2010 U.S. Estate Tax Update

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December 20th 2010

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For Friends & Clients

On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law major changes to the U.S. federal estate tax. This newsletter is for your review. These changes offer opportunities for new estate planning. We encourage you to read the following and consider reviewing your existing estate plan.

David A. Altro, Managing Partner
B.A., LL.L, J.D, D.D.N, Fin.Pl., TEP
Florida Attorney and Quebec Notary

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Highlights of the new 2010 Tax Relief Act

On December 17, 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (“The Tax Relief Act”), which reflects the agreement of congressional leaders and President Obama. This legislation has now been signed into law by the President. Some of the highlights of the Tax Relief Act are summarized below however one key feature of the Tax Relief Act is its duration; the Tax Relief Act only lasts for two years. So all of these changes are fluid and subject to further Congressional debate and future changes.

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Altro Quarterly Update Winter 2010

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Introducing the Cross Border Video Series

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We frequently receive questions and concerns from clients regarding cross border tax, estate planning, real estate, and immigration.

In response, we have compiled a short video series with real life questions received from listeners of our radio show. Click here to watch as Managing Partner David A. Altro, Florida Attorney & Quebec Notary, provides advice, commentary and guidance in his well-humoured demeanor.

Our most popular episodes include:

You can also watch the videos on our Facebook Page, and share it with your friends.

Join the conversation by leaving questions and comments on our Youtube page for our cross border attorneys!

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Recession, Robo-Signers, and Recalls

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Many Canadians looking to scoop up bargain Real Estate in Florida are finding themselves in a whole lot of hot water, instead of on the sunny beaches of their dreams. In fact many are now asking themselves “if we bought it…don’t we actually own it?” For many the answer, sadly, is no.

We at Altro & Associates, LLP are often asked why an attorney is needed if a title company has been appointed in a U.S. real estate transaction. That same question was also asked by Sonja Kleiman, a paralegal at our firm. The present article will shed some light on why!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a buyer we represented in a foreclosure closing in Florida and she was concerned about a recent report aired on CBC’s the National- In Depth & Analysis Report covering the Florida foreclosure fiasco, which raised a red flag for any Canadian who has recently purchased or is thinking of purchasing real estate in Florida.

As real estate attorneys practicing law in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, Florida, a favorite getaway and even permanent residence for many Canadians, was hit by a tidal wave of bank foreclosure and repossession cases. Unable to cope with the overload, banks and realtors recruited any and everyone to push through paperwork as quickly as they could, foregoing proper title examinations, forging documents, or simply skipping key signatures, formalities and rubberstamping affidavits without properly verifying authenticity in an attempt to move what was rapidly becoming billions of dollars in stagnant inventory. Read more…

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Altro on the Radio Waves

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Listen to David A. Altro, Florida Attorney, Quebec Notary and Canadian Legal Counsel and host Matt Altro, CFP and Chief Operating Officer of Altro & Associates, most recent episode of "Dollars and Sense" on CJAD AM 800 .The Altros always deliever good humored and spirited discussions on legal issues related to cross border and domestic tax, estate planning and real estate.

The next episodes are scheduled after the new year:

• January 20, 2011
• February 7, 2011
• March 7, 2011

If you missed the recent live shows, you can download them in MP3 format from our website:

October 19, 2010

November 25, 2010

Be sure to check out our expanded Radio Shows page on our website where you can listen to other previous shows, highlighted clips and submit questions to be answered on upcoming shows.

 

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We Can’t All Be the Boss, or Can We?

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George Steinbrenner, the former billionaire owner of the New York Yankees, is widely known as “The Boss”. This is a fitting moniker: Steinbrenner’s hands-on leadership style pushed the Yanks to win 7 World Series victories during his tenure, an accomplishment that undoubtedly made The Boss proud.

As if solidifying his nickname for all eternity, Steinbrenner passed away in July 2010, which, by U.S. tax measures, is a pretty good year to die; due to Bush-era legislation called the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (the “Act”), U.S. estate tax has been repealed for the duration of 2010. It’s safe to say that Steinbrenner showed the IRS who’s boss – he saved his heirs half a billion dollars by dying before the new year.

The Act increased exemption amounts periodically from its 2001 inception, so that by 2009, the effective exemption from U.S. estate tax was $3,500,000 USD, and by 2010, estate tax was eliminated. The Act’s sunset clause is responsible for the return of U.S. estate tax in 2011, when it will cast a wide net. Read more…

 



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So Patriotism Just Isn’t Your Thing

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Many dual Canadian and U.S. citizens have toyed with the idea of renouncing one of their citizenships in order to remove themselves from a taxation system. As the United States has most recently passed new legislation, we will look at the U.S. taxation issues for U.S. expatriates.

