As a former in-house counsel for a 65 man company, I can help you with many tax and legal questions that your tax adviser cannot. For example, recently a client who owns a real estate business came to see me because he received a notice from the Tennessee Secretary of State saying that the State had revoked his LLC status. This loss causes a variety of disadvantages, including the inability to borrow or use the courts. What to do?

My father once wrote the corporate questions on the Tennessee Bar Exam, and I learned from his experience. The rules for LLCs and corporations are very similar, and in my 35+ years, I have handled this revocation problem many times. First, I researched the Secretary of State website to find out the grounds for the revocation. I discovered that the LLC had failed to file two “Annual Reports.” This is grounds for revocation. Further research showed me that the LLC had failed to file some Franchise and Excise Tax returns, a second failure that would cause revocation. As a lawyer who used to work with government employees, I called the Secretary of State and asked their advice as to the easiest way to take care of these multiple problems. The person I dealt with instructed me to file the FAE returns first and then approach the Secretary of State. This simplified my tasks. It pays to have government experience!

Following the Secretary of State instructions, I first filed each missing Franchise and Excise Tax return for the LLC. Since I do tax preparation, I have Proseries Professional, Intuit’s flagship tax preparation software. With it, I can file tax returns in all fifty states for individuals, LLC’s, partnerships, corporations, trusts, and estates.

My Advice: Whether you are forming or buying or operating an LLC or corporation, use an experienced lawyer, not a non-lawyer or internet form.

Tax Tip: Add a little pleasure to your business travel. If most of your days are for business, you can deduct air fare. If your trip includes business activities on a Friday and the following Monday, the cost of the weekend is deductible even though you spend it on pleasure.

Posted in Uncategorized



I discussed in the last WealthWISe how my approach to estate planning is a quicker less stressful process. So there is no reason to put it off. In fact, if you have a will or a trust designed to save estate taxes prior to 2010, I should be able to greatly simplify your estate and reduce the cost. For example, if you have an insurance trust-run, don’t walk to my office.

For example, a client recently came in. I will call him Mr. Smart because he came in to review and update his estate plan. In 2005 he and his spouse obtained wills from a prominent estate planner. Because the Smarts’ estates were worth roughly $3,000,000, they expected to owe estate taxes upon their deaths. They wanted to use life insurance to pay the taxes, but unfortunately, the life insurance itself was estate taxable.

They were advised to use to form an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) to own the life insurance to pay the estate taxes. That way the life insurance would not be included in the estate. Of course, they had to pay for the trust, and every year they had to pay for the Trustee, the life insurance, and so on.

Now that there is no Tennessee inheritance tax and the first $5,490,000 of your estate is not subject to federal estate taxes, this ILIT is expensive and unnecessary. I was able to terminate the trust and save the Smarts a lot of money.

My Advice: Review your estate planning, especially if it is older or your beneficiaries or property have changed.

If you are ready for estate planning, get started with ease. Download Wis’ Estate Package

Make a difference! Clients often fail to say what happens to their estate if they and their immediate family pass away.  Instead of giving your estate to distant relatives I suggest that you make a difference! Give your estate to a charity that means something to you! For maximum effect, work with an organization like the Community Foundation of Memphis.

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

Accredited Estate Planner® Designation

The Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation truly embodies the core value of NAEPC, excellence in estate planning.

To Win the AEP designation a member of the NAEPC must be

  1.  designated and active as an attorney, CPA, insurance professional and financial planner , philanthropy, or trust officer.
  2. have a minimum of 5 years of experience in estate planning,
  3. Have reputation & character recognized by professional references;
  4. successfully complete 2 graduate courses from The American College or similar or a minimum of 15 years of experience in estate planning;
  5. abide by the NAEPC Code of Ethics;
  6. maintain Continuing Education of 30 hours in estate planning, every 24 months.
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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment



Let’s say that your “child” is a sophomore in college and you are tired of paying rent for his apartment. What can you do? If the ave you considered buying a place for him to stay? You could deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes, but you can’t deduct other expenses of a property used by a relative if he is not paying market rent. What to do?

My advice: Create a little college tax shelter. Buy a rental property in which 3-4 students can stay and that is a likely good investment. Charge your son rent at market rates. Pay him a reasonable amount to manage the property or make gifts to him.

With your new tax shelter, the house will pay for itself and incur few taxes. You can deduct the typical costs of maintaining a rental property: maintenance, insurance, mortgage interest, utilities, and repairs. You can deduct depreciation on the cost of the building (not the land) roughly 3.6% per year. If the rental operation loses money you can write off losses to a limited extent. More about rental properties.

To satisfy the IRS, be business like. Set up a rental checking account. Record rental expenses. Your son should send checks to you for rent and they should be labeled as such.

