts.

Check out my Credentials and Testimonials

Curious? Contact me today and experience my services free with a *FREE 1/2 Hour Consultation*.  Bring me a tax return or legal documents and get a half hour of risk-free advice plus valuable materials covering your question.

Posted in Business Law, Taxes, Estate Planning & Probate, Individual Tax, Real estate, investing, Representation before the IRS, Speaking, What's New? | Leave a comment

Individual Tax Savers, Oct.’18

Are you throwing away tax savings?
Most new clients come in for tax preparation and miss tax benefits or fail to qualify for tax benefits because they don’t know what they need to prove. My TAX MASTERY©  report and 2018 Tax Forecast showed my tax return clients tax savings that they miss and what to do in 2018.  If you are not a client, you can come in and I will show you those tax savings and what you need to do to qualify. This article is packed with tax saving ideas.

 

If I prepared your 2017 taxes, my TAX MASTERY © report and 2018 Tax Forecast showed you tax savings that you missed, how to prove them and how to take home tax savings before tax time by adjusting your withholding or estimated tax payments. If I did did not prepare your taxes, now is the perfect time to come in for a Free 1/2 hour consultation.  Then you too will benefit from these incredible tools. Many new clients can pay for the holidays with their tax savings.  
 
How about some tax savers? I can show most of my clients how beat the new “standard deductions” ( $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for joint) with itemized deductions . I teach them how to maximize their itemized deductions like medical expenses, sales taxes, mortgage interest, investment interest and charitable deductions.
My advice: Discuss these items with me: Most of my clients spend a lot more on sales tax than the IRS table amount. Do you? I can help you calculate and show you how to prove it.
My advice: Be sure to deduct investment interest like margin interest or interest on loans to make investments?
My advice: Make charitable contributions of investments that have risen in value.
My advice: Are you under valuing contributions to the Goodwill? I attach a handy charitable deductions report to record yours. I can help you value the gifts.
If you are not a client, call or email today for a Free 1/2 hour consultation.
Posted in Uncategorized

Real Estate Planning Oct. ’18

Less than half of Americans have a will or a trust. Read my July WealthWISe for a really short and understandable overview of estate planning and why you need it now. Now for some surprising information about real estate.

REAL ESTATE TRICKS AND TRAPS:

I bet you can’t guess how many ways you could transfer real estate at death? Here they are. As you read, ask yourself which way is best for you?I hear that less than half of Americans have a will or a trust.

1. Tenancy by the entirety. I hear this all the time, “Well I don’t need estate planning. I own everything with my spouse.” Wrong! Property that you buy with your spouse is held as “tenants by the entirety.” If either of you die the survivor owns the property. That is fine when the first spouse dies, but what happens after the surviving spouse dies?

2. Joint with right of survivorship. If the deed says Joe and Jerry who are not spouses, own “Joint with right of survivorship” it works much like the tenancy by the entirety. Bank and brokerage accounts can also be set up this way.

3. With a will. With a will, the property does to whoever you specify in the will. The will must be approved by the Probate Court, which means it must be properly drafted and witnessed and is subject to the Court’s rules and procedures.

4. Without a will. In Tennessee if an individual dies with no will, hisreal property is inherited by heirs according to state law. In the simplest of situations, like you have one adult child, this situation can be easy enough. For example, I can prepare “affidavits of heirship” executed by an acquaintance of the decedents proving that the children are the sole heirs. I can file them with the Shelby County Register to establish the heirs as owners so that they can transfer the property. The deed does not have to be changed.

5. Defective will. Unless your will states that it revokes prior wills all the wills are read together. A badly drafted will can be a nightmare.

6. Muniment of title. With a will, without Probate. If an estate contains nothing but real estate, I can file the decedent’s will with the Probate Court but not open a Probate estate. The will is called a “Muniment of title,” and it acts like a deed to pass the home to the beneficiary named in the will. This saves most of the cost of probate.

7. Holographic Will. A holographic will is one in which all of the material provisions are in the person’s handwriting and with his signature. It is valid under Tennessee law, but I advise against it. If you have ever had a misunderstanding as the result of a poorly drafted text or email, you can just imagine how difficult it could be to interpret a ten year old will in handwriting when no one knows what the writer’s intentions were. My father made one of the largest fees ever, hundreds of thousands, in a lawsuit trying to interpret a holographic will.

