Income Tax Essay

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Income Tax Accounting for Trusts and Estates 8/8/13 8:51 AM TAX / PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Income Tax Accounting for Trusts and Estates Planning allocations between entities and beneficiaries is even more critical with higher tax rates on the horizon. BY SONJA PIPPIN, PH.D. OCTOBER 2010 Estates and nongrantor trusts must file income tax returns just as individuals do, but with some important differences. For one, their income is taxed at either the entity or beneficiary level depending on whether it is allocated to principal or allocated to distributable income, and whether it is distributed to the beneficiaries. And because their exemption amounts, tax brackets and related thresholds haven’t been indexed for inflation or modified for tax relief to the extent those for individuals have, they can be subject to higher tax rates at much lower levels of income. With the new Medicare tax on investment income on the highest tax brackets, estates and trusts pay still more taxes on incomes over $11,200, as opposed to $200,000 or $250,000 for individuals. In this and other ways, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation acts of 2010 (PL 111-148 and PL 111-152, respectively) affect trusts’ and estates’ income taxes and have introduced discrepancies that tax practitioners can review with their clients who administer trusts and estates. This article reviews some strategies for more tax-efficient allocation of income and principal by trusts and estates. Income tax accounting for trusts and estates has received relatively little attention from tax professionals as well as lawmakers. This is not surprising because of the comparatively few taxpayers affected. In the 2008 tax year, approximately 3 million Forms 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, were filed, with an aggregate gross income of $188

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