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What Is the SECURE Act and How Could It Affect Your Retirement? (update March 2020 Act passed December 2019 right after holiday letter)

Learn about the changes to IRAs, 401(k)s, RMDs, and more

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, better known as the SECURE Act, which originally passed the House in July, was approved by the Senate on Dec.19, 2019, as part of an end-of-year appropriations act and accompanying tax measure, and signed into law on Dec. 20 by President Donald Trump. The far-reaching bill includes significant provisions aimed at increasing access to tax-advantaged accounts and preventing older Americans from outliving their assets.1

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The SECURE Act became law on Dec. 20, 2019.
  • The SECURE Act will make it easier for small business owners to set up “safe harbor” retirement plans that are less expensive and easier to administer.
  • Many part-time workers will be eligible to participate in an employer retirement plan.
  • The Act pushes back the age at which retirement plan participants need to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), from 70½ to 72, and allows traditional IRA owners to keep making contributions indefinitely.
  • The Act mandates that most non-spouses inheriting IRAs take distributions that end up emptying the account in 10 years.
  • The Act allows 401(k) plans to offer annuities.

 

A Troubled Retirement System

That there’s trouble brewing in the U.S. retirement system, which requires most workers to supplement Social Security with personal savings, has been widely acknowledged.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published in 2018, only 55% of the adult population even participate in a workplace retirement plan. And even those who do are often woefully behind when it comes to investing part of their paycheck.

The wealth management giant Vanguard, for instance, revealed early in 2019 that the median 401(k) balance for those ages 65 and older is just $58,035. The SECURE Act aims to encourage employers who have previously shied away from these plans, which can be expensive and difficult to administer, to start offering them.

“With [the] passage of this bill, the House made significant progress in fixing our nation’s retirement crisis and helping workers of all ages save for their futures,” Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement after the bill sailed through the House in May.

Tangled Up in the Senate

Despite the SECURE Act’s overwhelming support in the House, it didn’t get through the Senate until it was attached to the appropriations and tax-extender bills that passed the day after President Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives.

In early July, PlanAdviser reported that two Republican senators—one of them Ted Cruz (R-Texas)—were holding it up. According to a Washington insider, Cruz was trying to tweak the section on 529 accounts so that parents can use them for home-schooling expenses as well.2

In October, PLANSPONSOR quoted Chris Spence, TIAA’s senior director of government relations, as saying the bill has been sitting “in something like legislative limbo.” 3 Along with Cruz, two other senators—Mike Lee and Pat Toomey—had reservations about some technical points. Spence was optimistic and predicted correctly that the route to passage could be through being attached to a broader bill that has to be passed by the end of 2020.

Major Provisions of the SECURE Act

The SECURE Act tweaks a number of rules related to tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Here’s what it will do:

  • Make it easier for small businesses to set up 401(k)s by increasing the cap under which they can automatically enroll workers in “safe harbor” retirement plans, from 10% of wages to 15%.
  • Provide a maximum tax credit of $500 per year to employers who create a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA plan with automatic enrollment.
  • Enable businesses to sign up part-time employees who work either 1,000 hours throughout the year or have three consecutive years with 500 hours of service.
  • Encourage plan sponsors to include annuities as an option in workplace plans by reducing their liability if the insurer cannot meet its financial obligations.
  • Push back the age at which retirement plan participants need to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), from 70½ to 72, for those who are not 70½ by the end of 2019.
  • Allow the use of tax-advantaged 529 accounts for qualified student loan repayments (up to $10,000 annually).
  • Permit penalty-free withdrawals of $5,000 from 401(k) accounts to defray the costs of having or adopting a child.
  • Encourage employers to include more annuities in 401(k) plans by removing their fear of legal liability if the annuity provider fails to provide and also not requiring them to choose the lowest-cost plan. (This could be something of a double-edged sword. Employees will need to look extra-carefully as these options.)