8. Revocable Living Trusts (“RLT”). I advise transferring property by placing it into an RLT except in really simple situations (like you have one adult child). If property is transferred into your RLT, Probate is not required when you die because you are not the owner. It also avoids Probate on property in other states. More importantly, all the other advantages of RLT’s are available, so you can provide for your own incapacity and for minor heirs and for so many other things to make sure your family is taken care of.

Posted in Uncategorized

Individual Tax Planning, Sept 2018

What are you missing? Too often, unfortunately, my clients come in for  tax preparation without qualifying for tax benefits or without proof.  So be sure you have both for some of my favorite itemized deductions: medical, taxes, mortgage, investment interest, charitable. Keep those receipts and proofs of payment.

Medical expenses for 2018-2019 must exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. May include a portion of doctor prescribed home improvements

State and local taxes. You can deduct up to $10,000 in combined state and local income, sales or property taxes. With receipts you can deduct actual sales taxes. Don’t forget  sales tax on boats. cars, home improvements.

Mortgage interest You may deduct interest on 2018 mortgage debt borrowed after 12/15/17 to buy a home up to $750,000. The $1,000,000 limit applies to former debt. Heloc interest new or old is not deductible unless used to purchase your home, a rental property or a business property.

Net investment interest.  Such as margin interest, is deductible up to investment income (reduced by investment expenses). You may elect to count capital gains and qualified dividends.

Charitable deductions. Clients don’t claim enough, like the value of appreciated investments, out of pocket expenses for charitable activities, IRA gifts to charities for taxpayers over 70 1/2, fair market value of items given. We should discuss.

Miscellaneous deductions repealed. In 2018 you can no longer deduct employee deductions, tax preparation fees or investment expenses. I can help you determine if they qualify as business expenses.

Posted in Uncategorized

REVOLUTIONARY ESTATE PLANNING

Why use my RLT Package as opposed to someone else’s. Simple. Normally estate planning is difficult and expensive. Not mine. My estate planning system is so easy and effective that it is revolutionary. Why?

EASY & EFFECTIVE:

EASY FOR THE CLIENT?  Yes. My system is easier. During my years of experience, I have created my own unique RLT Information Package (“RIP”).  I give the client the RIP. The RIP contains two documents: (i) A short, understandable handout from my most popular seminar: “Revocable Living Trust – Where There’s a Will There’s a Waste,” and (ii) my Questionnaire. The Questionnaire asks the right questions — progressive short questions that lead the client through his or her estate planning decisions.

EFFECTIVE? – Effectiveness comes with experience: My grandfather was a Tennessee Circuit Court judge for 37 years. My father practiced estate and probate law for more than 50 years, graded the Tennessee Bar Exam for ten years, and was a Shelby County Probate Court Judge. I have more than 35 years of experience. I learned from them and from my clients.  Enjoy the benefits of my experience! I have solutions for your problems. The RIP saves time and money. I can generally produce your estate plan with a couple of meetings in less than a week.

EFFECTIVE PLANNING: After the client has completed the RIP, he/she is ready for a quick planning meeting with me in which we fine tune the estate plan. That meeting usually takes about an hour. The RIP usually cuts an hour or more from this meeting, saving the client money.

EFFECTIVE DOCUMENTS: After the planning meeting, I review extensive custom estate planning documents on my PC that I and my father developed over the years, documents that I have tested personally with my clients. My I seldom use online documents I own libraries of professional will and trust clauses to deal with unusual situations. Since I am so familiar with these documents, I can produce accurate documents quickly and inexpensively.

EFFECTIVE COMPLETION: Within a week or less I meet with the client, and we review and fine tune estate planning documents and execute the documents. I provide the client a closing letter and discuss steps to make the estate plan effective. The client pays for the estate plan and leaves my office with a great sense of accomplishment.

The client has spent only a few hours and we produced an estate plan that will do the job.

Posted in Estate Planning & Probate, What's New?

MIND YOUR BUSINESS: May 2018

A reminder. As a former in-house counsel for an international software company, I can advise you on business transactions! In fact, I am working on two business sales even as we speak.

