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Managing the equity in appreciated homes and second homes has become a pleasant and unexpected challenge for many. Especially on the coasts, residential real estate values soared the last five years. Suddenly owners, especially long-time owners, have properties that are more valuable than they imagined. For many families, real estate wealth exceeds the value of […]
A portion of long-term care expenses are deductible as medical expenses. The question taxpayers often ask is what portion of the fees paid to retiree communities, such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes, can be deducted. The Tax Court recently stepped into this issue and set some new rules. When someone enters a nursing […]
Estate planners agree that one of the most underused strategies is the charitable remainder trust. That might change. New trends are making CRTs more attractive. Taxpayers with appreciated property should take a fresh look at CRTs as part of their retirement and estate planning strategies. In a CRT, an individual transfers appreciated property to the […]
Stocks and second home sales both soared during the 1990s. They parted ways in the 2000s. While stocks turned south, prices of second homes continued to climb. It is no coincidence. More people are turning to second homes as investment alternatives. The National Association of Realtors reports that purchases of second homes for investment purposes […]
The IRS recently made it easier to cash out a principal residence tax free by plugging gaps and uncertainties in the 1997 rules on tax-free gains. The IRS filled the gaps in ways that are generous to taxpayers. Previously, anyone with a deductible home office had to separate the tax basis and sale proceeds of […]
Many taxpayers don’t take all the deductions to which they are entitled. Some think all the good deductions were eliminated in the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Others are afraid that the IRS will audit them for taking certain deductions. A lack of good records is the problem for a number of taxpayers. For most […]
A key issue everyone faces is when to begin Social Security benefits. One aspect of this decision that is easy to overlook is how the choice could affect a spouse’s lifetime income. We’ve discussed when to begin Social Security benefits in past visits, most recently in the May 2002 issue (available in the Archive of […]
The greatest charitable giving innovation of the last decade might be the donor-advised fund. These funds actually have been around for some time, but they were concentrated on the local level. Few national funds existed, promotion of the funds was almost non-existent, and no effort was expended to make the funds accessible to most people. […]