One other key change in the new bill is paying for all this: the removal of a provision known as the stretch IRA, which has allowed non-spouses inheriting retirement accounts to stretch out disbursements over their lifetimes. The new rules will require a full payout from the inherited IRA within 10 years of the death of the original account holder, raising an estimated $15.7 billion in additional tax revenue. (This will apply only to heirs of account holders who die starting in 2020.)

Planners Evaluate These Changes

While retirement planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Md., cautions that the bill is far from a cure-all for the nation’s retirement challenges, she says several of the provisions represent a step in the right direction.4

In particular, she notes, reducing the number of hours that employees are required to work in order to sign up for 401(k)s can help expand participation. “That’s helpful for part-time employees, whether they’re just entering the workforce or about to leave,” Cheng says.

And she’s in favor of adding flexibility to 529 accounts, which could be used to repay some student loans under the bill. That’s a good option, she says, for parents who may have funds remaining in an educational savings account and want to help a child who has already graduated. “The SECURE Act provides more flexibility,” says Cheng.

For David Rae, a financial planner based in Los Angeles, moving the starting age for required minimum distributions to 72 also makes sense, given that people are living longer than they did a generation ago. “Pushing back RMDs will help people make their money last just a little bit longer, especially since more of them need to work later,” Rae says.

Impact on IRAs

The SECURE Act’s impact on retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s will be significant. Eric Bronnenkant, CPA, CFP®, Head of Tax at Betterment, outlines what will change and how it will impact savers.

Inherited IRAs: The parts of the SECURE Act that will most immediately impact average Americans are its new guidelines around inherited IRAs. So let’s say you inherited a retirement plan like an IRA or a 401(k) as a non-spouse beneficiary.  Under the old rules, you were able to withdraw from that retirement account over the rest of your life, but under the SECURE Act, you’ll have to take that money out within 10 years. So basically, through the SECURE Act, you’re compelled to pay taxes sooner. Those who saved a lot of money in their 401(k) or IRA, and hope to leave that money to a non-spouse beneficiary, might want to rethink their strategy on who they choose as a beneficiary, recognizing this new, shorter timeframe.

IRA Contributions: The SECURE Act will also impact traditional IRA contributions. Under the old rules, you had to be under age 70 ½ in order to contribute to a traditional IRA, but under the SECURE Act, anybody of any age can make a traditional IRA contribution. Of course, you still need to be able to demonstrate earned income (like from working at a job or self-employment), but before the SECURE Act, if you were 85 years old and still working, you wouldn’t have to be able to contribute to a traditional IRA. Now, you’ll still be able to contribute, no matter what your age: workers over age 70 ½ can now make traditional IRA contributions, which also potentially allows them to make backdoor Roth IRA contributions.

Impact on Student Debt

The SECURE Act will also allow people to withdraw up to $10,000 during their lifetime from their 529 plans, tax-free, in order to pay off their student loan debt. Previously, 529 plans were strictly for K-12 expenses. Their use expanded to include post-high school expenses, and now, under the SECURE Act, 529 funds can be used to pay off college debt. That said, not all states may allow the student loan benefit to come out tax-free at the state level. (For example, New York was non-conforming on K-12 expenses. Now, the state is examining the student loan level, but haven’t yet made a decision.)

The Bottom Line

Whether the SECURE Act ends up being a retirement game-changer or not remains to be seen. But one thing is abundantly clear: The current rules aren’t allowing nearly enough Americans to put away the nest egg they’ll ultimately need for a secure retirement.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2019

MANY THANKS to our many loyal clients, friends and family and we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season=s Greetings and Happy New Year.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at both the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 37th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 28th year of the founding of this firm.

Deborah R. Jesse is now in her 28th year with our firm. She has been a Florida Registered Paralegal since 2008 and is a former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year. Deborah was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2019 and after having gone through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (all while working), at this time we are thrilled to announce that she has beaten back the beast.