TAX REFORM.
Much of what I said about withholding applies as well to quarterly estimated taxes, which the IRS requires from self-employed business owners. If you are a sole business owner or a partner or LLC or S corporation owner, suggest that you get a forecast of your tax liability. Some of the biggest questions regarding Tax Reform concern the taxation of businesses, particularly pass-through entities. For example, many small businesses are “pass-throughs” and will be enjoying a 20% deduction from their business income. Read more

There are other traps for the unwary business.

DON’T make your spouse an officer!
TRUST FUND PENALTY. Before you make a spouse or friend an officer of your company, beware of the “100% penalty.” Even though your business is a corporation or LLC’s and offers some liability protection if an employee pays to pay payroll taxes but pays other creditors that employee can become personally responsible for a portion of those taxes under tax code Section 6672(a). Whether he is responsible is a question of fact but the IRS will assume that an officer is responsible. Ireland v. United States, No. 2:17-cv-02014-CAS-ARGx (C.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2018)]

No W-2’s for LLC owners. The IRS has announced that if you own 100% of an LLC that is reported as a sole proprietor on Schedule C, then you may not treat yourself as an employee of the LLC and issue yourself a W-2. The LLC and you are considered one.

IRS AUDITS
The IRS audit rate continues to drop, to 0.6 last year but the Service examined between 1% and 2.1% of business reporting over $25,000 of gross receipts. See What You Don’t Know About IRS Audits

Posted in Business Law, Taxes, What's New?

Real Estate, Investments ww2018_5

TAX REFORM

Individual landlords and partners owning real estate should qualify for the new 20% deduction from Qualified Business Income. See the business article above. In the future I hope to have some examples for readers. Meanwhile Installment Sales and Qualified Contributions from IRA’s to charities are two of the best ways to save taxes on appreciated assets.

IRA donation to charity is a Trick with a new Treat: If you’re age 70½ or older, each year you can transfer up to $100,000 directly from your traditional IRA to a charity. It counts as a minimum distribution, but is not added to your taxable income or your adjusted gross income. Treat: you get this benefit even if you take your standard deduction in 2018 and so cannot deduct charitable contributions. If your investment adviser doesn’t know how, call me.

Installment Sales. If you sell real estate in return for a note under which you receive payment in later years, you generally report the sale on the installment method (using Form 6252). This method taxes you on gain in proportion to the principal you are paid each year so it reduces gain in the year of sale and moves gain to later years. You can elect out of it. It offers many tax advantages. This technique is also a great way to sell your business.

Are you paying excessive fees? Investors, have you ever noticed that your preparer filed over 4 pages of Form 1116 to get you a $25 tax credit? That’s not effective!

My advice: If you have appreciated you are planning to sell ask me about your tax choices.

Posted in Real estate, investing, What's New?

Mind Your Business WW2018_5

Full service: reminder. As a former in-house counsel, I can advise you on business transactions! In fact I am working on two business sales even as we speak.

TAX REFORM.
Much of what I said about withholding above applies as well to quarterly estimated taxes, which the IRS requires from self-employed business owners. If you are a sole business owner or a partner or LLC or S corporation owner, suggest that you get a forecast of your tax liability. Some of the biggest questions regarding Tax Reform concern the taxation of businesses, particularly pass-through entities. For example, many small businesses are “pass-throughs” and will be enjoying a 20% deduction from their business income. Read more.

Tax traps for the unwary business.

DON’T make your spouse an officer!
TRUST FUND PENALTY. Before you make a spouse or friend an officer of your company, beware of the “100% penalty.” Even though your business is a corporation or LLC’s and offers some liability protection, if an employee pays to pay payroll taxes but pays other creditors that employee can become personally responsible for a portion of those taxes under tax code Section 6672(a). Whether he is responsible is a question of fact but the IRS will assume that an officer is responsible. Ireland v. United States, No. 2:17-cv-02014-CAS-ARGx (C.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2018)]

No W-2’s for LLC owners. The IRS has announced that if you own 100% of an LLC that is reported as a sole proprietor on Schedule C, then you may not treat yourself as an employee of the LLC and issue yourself a W-2. The LLC and you are considered one.

NEWS:
The IRS audit rate continues to drop, to 0.6 last year but the Service examined between 1% and 2.1% of business reporting over $25,000 of gross receipts. See What You Don’t Know About IRS Audits

Posted in Business Law, Taxes, What's New?