This new legislation entitled The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act, the “Heart Act” or the “Act,” was signed into law on June 17, 2008 and applies to individuals who relinquish their U.S. citizenship or long term U.S. residency on or after June 17, 2008 and who meet any one of the following: a) have an average annual net income tax liability of more than $139,000 USD for the five (5) years preceding expatriation; b) have a net worth greater than or equal to $2,000,000 USD on the date of departure; or c) have failed to provide certified compliance with U.S. tax obligations for the five (5) years prior to expatriation. Despite the criteria mentioned above, there are however exceptions for certain individuals which would remove them from the implications of the Heart Act.

Read more…

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Cross Border Planning Partners Workshops

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Experienced cross border professionals will conduct workshops in cross-border currency exchange, U.S. immigration after 9/11/01, and estate planning. We will provide you with strategies and information in an attempt to get the best of the Canadian and U.S. tax systems; take advantage of currency exchange rates; receive your Canadian RRSPs tax-free or nearly tax-free in the U.S.; find investments exempt from U.S. income taxes and withholding; and maximize Medicare benefits, just to name a few. General question and answer sessions will also be held to address your specific concerns.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Ritz-Carlton
2401 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

41-000 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs), California 92270

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The Ritz-Carlton
280 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Naples, Florida 34108

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Boca Raton Resort & Club

501 E. Camino Real
Boca Raton, Florida 33432

To register for the above seminars please call 1-877-839-7111 or email Matt Altro at maltro@cbplanningpartners.com.

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Altro Quarterly Update Fall 2010

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Dollars & Sense Radio Show

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Join David A. Altro, Florida Attorney, Quebec Notary and Canadian Legal Counsel and host Matt Altro, COO of Altro & Associates, tonight Thursday September 16th at 7pm on their monthly radio show, “Dollars and Sense” on CJAD AM 800.

Tonight, David and Matt will host a good humored and spirited discussion on legal issues related to cross border and domestic tax, estate planning and real estate issues.

Be sure to check out our expanded Radio Shows page on our website where you can listen to past shows, highlighted clips and submit a question for an upcoming show.

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Upcoming Cross Border Seminars

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David A. Altro will be a guest speaker at several upcoming Montreal seminars. He will be presenting on cross border tax, estate planning and real estate issues.

September 28th 2010 from 8:30am-11:00am

Marriott Chateau Champlain
3500 Ch Du Souvenir
Chomedey, Quebec
H7V 1X2

September 28th 2010 from 7:00pm-9:30pm

Le Chateau Royal (Laval)
1 Du Canada Place
Montreal, Quebec
H3B 4C9

September 29th 2010 from 7:00pm-9:30pm

Hôtel ALT Quartier DIX30 (Brossard)
6500 boulevard de Rome
Brossard, Quebec
J4Y 0B6

Sign up and attend »

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David Altro featured in STEP Journal

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This article will look at the various tax and estate planning issues facing Canadians with special emphasis on the major impact of changes in the US estate tax rules under the US Internal Revenue Code (the Code) affecting Canadians. As of 1 January 2010, a Canadian owning US assets upon death in 2010 will not be subject to any US estate tax…

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Ontario Attorney Leanne Milech (B.A. LL.B.) joins our Toronto Office

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Prior to joining Altro & Associates, Ms. Milech was a Business Law associate at Heenan Blaikie LLP in Toronto.

Ms. Milech’s practice focuses on general corporate matters with a particular emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, share and asset purchase transactions, financing transactions and entertainment law matters.

As a law student, Ms. Milech gained labour law experience at the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles as well as entertainment law experience at Taylor Mitsopulos Klein Oballa in Toronto.
Ms. Milech earned her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario in 2008. She received her B.A. in Film and Religious Studies from Queen’s University in 2004 with honours, graduating on the Dean’s List.

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Bumping up Your ACB

InlineBy Amanda Shear B.A., J.D.

Under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (“FIRPTA”), a person or entity purchasing a U.S. real property interest from a foreign person is required to withhold ten percent (10%) of the amount realized upon sale (gross sale price) from a foreign owner. Read more to find out how to take advantage of the capital improvements initiates to increase your basis under FIRPTA!

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Moving to the U.S. the Canadian Way

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By David A. Altro B.A., LL.L., J.D., D.D.N., Fin.Pl., TEP

Why do Canadians move to the US?

If you find the weather in Canada difficult, the Sunbelt certainly offers a better weather alternative. If you have loved ones who you miss living in the States then what can be more important than to be near family? Our clients who move to the US generally enjoy lower income tax and a higher after tax net in their pocket on an annual basis. And of course, if an attractive business opportunity knocks south of the border then why not?

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