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While December is the season of giving, it's also the season of estate planning. That's because December is the last month of the year to take advantage of the low gift tax rate. So while you're planning what gifts to give, you can think about giving gifts of your estate, which can help reduce the potential estate tax burden to your family in the future.
Since 2001, the federal estate tax has been dwindling down to nothing. But beginning next year, the estate tax is scheduled to return—hopefully, not with a vengeance. Get the latest on the estate tax rate, Congressional action and the proposed exemption rate. Plus a little-known tip that the federal estate tax isn't the only one you have to worry about.
The cost of raising a child is at an all-time high of $222,360. And a good chunk of that—16%—is education costs. One way to cover ever-growing education costs is by setting up an education trust. An education trust can pay for school and help avoid estate taxes—we tell you how.
With the current uncertainties in the housing marketing and the credit crunch this past year, everyone is looking to save wisely. And, if you are getting ready to file your 2007 taxes, you will want to take advantage of every available tax break. Here are a few tax deductions that will make filing a little easier on your pocketbook this year.
In May 2006 President Bush signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. The measure extends to 2010 the reduced tax rate of 15 percent on long-term capital gains for taxpayers in the 25-percent or higher tax brackets and five percent for individuals in the 10-percent or 15-percent income tax brackets. Without further action, the rates will jump by five percent in 2011. In real estate transactions, owing capital gains tax depends on the use of the property and the length of time you have owned the property before selling.
There have been rumors circulating ever since Bush first took office that the Estate Tax was headed for extinction. This past election year, in fact, both John Kerry and George W. Bush made the Estate Tax a huge topic of debate. Yet, for many it still unclear what changes if any have taken place. The truth is, the Estate Tax is alive and well but slowly on its way out (until 2011, that is).
There are so many to choose living in a particular area. Certainly, warm climate, exceptional school systems, or enjoyable nightlife, may rank high on your list. But what about tax-friendliness? Find out where your favorite city ranks on the list?
If a real estate owner does not pay the required taxes on a property, the county will offer the property up for sale at an auction as a "tax sale" to help generate the lost tax income. There are two types of tax sales - tax lien sales and tax deed sales. In tax lien sales, the county government sells their right to the tax lien on the real estate property, allowing the buyer to bid on the tax debt for a favorable return on investment. In tax deed sales, the county government sells full ownership and possession rights of the property to the investor. Both result in a flexible and secure investment with minimal market risk.
If you're an entrepreneur, your business is likely your most valuable asset. Fail to take the time to plan for disability or death and your estate may face significant tax consequences. So how do you protect your business and your heirs?