Kyle Jesse is starting his 5th year with us and is a Florida Registered Paralegal. He attained his M.B.A in International Business in May of 2018 and he also has a BA in Business with a Minor in Information Systems and Technology (IT) and continues as a Paralegal with our firm.

Carrie Raines is starting her 4th year with us and has been taking on a much more active role in the firm.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; and Litigation related to these fields.

My son, Brett, is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor=s in Electrical Engineering and received a promotion in his position as an Electrical Engineer with the government in Orlando.

My son, Clint, just graduated from Valencia College with a BA in Electrical Engineering. He has moved to the Alexandria, Virginia, area and is now seeking employment.

I am still Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman for Collier County. These positions allow me to not only know what the law is, but also in my case, to know what it will be and sometimes have a hand in writing it.  I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message and legal matters with some humor added.

I continue to be the longest serving Director of Collier County Habitat for Humanity, the most successful Habitat in the world. I also continue to sit on many Boards of Directors and many professional committees.

As many of you know, in late 2017 President Trump’s tax bill was passed. I have found through various seminars that some of the information, especially on the 20% business deduction that is discussed below is wrong as espoused by other attorneys and CPA’s; so, please see someone such as myself who has the full story to be sure that you are given the correct advice.

The main effect of the tax bill on the estate and gift taxes is the total exemption for 2019 is $11.4 million per person and $22.8 million per couple. If you are a couple who together are worth much less than that and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax, we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts.

The Gift Tax exclusion before you start cutting into the above numbers is $15,000 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care with caveats. For most of you who are worth under the above numbers this will simply involve a return with no possibility of paying any taxes.

The Bill eliminated many deductions and reduced the rates structure, see us for details. If you continue to be a resident of a high tax state, this tax bill is all the more reason to become a resident of Florida, we stand ready to help you with this.

Many of you have pass through income from businesses such as Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, S Corporations, LLC’s and similar matters. The income on these businesses may be subject to a 20% reduction if your income for a single individual with all of these types of entities is less than $157,500 or for a married couple $315,000, you are entitled to take this deduction if it is any type of trade or business and this includes rental real estate as long as you actively participate. If you are over these limits, there are additional requirements or for certain business a deduction is not available. See us on details for these matters.

The medical deductions were retained.

This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

Feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com or our Facebook page for more information about the firm and my staff.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2018

I would like to THANK our many loyal clients, friends and family and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season=s Greetings and Happy New Year.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 36th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 27th year of the founding of this firm.

Deborah R. Jesse is in her 27th year with our firm. She has been a Florida Registered Paralegal since 2008 and is a former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year. Sadly she lost her husband, Ross, to cancer in August of 2018.

Lori Shaffer Denney was with us for over 6 years but is moving to Georgia in December and we will miss her.

Kyle Jesse is a Florida Registered Paralegal and he attained his M.B.A in May of 2018 and will continue as a Paralegal with our firm.

Carrie Raines is starting her 3rd year with us and will be taking on a more active role in the firm.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; and Litigation related to these fields.

My son, Brett, is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor=s in Electrical Engineering, and received a promotion and position change to work directly for the government as an Electrical Engineer in Orlando.

My son, Clint, is an Electrical Engineering student. He is working hard towards his BA and will graduate soon.

I am still Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman for Collier County. I continue to be one of the 38 Directors of the Republican Party of Florida where I have served since 2013. These positions allow me to not only know what the law is, but also in my case, to know what it will be and sometimes have a hand in writing it.  I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message and legal matters with some humor added.

I continue to be one of the longest serving Officers and Directors of Collier County Habitat for Humanity, the most successful Habitat in the world. I also continue to sit on many Boards of Directors and many professional committees.

As many of you know, last year President Trump’s tax bill was passed, I have been to several seminars on this matter including those held by high level IRS people. I have found through this that some of the information, especially on the 20% business deduction that is discussed below is wrong as espoused by other attorneys and CPA’s; so, please see someone such as myself who has the full story to be sure that you are given the correct advice.

