Articles Tagged with IRS

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volunteer-1326758__340-300x236Many people have the impulse to help their fellow man and to serve worthy causes.  One of the most important tools to achieve this end is the non-profit, tax exempt corporation.  Forming this type of entity allows funds to be raised without being taxed, permits contributors to deduct their contributions from their income tax, and protects the people working for the organization from personal liability.  However, the process can be complex.  Our attorneys help people and charitable organizations navigate this complex area.  The basic steps are outlined below.

Incorporation.  The first step is to incorporate.  The primary protection offered by the corporate form is that it protects the people who run and work for the non-profit from personal liability.   The organization is incorporated with State of New Jersey, and it must be designated as a non-profit.  A Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) must be obtained as well.

Trustees and Bylaws.  To have a non-profit corporation, there must be a board with at least three trustees, each of whom must be at least 18 years old.  The non-profit must also have bylaws, which are essentially the organization’s “constitution”  —   the bylaws set the entity’s purpose, the responsibilities and powers of the people who run the non-profit, and how it will be run.

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Both the federal and many state governments in the United States, including New Jersey, assess an estate tax upon transfer of a deceased person’s assets. Thus, while it is often begrudgingly referred to as a “death tax,” it is actually a type of transfer tax which is imposed upon the transfer of the property in the taxable estate of every decedent (the deceased) who was a citizen or resident of the United States.

The “taxable estate” can be calculated by subtracting permitted deductions from the gross estate. The “gross estate” includes the value of all property that the decedent had an interest in at the time of her death. The gross estate may also include any interest in the estate as dower or curtesy (an amount promised by one spouse to another in the event of death), items that the decedent transferred in the three years prior to death which were not sold for value or excluded as gifts, certain property that the decedent transferred but retained a life estate in, the value of property in which the decedent had a reversionary interest in excess of five percent of the property value, annuities, some jointly owned property, powers of appointment, and some life insurance policies, among other things.

Some common deductions from the gross estate, which are used to calculate the total “taxable estate,” may include funeral expenses, estate administration expenses, claims against the estate, some unpaid mortgages, certain charitable contributions, property or bequests left to the surviving spouse, interest in a qualified family-owned business, and state estate or inheritance taxes.
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stock-photo-12986813-tax-form-1040.jpgNew Jersey business owners should be aware that there are strict regulations which allows the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to collect employment taxes from a business or its owners and potentially senior employees, who are not owners, if a business fails to pay employment withholding tax to the IRS.

Federal employment tax require employers to withhold money, for Social Security and Medicare, and pay it to the IRS on a quarterly basis (also known as a “941 payment”). These payments are known as “trust fund taxes” because the withholding amounts are held in “trust” by the employer for the IRS.

Failure to pay employment taxes is therefore viewed as theft because the owner is using money that belongs to the employee. The IRS therefore has strict regulations which allow it to recover trust fund taxes directly from owners and senior employees if the business fails to pay the tax.

In a typical case the IRS will assess personal liability against individuals it alleges were responsible to pay this tax on behalf of the business. The IRS will also assess penalties and interest. The penalty (also known as a “jeopardy assessment”) is equal to the amount of the unpaid trust fund tax. Responsible individuals will personally be required to pay the tax, penalty, and interest.
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369110_taxpapers.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service increased the annual gift tax exclusions for 2013. The annual gift tax exclusion amount will increase from the 2012 amount of $13,000 to $14,000 in 2013 for gifts made to anyone other than a person’s spouse. New Jersey does not impose a gift tax, with the limited exception that gifts made within three years of a person’s date of death are subject to tax upon the death of the giver.

Individual annual gift tax exclusions can be combined with gifts of spouses to give up to $28,000 to any person each year and no gift tax will be due. There is no limit as to the number of gifts which may be made to different people. Additionally, there is no limit to the marital deduction for taxpayers who make gifts to their U.S. citizen spouses. The annual gift exclusion for gifts made to non-U.S. citizen spouses is being increased to $143,000 in 2013.

If an annual gift is made during 2013 which exceeds $14,000 to any one person, or if it exceeds $143,000 to a non-US citizen spouse, it is a taxable gift and the giver must file a U.S. Gift Tax Return with the IRS on Form 709. Each person is afforded a lifetime gift tax exemption. At present, the lifetime gift tax exemption amount is $5,120,000. However, that amount is scheduled to decrease to $1,000,000 when the county hits the “fiscal cliff” in 2013 unless Congress acts to change the law. Even if you make an annual gift to an individual over of the applicable annual exclusion amount, the giver will have to file a gift tax return, but will not owe gift tax unless they have exceeded the lifetime gift tax exemption.