Editorial: Proposed tax reform will double the “standard deduction,” so the mortgage deduction may not reduce the cost of home ownership. This could reduce real estate values. Make sure you are diversifying your investments.

Contact Wis for more information.

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



The problem is that as your business increases, it is exciting but everything happens at once. You wish that your vendors and customers acted like partners instead of adversaries. You are excited with your business earnings but not with your tax bill. You lawyer, if you have one, will negotiate contracts but does not recognize tax problems or opportunities. As your business expands your accountant produces financial statements, but he can’t seem to handle your new tax questions. He almost seems to be on the side of the IRS. “You can’t do this. You can’t do that. How can you save taxes? What can you do?

The best professional for your business is the one that can deliver services you need.

As a former IRS tax attorney, with over thirty-five years in private practice, Wis knows about saving taxes. Wis subscribes to daily tax and estate updates from Bloomberg Law, Kiplinger and other sources and reports them to you in his e-letter, WealthWISe.

For example: Did you know that under a recent Tax Court case, an employer could reimburse its managers for attending Business School courses helpful to the employer’s business, and the reimbursement was tax-free to the managers.

Wis spend six years as a corporate counsel for a national software company. There he negotiated with much stronger parties, such as corporate partner IBM and customers like Wells Fargo and the Federal Reserve Bank. Wis was an admirer of Steven Covey (author of “7 Habits of Effective People” and win-win negotiating). Wis used Covey’s teachings to negotiate win-win contracts with these large corporations. He learned to listen to the other side and discover how to give them what they wanted without costing his company an arm and a leg. Wis secured residual revenues of millions of dollars per year.

My advice: Wis can deliver both tax and legal services for small businesses, so for most small businesses, Wis is the most important professional because Wis can be there one stop source of tax, legal and estate advice.

See Contact Wis to make an appointment

Posted in Business Law, Business Tax



Tax season is NOT over. If you have filed your 2016 tax return, now is not the time to forget about taxes.  There are things to do right now for 2017! If you have filed an extension and you have not filed your 2016 tax return you really don’t have more time. Here you have a chance to consult with a professional and save taxes in 2016 that you should not pass up. So what should you do?  Contact me for *FREE 1/2 Hour Consultation:*

If you are reading this WealthWISe the number one tax tip I can give you is to use a tax professional. Don’t use an amateur. There are millions of words in the Internal Revenue Code. Most seasonal preparers and CPA’s are far from being experts. If you have not filed 2016 it is not too late to pay less for 2016! Furthermore, every day that you delay filing 2016 is costing you interest and penalties. Find out how much you can save by getting a free ½ hour consultation with Wis It is FREE. You cannot lose. Wis has the unbeatable advantage of Tax Mastery© software and he will prove it to you. And knowing Wis’s advice you can save even more in 2017.

This year Wis met new tax return clients, the “Smiths.” They didn’t worry about taxes until November when suddenly they realized their business was going to have a big year. (It could have been a big gain in the stock market or a big bonus declared by their employers). In December they were tearing around trying to buy equipment and find cash to do it and clean out their closets for Goodwill or whatever. If they had met with Wis their Tax Mastery© plan would have mapped out the actions they needed to take and they would have had months to do it. They could have taken the time to select the best piece of equipment for their business. They could have arranged the best financing.

My Advice A meeting with Wis and a Tax Mastery© analysis early in the year is the best way to start your tax planning. Tax mastery© fights taxes like nothing else. A tax client of Wis gets Tax Mastery© and so the next year’s planning with his return

Contact Wis for a FREE 1/2 hour consultation and get a taste of Tax Mastery©.

Posted in Individual Tax


Are you one of the people who delay when it comes to estate planning, seeing it as too complicated and presenting unrealistic goals. It doesn’t have to be that way! If you have estate planning documents drafted prior to 2012, it is truly dangerous to rely on them. You may have a will or trust that leaves the surviving spouse with the inconveniences of dealing with court expenses and trustees. This common arrangement is both tedious and unnecessary for a vast majority of the population.

Your estate plan does not have to be complicated.

With over 35 years helping clients, Wis can show you easy and effective ways to achieve your goals for your loved ones. For example, Wis recently consulted with clients who just wanted to leave their home to their natural heirs.  He showed them how to do it without a will or other fancy documentation. Working with Wis, you can enjoy a personal experience with an experienced professional.

If you have a will or trust drafted prior to 2012 it may be a time bomb waiting to go off. Wis can show you how to defuse it. If you have an estate planned will or trust that was drafted prior to 2012 the will or trust probably divides the deceased person’s estate into pieces and places them in trust supposedly to lower the estate taxes. This process can leave the surviving spouse with the expense and inconvenience of dealing with unnecessary trusts and trustees. This arrangement is generally no longer necessary now that more than $5,490,000 is exempt from estate tax. Furthermore, Tax Reform aims to eliminate the estate tax altogether. So who do you need? Trust busters!