The main effect of the tax bill on the estate and gift taxes is the total exemption for 2019 is $11.4 million per person and $22.8 million per couple. If you are a couple who together are worth much less than that and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts.

The Gift Tax exclusion before you start cutting into the above numbers is $15,000 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care with caveats. For most of you who are worth under the above numbers this will simply involve a return with no possibility of paying any taxes.

The Bill eliminated many deductions and reduced the rates structure, see us for details. If you continue to be a resident of a high tax state this tax bill is all the more reason to become a resident of Florida, we can help you with this.

Many of you have pass through income from businesses such as Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, S Corporations, LLC’s and similar matters. The income on these businesses may be subject to a 20% reduction if your income for a single individual with all of these types of entities is less than $157,500 or for a married couple $315,000 you are entitled to take this deduction if it is any type of trade or business and this includes rental real estate as long as you actively participate. If you are over these limits, there are additional requirements or for certain business a deduction is not available. See us on details for these matters.

The medical deductions were retained.

This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

Feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com or our Facebook page for more information about the firm and my staff.

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2017

I would like to THANK our many loyal clients, friends and family and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year. During this holiday season we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 35th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 26th year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for many years.

Deborah R. Jesse is back permanently from Texas and is starting her 27th year with our firm. She is a Florida Registered Paralegal and is a former Collier County Secretary of the Year.

Lori Shaffer Denney has been with us for over 6 years.

Kyle Jesse is a Florida Registered Paralegal, has a B.A. in Business and is working on his M.B.A.

Carrie Raines is starting her 2nd year with us.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; and Litigation related to these fields.

My son, Brett, a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, still holds his position with a government contractor as an Electrical Engineer at Cape Canaveral and continues to do well there.

My son, Clint, is an Electrical Engineering student. He graduated from Valencia College in Orlando with an AA after transferring from Edison and is working hard towards his BA.

Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman by a wide margin in 2016 as I did my 2008 and 2012 races.  I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.

I continue to be one of the 38 Directors of the Republican Party of Florida where I have served since 2013. These positions allow me to not only know what the law is, but also in any cases, to know what it will be and sometimes have a hand in writing it.   I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message with some humor added.

I also continue to be one of the longest serving Officers and Directors of Collier County Habitat for Humanity, the most successful Habitat in the world. I also continue to sit on the many Boards of Directors and on many professional committees.

Feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com or our Facebook page for more information about the firm and my staff.

As many of you know, the Congress has just passed and the President will has already signed a new Income Tax, Estate Tax and a Corporate Tax Bill. The main effect of the tax bill on the estate and gift taxes is the estate tax exemption has been doubled to $11 million per person, $22 million per couple. If you are a couple who together are worth much less than that and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts. This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

The Gift Tax free limit remains at $14,000.00 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption, which remains unchanged from last year.

The Income Tax Bill eliminates many deductions and reduces the rate structure, eliminates the personal exemption and increases the standard exemption.  For most people in Florida this will mean lower taxes. If you continue to be a resident of a high tax state this is all the more reason to become a resident of Florida, we can help you with this.

Many of you have businesses that pass through income such as Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, S Corporations, LLC’s and similar matters. The income on these businesses with certain exceptions will go down. See us on details for these matters.

The medical deductions were retained; many of my older clients with high medical expenses will appreciate this.

There is also a child tax credit for children under 17 and a small credit for supporting children and older parents over 17. The head of household filing status is gone.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2016

I would like to THANK our many loyal clients, friends and family and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season=s Greetings and Happy New Year. During this holiday season we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 34th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 25th year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for many years.

Carol A. Leuschner, started her 25 th year with me in August. She handles Estates, Estate Planning and billing matters. Carol is also a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar and is also a former Collier County Secretary of the Year.

