Planning for Life

Some Biden Tax Proposals I Can Support

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 9, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis


Last week, I wrote about the reasons I disagree with President Biden's proposal to eliminate the step-up in basis. Here I'll discuss some other tax proposals he has which I can support.

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Topics: income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes

3 Reasons I Disagree with Biden on the Step-Up in Basis (But Support His Other Tax Proposals)

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 2, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis


As a candidate, President Joe Biden proposed getting rid of the "step-up" in basis. This is a provision that erases capital gains upon the death of the owner. Here's how it works:

What's a Step-Up in Basis?

Let's say you bought some stock for $20,000 and today it's worth $50,000. If you were to sell the shares for this amount, you would have to pay tax on capital gains of $30,000. The purchase price is the stock's "basis." The gain is the difference between the proceeds and the basis.

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Topics: capital gains taxes, estate taxes, step-up in basis

Life Can Get Complicated, But Don't Fret the Small Stuff

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 14, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis


Congratulations! You've retired. You're free to spend your time as you like. Life should be simple.

But, of course, many parts of it are more complicated. You no longer have health insurance provided by your employer. Instead, you have Medicare and must decide on what Medigap policy and Medicare drug plan to sign up for. And should you save money by joining a Medicare HMO?

And then we come to tax planning. One client recently asked advice on how to minimize taxes given than he has income from the following sources:

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Topics: income taxes, capital gains taxes

2 Reasons Surviving Spouses Should File Federal Estate Tax Returns

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 29, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis


With the threshold for federal estate taxes set at $11.58 million as of 2020 (it adjusts each year for inflation), very few estates have to file a federal estate tax return. In contrast, the Massachusetts threshold is $1 million, meaning that many more estates must file a Massachusetts return. For estates that fall between $1 million and $11.58 million, it can still make sense to file a federal return if the decedent left a surviving spouse.

This is for two reasons: portability and capital gains step up.

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Topics: capital gains taxes, Probate Estate Administration, estate taxes

Beware Your Old Bypass Trust

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 7, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis


Very few people need to worry about federal estate taxes today with the threshold for taxation now at $11.58 million (in 2020) and surviving spouses permitted to add on the unused portion of their deceased spouse's credit through "portability." Yet many people have estate tax planning trusts put in place when the threshold was much lower and before portability was enacted. As recently as 2003, the threshold was $1 million and before 1998, it was just $600,000.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, capital gains taxes

5 Rules You Need to Know About the Tax on Capital Gains

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 22, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

There are many types of taxes out there: income, sales, real estate, estate, excise and capital gain. The tax you may be able to avoid or minimize most through planning is the tax on capital gains. Here's what you need to know to do such planning:

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Topics: income taxes, capital gains taxes

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