Don’t leave your family with a mess. To get started with your estate planning !!RLT Email Package  read on.

Or simply Contact Wis as follows:


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

Effective Tax Preparation

Welcome to tax season! For the most effective tax preparation, be prepared! I believe that I have the most easy and effective tax preparation system available. I guarantee clients “ease and effectiveness,” so they pay the lowest legal taxes with the least effort and reasonable tax preparation fees.We offer clients:

  1. Preparation by a tax professional’
  2. professional software, Intuit’s Proseries Professional, which provides a Tax Organizer to make sure you don’t miss a thing!  (Intuit is the maker of Turbotax, Quicken, and Quickbooks).
  3. I and only I offer my clients Tax Mastery© my custom tax program that shows them how to pay the lowest legal taxes.

To do that:

  • Make sure that your preparer, whether a CPA or not, has considerable tax training and experience and spends the majority of his time with tax matters..
  • Send your preparer a completed Tax Organizer with all required documents: W-2’s, Form 1099’s, Form 1095-A, etc.Don’t send documents piecemeal.
  • Meet personally with the tax preparer and discuss needed decisions.
  • Provide birthdays for taxpayers and dependents.
  • Review all credit card and checking statements for tax-related items.
  • Don’t duplicate tax information on the organizer.
  • Round entries to the nearest dollar.
  • If you have a list that adds up to an entry in the Organizer, explain it.
  • If you buy or sell an investment or a business asset, list its date purchased cost, selling price and sale date.
  • List each charitable gift and date, the name of charity and its address. Describe gifts of property and cost.
  • Provide closing statements for new or refinanced mortgage loans.
  • If you are an employee with job-related expenses, list Employee (Miscellaneous) deductions. Your preparer should have plenty of ideas for these. I offer my clients checklists for these and many other deductions.
  • If you have a Business, its revenue and expenses are reported on Schedule C, not Schedule A.
  • If you have rental properties identify their rent and expenses separately. List the cost and date of rental use.
  • For each business vehicle, enter business mileage and total mileage.
  • For dependent care, list the provider’s name, tax number & address.

With more than thirty-five years of experience, there is so much more I could say. Furthermore, with my one of a kind Tax Mastery© program I can give you advice designed just for you to help you pay the lowest legal taxes. Call today for an appointment.

Posted in Business Tax, Individual Tax

Don’t be afraid to sell your property. WW2017_1

 Are you afraid to sell one of your properties because of the tax liability? Clients often come to me, worried about this problem. In some cases, they may be right to worry.

Taxable gain equals selling price less “adjusted basis.” (“AB”). AB is the cost of the property with certain adjustments. AB is reduced by depreciation. So if a taxpayer has depreciated a property for many years, its adjusted basis may be considerably reduced. The gain resulting from depreciation is often called phantom gain and the resulting tax may considerably reduce the cash you receive on the sale. A different problem arises if you have refinanced the property and spent the cash elsewhere. Once you repay the loan upon the sale you will have less cash available to pay taxes.

What do you do? There are many ways to reduce your tax. I look for ways to increase the “adjusted basis.” (“AB”). Each property is a little different and there are many factors that increase AB, so I suggest working with a tax professional. For example, did you know that property that you inherited is treated as if you purchased for its fair market value at the date of the deceased person’s death? This is called a stepped up basis.

I recently prepared a tax return for a taxpayer and added over $50,000 to her AB as follows:

* She inherited 50% of the property recently and received a stepped-up basis.

* I examined the settlement sheet for the purchase of the property and added to AB transfer tax, abstract fees, taxes, surveys, recording, legal fees, and seller’s costs paid by the buyer.

* I check the settlement sheet for similar costs for the sale of the property.

* Likewise, the costs of selling a property that are not deducted are added to the property’s AB.

* Don’t forget to include the cost of the property’s lot which should not be depreciated.

* AB is increased by the cost of improvements to the property, like a new roof or appliances.

* There’s more.

If you have been a landlord for more than one year and have prior year unallowed passive losses on Form 8582 of your Form 1040, you will probably be entitled to offset those losses against your gain. If you are selling a business or investment property, you can seller finance and sell it in installments and delay the gain. Each year you will have gain equal to the percentage of the principal received in each payment. Finally, if you enter into a “like kind exchange” of the property, which may not be an exchange at all, you can delay the gain until the replacement property is sold. This reminds me that if you obtained the property being sold as a replacement property in such a like kind exchange your basis will be based on your AB in the previously replace property. This situation is far beyond the scope of this article.

If you have Wis prepare your return, he will make sure you don’t miss anything.
Posted in Real estate, investing, What's New?