Deborah R. Jesse has moved to Texas. We wish her well. Her and her husband helped take care of our mother until she passed away. So it’s now Deborah’s turn to help with her husband’s mother in Texas.

Lori Shaffer Denney who has been with us for over 5 years and a new real estate paralegal have taken over Deborah’s duties.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; and Litigation related to these fields.

My son, Brett, a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor=s Degree in Electrical Engineering, still holds his position with a government contractor as an Electrical Engineer at Cape Canaveral and continues to do well there.

My son, Clint, is an Electrical Engineering student. He graduated from Valencia College in Orlando with an AA after transferring from Edison and is working hard towards his BA.

Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman by a wide margin in 2016 as I did my 2008 and 2012 races.  I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. As you know I also ran for election for District 5 County Commission and lost that race by only a few votes. I will not be seeking public office again and will continue devoting my full energies to my law firm. I continue to be one of the 37 Directors of the Republican Party of Florida where I have served since 2013.  I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message with some humor added.

I also continue to be one of the longest serving Officers and Directors of Collier County Habitat for Humanity, the most successful Habitat in the world. I also continue to sit on the many Boards of Directors and on many professional committees.

Feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com or our Facebook page for more information about the firm and my staff.

The Florida Legislature just passed a Digital Powers Act in July 2016. If you have any significant presence on the internet such as email, electronic banking or brokerage and other similar matters, you might want to consider us amending your Will, Trust and Power of Attorney to include these new powers.  Your Power of Attorney, Executor or Trustee will not have these powers unless your documents are amended to include them. All of my documents I have done since June 2016 includes this language.

The Gift Tax free limit remains at $14,000.00 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption, which remains unchanged from last year.

The Estate Tax exemption (which is also the gift and generation skipping tax exemption) is now $5.5 million indexed for inflation per person. Also, we now have portability which states that a surviving spouse will keep the unused exemption of their late spouse. There are many intricacies to this exemption, please contact us for details.  Also, the Estate and Gift Tax law continues to have no expiration date.  It will not change until Congress and the President change it.

Since the estate and gift tax situation has remained stable, if you are a couple who together are worth less than $4 million and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts. I am using the $4 million dollar figure to allow for asset growth. This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

 

September 1st, 2016
I won the State Committeeman race by a wide margin. However I lost the District 5 race by a mere 196 votes event though I was outspent 4 to 1. I could have won if I had gone negative about all his problems. I took the high road and lived to regret it. A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL MY SUPPORTERS. Now it is time for me to focus on my law firm which I will endeavor to make even better than it has been for 32 years.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2015

I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to our many loyal clients, friends and family and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season=s Greetings and Happy New Year. During this holiday season we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.
I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.
I am now celebrating my 34th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 25th year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for a great many years.
Deborah R. Jesse, started her 25 th year with me in August. She handles Real Estate, Estate Planning, Estate and Litigation matters. As you know, Deborah is a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar, former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year.
Carol A. Leuschner, started her 24 th year with me in August. She handles Estates, Estate Planning and billing matters. Carol is also a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar and is also a former Collier County Secretary of the Year.
My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; and Litigation related to these fields along with Civil Litigation.
Since the sudden passing of my mother, Dee Rankin in 2014, our firm continues to prepare tax returns and other matters she handled.
My son, Brett, a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor=s Degree in Electrical Engineering, continues to hold a position with a government contractor as an Electrical Engineer at Cape Canaveral and recently received a promotion.
My son, Clint, is now an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Central Florida. He graduated from Valencia College in Orlando after transferring from Edison State College.
Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman in 2012 and 2008. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and contributed to these victories. I will be running for reelection in 2016 and would appreciate your support. I also won my reelection to remain as one of the 37 Directors of the Republican Party of Florida in 2013. I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message with some humor added.
I also continue to be one of the longest serving Officers and Directors of Collier County Habitat for Humanity, the most successful Habitat in the world. I also continue to sit on the many Boards of Directors and on many professional committees.
Feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com for more information about the firm and my staff. Please visit the Client Information Section for various tax law changes and other updates of interest in my fields of Practice. Also we now have a Facebook page where we will be posting updates of interest and tax law changes.
The Gift Tax free limit remains at $14,000.00 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption, which remains unchanged from last year.
The Estate Tax exemption (which is also the gift and generation skipping tax exemption) is $5.45 million indexed for inflation per person. Also, we now have portability which states that a surviving spouse will keep the unused exemption of their late spouse. There are many intricacies to this exemption, please contact us for details. Also, the Estate and Gift Tax law continues to have no expiration date. It will not change until Congress and the President change it.
Since the estate and gift tax situation has remained stable, if you are a couple who together are worth less than $4 million and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts. I am using the $4 million dollar figure to allow for asset growth. This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2014