INDIVIDUAL TAX PLANNING May 2018

Tax Reform – Trick or Treat
Tax Reform is going to help most of my clients, but it is also going to have unexpected consequences for most everybody. To make taxes “easy and effective” for my clients I included a forecast of 2018 taxes with each 2017 tax return that I prepared. What did I find out? Taxes are generally lower but unexpected. There’s a big withholding problem! Most taxpayers are having too much withheld. If you want to find out more and how to get the most out of your taxes.

What did Tax Reform do to you? All tax rates dropped 2-3 points under Tax Reform, helping most everybody. Tax Reform doubled most taxpayers’ standard deductions so many taxpayers will not have to deduct mortgage interest or taxes. However, Tax Reform took away the $4,050 dependent deduction, but added a $2,000 per child tax credit. This works against childless couples. State and local taxes are limited to $10,000 per year. Mortgage loans on which you can deduct mortgage interest are limited to $750,000. No longer deductible are employee’s job expenses and investment related expenses like investment management fees. All of these changes affect your withholding or estimated taxes.

In changes after Tax Reform, Congress renewed the law that allows the write-off for private mortgage insurance, which is treated as home mortgage interest deduction. Taxpayers who can use this deduction will need to adjust their withholding.

The W-4 form tells employers how much federal taxes to withhold from each employee, and it is based on the deduction for dependents, which no longer exists. In January the IRS let employers use old W-4’s, and the IRS knew it was inaccurate. The IRS have been trying to correct the errors ever since. Recently the IRS issued a 2018 update to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax and offered the IRS Withholding Calculator on their website so taxpayers could correct earlier mistakes. The IRS admits that there are problems.

WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW:

Unless you want an unpredictable refund or tax due, I advise you to get a 2018 forecast so you can compare actual tax liability with withholding. If I prepare your tax return, I will provide you that forecast. For an hour or so fee, I will provide you a 2018 Forecast. Otherwise you are going to have to spend a lot of time with the IRS Withholding Calculator.

MY TAX MASTERY© PROGRAM is an added benefit of my forecast. It will suggest tax strategies to lower your taxes and then tells you your savings. You can then decrease your withholding to increase your paycheck. THAT’s easy and effective!

Posted in Individual Tax, What's New?

ESTATE PLANNING WW 2018_5

WHAT DID TAX REFORM DO TO YOU?

Tax Reform increased the estate and gift tax exemption for individuals to $5.6 million (up from $5.49 million). So a married couple can shelter $11.2 million between them. This means 99% of my clients need not focus on death taxes and so can focus on their true desires, like their families. How can you help your family with sensitive estate planning?

First, consider what estate planning documents you already have. If you have no will or trust you can probably save thousands of dollars just by executing a will. You may save tens of thousands of dollars with a revocable living trust so that is generally what I recommend. In less than a week I can prepare an RLT that is customized for your family. To get started, check out my Estate Planning Organizer.

Not convinced? Do you want to know why a majority of estate planning professionals recommend revocable living trusts? Why I wrote RLT’s for my own father and mother even though my father was a Probate Court Judge at one time? Read on.

Maybe you have a will or  trust. If it is more than a couple of years old you need to have it reviewed and I will review it for nothing. If your documents were drafted to avoid taxes by an excellent estate planning lawyer a few years ago, get it reviewed. The vast majority of older trusts and wills are obsolete and will complicate your family’s lives and cost unnecessary money. If you want to relieve your family of a lot of cost and aggravation, you need to replace older documents with something simpler. You will enjoy getting professional advice that focuses on your true family goals.

Posted in Estate Planning & Probate, What's New?

How does Tax Reform affect you in 2018?

Select TAX SUMMARY_2018 to download an excellent summary of the effects ofTax Reform on you as an individual in 2018. See:

  • the new 12%-37% tax brackets.

  • maximum contributions you can make to IRA’s and 401(k)s.

  • the new $12,000 to $24,000 Standard Deductions.

  • for taxpayers who can deduct more than the Standard Deduction you can see your limits for medical, state and local taxes and mortgage interest.

  • the new child tax credits that replace personal exemptions.

  • OTHER TAXES: The various taxes on capital gains and qualified dividends, the 3.8% tax on investment income, the alternative minimum tax,  self-employment tax and 0.9% Medicare Tax on wages and self-employment .

  • Finally, the new 20% deduction for pass through businesses.

Posted in Individual Tax, What's New? | Tagged ,