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Taxation Law West Des Moines

Supreme Court Case on Iowa Inheritance Tax Exemptions

inheritance tax code iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court, on November 17, 2017, issued an opinion interpreting a definition utilized in an inheritance tax exemption.  The Court points out that for many years prior to 1997 the Iowa inheritance tax had an unlimited exemption for any share of the estate passing to the surviving spouse, limited exemptions for lineal descendants and lineal ascendants and no exemption for step-children.  In 1997, the Legislature eliminated inheritance tax on property passing to parents, grandparents, great grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren among others.  In 2003, the Legislature added a definition for “stepchild” which defined “stepchild” as the

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When Gifting to Charity Make Sure to get Written Acknowledgements

donations to charity tax rules des moines

Many individuals regularly make gifts to qualified organizations to receive tax-deductible contributions.  Pursuant to the IRS rules, a taxpayer who makes a single donation of $250.00 or more to a qualified charity must have an written acknowledgement from the Organization for each single donation of $250.00 or more or an written acknowledgement from the Organization setting out the date and amount of each contribution in excess of $250.00. The $250.00 amount set out above does not mean that you add up all contributions to see if you reach the $250.00 limit.  The $250.00 threshold is only reached when you make

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Skepticism as a Useful Tool

legal sceptic evaluation

I am not suggesting that one must be a skeptic but rather that constructive doubt is useful in my profession.  I need to have an understanding of the differences among (1) what I think, (2) what I believe, and (3) what I know. With regard to thinking, it involves the development of a process by which I gather information.  It is being open-minded, being non-judgmental and does not evaluate the information or documentation assembled. With regard to what I believe, it involves looking at the information and the documentation assembled and sorting through the information and documentation to analyze which

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Don’t Hide The Important Documents From Yourself

filing wills and legal documents west des moines, iowa

After a person has signed his/her Will, the most often asked question is, “what do I do with my Will”. There are a variety of responses to that question. Among the answers are: A safe deposit box which can present another problem at your death; A secured strong box in your home; The Trust Department of the bank if you have named the bank as executor of your estate. If you place your Will in your safe deposit box, make certain that you have authorized your spouse, at least one of your children or a trusted friend to have access

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Recordkeeping: A Blissful Task or Cursed Undertaking?

recordkeeping west des moines iowa

What is it about Recordkeeping that makes it so difficult to do at times? As I get into the topic of recordkeeping, I learned that it is a much broader topic than this Blog has time to address. Recordkeeping addresses an array of matters for which records are created. In my opinion, there are two significant elements of recordkeeping, they are the emotional side (how I feel about recordkeeping) and the reasoning side (what I think about recordkeeping). First, I want to address the emotional side. Is it fun to do? Is it tedious to do? Do I feel rewarded

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Death Taxes – What Are They?

inheritance taxes, iowa estate taxes,federal death taxes

The words “death taxes” were created by persons (politicians) without defining the meaning or definitions of the words when they are spoken or written. I will try to bring meaning to the words “death taxes.” The event of death can cause two separate and distinct taxes. They are: A Federal estate tax and A State’s inheritance tax First the Federal estate tax is imposed on assets of a decedent’s estate over which he/she have title, ownership, dominion or control and have a net value of greater than $5,430,000 (called the Applicable Exclusion Amount) for deaths that occur in the year

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De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold

business taxes, business tax deductions, deduction limits, business expense threshold limits, De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold

On November 25, 2015, the IRS issued a Notice increasing the De Minimis Safe Harbor Threshold for deducting certain capital expenses from $500.00 to $2,500.00.  The new limit goes in effect on January 1, 2016.  The De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold is applicable to any type of business entity: a C Corporation, an S Corporation, an LLC, or any type of partnership, and Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Sole Proprietorship), Schedule E (Supplemental Income and Loss from Rental Real Estate), Schedule F (Profit or Loss from Farming) and Schedule 4835 (Farm Rental Income and Expenses).   We are recommending

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How Long Should You Keep Records?

How long to keep legal documents files

Our clients frequently ask us for advice on how long they need to attain their various records. Often times, the requirements for records retention varies based on the circumstances. For the benefit of our clients as well as you, our readers, the table set forth below will give some general guidelines for record-keeping and documentation. If you have additional questions pertaining to the documentation of legal records or have questions concerning another legal matter, please don’t hesitate to call us – 515-225-1100. By James D. Beatty.

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The ABLE Act (acronym: Achieving Better Life Experience)

able act - saving money for college

The ABLE Act referred to in last month’s blog was signed by the Governor and becomes law effective July 1, 2016. The Act authorizes the State of Iowa to create savings accounts, similar to the 529 College Saving Plans, to be created for disabled persons prior to age 26. The income earned on such accounts are exempt from Federal income tax if the money is spent for eligible services. The Treasurer of the State of Iowa is drafting the administrative provisions for the Act and will act as the depository for the savings accounts. Also, the Governor signed the Inheritance

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Planting a Tree – Iowa Tax Strategies

iowa tax law

The question was asked of a forester, “what is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer was 40 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today. So what is my point? Now that Iowa tax season is behind us, it is appropriate to take time and reflect on how we could have made the process of gathering income tax information less stressful. Gathering information on the income-side is relatively easy. That information is sent to you by a payer of interest or dividends, a K-1 from a partnership or Sub-S Corporation or some other

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