I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to our many loyal clients, friends and family and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season=s Greetings and Happy New Year. During this holiday season we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 32nd year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 23rd year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for a great many years.

Deborah R. Jesse, started her 23rd year with me in August. She handles Real Estate, Estate Planning, Estate and Litigation matters. As you know, Deborah is a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar, former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year.

Carol A. Leuschner, started her 22nd year with me in August. She handles Estates, Estate Planning and billing matters. Carol is also a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar and is also a former Collier County Secretary of the Year.

My Mother, Dee Rankin, retired in April 2013 at the age of 84 after being with our firm for over 25 years. I am sad to report that on March 31, 2014 she passed away suddenly. We will miss her greatly! Our firm still prepares tax returns and the other matters she handled.

My son, Brett, graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with a high GPA. He previously interned with Disney and worked for them after graduation until August of 2013 at which time he accepted a better position with a government contractor as an Electrical Engineer at Cape Canaveral where he is still employed.

My son, Clint, attended Edison State College and transferred to Valencia College in Orlando where he is contemplating the field of Electrical Engineering.

Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman in 2012 and 2008. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and contributed to these victories. I also won my election to remain as one of the 37 directors of the Republican Party of Florida in 2013.  I still host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 12 noon on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message with some humor added.

I also continue to sit on the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force; many Boards of Directors and on the Statewide Realtor/Attorney Committee that helps draft, among other things, the real estate contract that is used throughout the State of Florida.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; Litigation related to these fields along with Civil Litigation.

Please feel free to visit our Web Site at www.drankinlaw.com for more information about the firm and my staff. Please also visit the Client Information Section for various tax law changes and other updates of interest in my fields of Practice.

The Gift Tax free limit remains at $14,000.00 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption, which remains unchanged from last year.

The Estate Tax exemption (which is also the gift and generation skipping tax exemption) is $5.43 million indexed for inflation per person. Also, we now have portability which states that a surviving spouse will keep the unused exemption of their late spouse. There are many intricacies to this exemption, please contact us for details.  Also for the first time in 12 years, the Estate and Gift Tax law has no expiration date.  It will not change until Congress and the President change it.

Since the estate and gift tax situation has remained stable, if you are a couple who together are worth less than $4 million and your estate plan previously had trusts for the sole purpose of avoiding the estate tax we can now greatly simplify your estate plan by removing these trusts. I am using the $4 million dollar figure to allow for asset growth. This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2013

I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to our many loyal clients, friends and family and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year. During this holiday season we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 31st year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 22nd year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for a great many years.

Deborah R. Jesse, started her 22nd year with me in August. She handles Real Estate, Estate Planning, Estate and Litigation matters. As you know, Deborah is a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar, former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year.

Carol A. Leuschner, started her 21st year with me in August. She handles Estates, Estate Planning and billing matters. Carol is also a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar and is also a former Collier County Secretary of the Year. My Mother, Dee Rankin, retired this past April at the age of 84 after being with our firm for over 25 years. Our firm still prepares tax returns and the other matters she handled.

My wife, Janette Rankin has been married to me for over 29 years and continues to assist the firm working on bookkeeping along with handling various collections and foreclosure matters for our clients.

As you know, my son, Brett, graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and a high GPA. He previously interned with Disney and worked for them after graduation until August of 2013 at which time he accepted a better position with a government contractor as an Electrical Engineer at Cape Canaveral.

My son, Clint, continues to attend Edison State College and will be transferring to a college in Orlando where he is contemplating the field of Electrical Engineering as well.

Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman in 2012. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and contributed to these victories. I also won my election to remain as one of the 37 directors of the Republican Party of Florida in 2013.  I now host a segment on the Joe Whitehead Radio Talk Show which airs Saturdays from 10 am to 12 noon on 98.9FM where I spread the conservative message with some humor added.

I also continue to sit on the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force; many Boards of Directors and on the Statewide Realtor/Attorney Committee that helps draft, among other things, the real estate contract that is used throughout the State of Florida.

My staff and I continue to practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business, Corporate and Tax matters; Litigation related to these fields along with Civil Litigation.

Please feel free to visit our Web Site at for more information about the firm and my staff. Please also visit the Client Information Section for various tax law changes and other updates of interest in my fields of Practice.

The Gift Tax free limit is $14,000.00 per person per year plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption, which remains unchanged from last year.

The Estate Tax exemption (which is also the gift and generation skipping tax exemption) is $5.2 Million indexed for inflation per person. Also, we now have portability which states that a surviving spouse will keep the unused exemption of their late spouse. There are many intricacies to this exemption, please contact us for details.  Also for the first time in 12 years, the Estate and Gift Tax law has no expiration date.  It will not change until Congress and the President change it.  This is a brief summary only please do not apply the above to your particular situation without further legal advice.

The “Fiscal Cliff” Legislation

The bill addresses many of the outstanding fiscal cliff concerns, including the Bush era tax rates, estate and gift tax rates, Medicare reimbursement, and the sequester, among numerous other issues.  In addition, federal unemployment benefits would be extended for a year without a budget offset elsewhere.

The bill will extend current tax rates for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000.  Tax rates will revert to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6% from 35% for those making more than $400,000.

The estate tax exemption will remain the same as 2012 at $5.12 million per person (and will be indexed for inflation).  Effective January 1, 2013, the top estate tax rate will increase from 35% to 40%.  These rates and exemption levels are permanently extended.  Portability is also extended and the gift tax exemption will remain at $5 million as well.

The payroll tax holiday will not be extended for another year.  Since 2011, the payroll tax rate, which funds Social Security, was 4.2%.  The payroll tax rate will now revert to the pre-2010 level of 6.2%.

The bill addressed sequestration and delayed the automatic spending cuts by two months until March 1, 2013.  The cost of continuing current spending levels will be paid equally through tax revenue increases and later spending cuts (half of those $12 billion in cuts will come from defense and half of those cuts from nondefense spending). The bill reduces the total amount of the sequester by $24 billion over nine years.

There is a one year “doc fix” included in the bill.  This “doc fix” prevents the scheduled 27% reimbursement cuts to Medicare physicians.  The “doc fix” will not be paid through cuts to the Affordable Care Act or to beneficiaries.

Also included in the bill is the repeal of the CLASS Act (the long term care part of Obama Care) and the establishment of a Commission on Long-Term Care.   The Commission will “develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports.”  The Commission will investigate the interaction between Medicare, Medicaid, and private long-term care insurance.  The Commission should account for demographic changes and trends in order to improve the delivery system for long-term services and supports.

Real estate provisions in ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

Following are real estate-related provisions of the bill, which was signed into law:

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act extended to January 1, 2014. In place since 2007, the act provided a tax break for homeowners who struggled through financial hardship such as a foreclosure, and were granted mortgage debt forgiveness.

Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

The 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

The 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy efficiency improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

“Pease limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high-income filers. “Pease” limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning more than $300,000. The thresholds are indexed for inflation so will rise over time. Under the formula, filers gradually lose the value of their total itemized deductions up to a total of a 20% reduction.

First enacted in 1990 and named for Ohio Congressman Don Pease, who proposed the idea, the limitations continued throughout the Clinton years. The limitations were gradually phased out starting in 2003 and eliminated in 2010. Reinstitution of these limits has far less impact on the mortgage interest deduction than a hard dollar deduction cap, percentage deduction cap or reduction of the amount of mortgage interest deduction that can be claimed.

The capital gains rate remains at 15 percent for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year and couples earning less than $450,000.  Any gains above these amounts will be taxed at 20 percent. The $250,000/$500,000 exclusion for the sale of principle residence remains.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2012

The year 2012 has held many challenges for both the United States and the World in general. Our prayers go out to anyone who may have been affected by the recent tragedies. During this holiday season especially we wish for peace, health, love and prosperity for all.

I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to our many loyal clients, friends and family and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year.

I would like to take a moment to update you with the happenings at the Law Office of Douglas L. Rankin and with my family.

I am now celebrating my 30th year in the practice of law here in Naples and the 21st year of the founding of this firm. As many of you know, most of the members of my firm have been with me for a great many years.

My Mother, Dee Rankin, still does tax returns and handles some of our accounting and has been with me since 1988.

My Paralegal, Deborah R. Jesse, started her 22nd year with me in August. She handles Real Estate, Estate Planning, Estate and Litigation matters. As you know, Deborah is a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar, former Collier County Secretary of the Year and former Legal Support Professional of the Year.

My Paralegal, Carol A. Leuschner, started her 21st year with me in August. She handles Estates, Estate Planning and billing matters. Carol is also a Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar and is also a former Collier County Secretary of the Year.

My wife, Janette Rankin, has been married to me for over 28 years and is helping at the firm working on bookkeeping for the firm and various collection matters for our clients.

Our son, Brett Rankin, is now a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.  He graduated with a high GPA, and his senior design project won 1st place in the Engineering fraternity competition. He previously interned with Disney, where he wants to spend his career, and it would now appear that he may be getting the chance to do just that as he starts with them as a full time intern in January.

Our son, Clint Rankin, is attending Edison State College.

Also, as many of you know, I won my bid for reelection as Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and contributed to these victories.

I continue to sit on the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force; many Boards of Directors and on the Statewide Realtor/Attorney Committee that helps draft, among other things, the real estate contract that is used throughout the State of Florida.

My staff and I continue our practice in all areas of Real Estate, including real estate closings and title insurance; Estate Planning; Estate Administration; Guardianship; Business and Corporate matters; Litigation related to these fields along with Civil Litigation.

I apologize for the fact that the Christmas card and newsletter are late this year.  I was hoping to be able to give you an update of the tax law. However, as most of you are aware, there appears to be no consensus on the changes to the tax law required to be enacted before the end of this year.

I felt I could no longer delay the mailing of the Christmas cards and this newsletter. Therefore as soon as we have some details they will be at this place on my website.

The one thing that is for sure is that the new Gift Tax limit is $14,000.00 plus unlimited amounts for tuition and medical care before you begin to use your lifetime exemption.

There is a very low probability that the Estate Tax exemption will be dropping to and staying at $1 Million.  The more likely range is $2.5 to the current $5 Million. The rest of the outlook for taxes is not even known by the insiders in Congress.

For those of you who have an Estate worth more than $1 Million, you will need to pay particular attention especially if you have an Estate of more than $2.5 or $3 Million, income over $250,000.00 or significant Capital Gains.

Office Location

Douglas L. Rankin
2335 Tamiami Trail North
Suite 308
Naples, FL 34103
Telephone: 239-300-2691
Fax: 239-262-2092

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm