A. Default Rule — Estate Tax Applies in 2010

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A. Default Rule — Estate Tax Applies in 2010

  • A. Default Rule — Estate Tax Applies in 2010

    • The estate tax applies to estates of decedents dying in 2010. The estate tax “applicable exclusion amount” in 2010 is $5.0 million and the rate is 35%. (p.1)
    • B. Carryover Basis Election for 2010 Decedents
    • Executors (within the meaning of I.R.C. § 2203) of estates of decedents who die in 2010 may elect to have the modified carryover basis rules of I.R.C. § 1022 apply instead of the estate tax. (p.2)
    • The election was made by filing Form 8939 by January 17, 2012. The Form 8939 can be amended until July 17, 2012

  • A. Form 56

  • As a precursor to all of the various income tax issues, the fiduciary (the executor, if any, if not, the testamentary trustee, residuary legatees or distributees) should file Form 56 to advise the IRS of the fiduciary relationship. § 6903; Treas. Reg. §§ 601-503 & 301.6903. Written notice of the termination of the fiduciary relationship should also be filed (on Form 56) with the same office where the initial Form 56 was filed. Treas. Reg. § 301.6903-1(b). (p.1)

  • The executor may file Form 5495 (filed after the relevant tax return has been filed) requesting release from personal liability for the decedent’s income and gift taxes. The IRS then has 9 months to notify the executor of any amount due. After that date, the executor is discharged from personal liability for any deficiency thereafter found to be due. § 6905; Reg. §301.6905-1. (p.3)

  • The executor may have personal liability for the estate taxes of the estate. The executor may request a discharge from personal liability of estate tax after nine months from making the application (or if the application is made before the return is filed, nine months after the due date of the return). § 2204(a); Reg. §20.2204-1. The request for discharge from personal liability is made by attaching Form 5495 to the estate tax return, or by filing Form 5495 after the Form 706 has been filed. (p. 3)

A. Decedent’s Final Return

  • A. Decedent’s Final Return

  • 1. File Decedent's Final Income Tax Return. The executor is required to file the decedent’s final income tax return for the period ending with the date of death. § 6012(b)(1). (p.1)

  • 2. Net Operating Losses, Charitable Deduction and Capital Loss Carryovers. Net operating loss (NOL) carryovers, charitable deduction carryovers and capital loss carryovers from a prior year are deductible for the last time on the decedent’s final income tax return. Any unused deductions are lost. If an NOL arises from a net business loss appearing on the decedent’s final return, the NOL may be carried back to previous years. §172(b)(1)(A)(i). (p.2)

  • 1. Consider Fiscal Year. A decedent's estate may elect a non- calendar fiscal year as long as the first year does not exceed 12 months and the year ends on the last day of the calendar month. § 441(e); Reg. § 1.441-1T(b). The primary considerations in the selection of a non-calendar fiscal year include (1) deferring payment of income tax by the estate, (2) deferring beneficiaries' income tax on distributions, by allowing them to report the income in a taxable year after when the distribution was received in certain circumstances. (p.4)

  • 2. Election Under §645 to Treat Revocable Trust as Part of Grantor’s Estate

  • a. Overview. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 permits the executor of an estate and the trustee of a “qualified revocable trust” to treat the trust as part of the estate for income tax purposes for all taxable years of the estate ending after the date of the decedent’s death and before the “applicable date”. This change was made as the culmination of a long term planning project generally to treat estates and revocable trusts in a similar manner for income tax purposes. (p.11)

  • b. Maximum Election Period. The § 645 election generally will terminate twelve months after issuance of the closing letter. See Treas. Reg. § 1.645-1(f)(2)(ii). (p.12)

  • c. Various Tax Effects of Making § 645 Election. Two of the various income tax benefits that may result are:

  • • availability of a fiscal year under §644, Treas. Reg. § 1.645-1(e)(3)(i)

  • • no estimated tax obligation for 2 years after the decedent’s death, Treas. Reg. § 1.645-1(e)(4). (p.12-13)

3. Income in Respect of a Decedent Deduction (For Estate or Beneficiary). Income in respect of a decedent (IRD) is, generally speaking, income that was earned before the decedent's death, but that was received after his death.

    • 3. Income in Respect of a Decedent Deduction (For Estate or Beneficiary). Income in respect of a decedent (IRD) is, generally speaking, income that was earned before the decedent's death, but that was received after his death.
  • To prevent a cash basis taxpayer from being able to avoid paying income tax on such items of income, IRD is taxed upon receipt by the estate or other beneficiary. §691(a)(1).

  • Furthermore, to avoid double estate and income taxation on the same amount, an income tax deduction is allowed against IRD income, when it is received by the estate or by a beneficiary, for the estate tax attributable to the IRD income. §691(c).

  • There is not a complete offset of the double tax because the §691(c) deduction is only allowed for the federal estate tax—but not the state estate or inheritance taxes—attributable to the income in respect of decedent items. (p.13-14)

  • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions

  • a. General Rules and Capital Gains. Any distribution from an estate, whether of income or principal, will generally carry out the income of the estate to the beneficiary to the extent of the estate's "distributable net income" (DNI). § 661 (deduction to estate); § 662 (income to beneficiary).

  • DNI is the taxable income of the estate with certain modifications. § 643(a). (p.14-15)

    • Capital Gains in DNI. One of the main exceptions from the general rule that DNI is the taxable income of the estate is that capital gains and losses are usually excluded from DNI since they are typically allocated to corpus and are not distributed to beneficiaries currently. § 643(a)(3). Regulations now provide substantially more flexibility to cause capital gains to be included in DNI; the key is that any allocation in the fiduciary’s discretion to treat capital gains as being distributed must be exercised consistently and cannot vary form year to year. Treas. Reg. §1.643(a)-3(e)(Exs. 2, 12, 13, 14). (p.15)

  • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions -Continued

  • b. Exception: Specific Bequest Exception. Payments of specific bequests are excluded from the general rule that distributions carry out estate income to beneficiaries. This exception applies to a bequest of a specific sum of money or specific property and which is paid or credited all at once or in not more than 3 installments and that is ascertainable under the will at the date of death. § 663(a)(1); Reg. §1.663(a)-1(b). (p.15)

  • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions -Continued

  • c. Exception: Separate Share Rule. The separate share rule is mandatory for estates. The general purpose is to provide a more equitable result for estate beneficiaries, by limiting the amount of distributable net income (or DNI) that is “carried out” as taxable income for a particular beneficiary to that beneficiary’s pro rata share of such income that the beneficiary is entitled to receive from the estate. I.R.C. § 663(c). While this purpose is laudable, the application of the rule can be difficult, especially in estates with difficult-to-value assets. (p.15)

  • c. Exception: Separate Share Rule-Continued

  • Effect. The general effect of the separate share rule is to limit the amount of DNI that is carried out to each beneficiary (which is taxable to the beneficiary, § 662(a), and deductible to the estate, § 661(a)) to the DNI that is allocable to each beneficiary’s separate share. (p.15)

  • No “Flow-Through” Treatment. The rule only limits the amount of DNI carried out with distributions that are made. It does not create a “flow-through” system to allocate taxable income to beneficiaries who do not receive distributions. (p.16)

  • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions -Continued

  • d. Interest on Funding Pecuniary Bequests. The IRS maintains that interest on funding pecuniary bequests is not included in the estate’s DNI that is carried out to the beneficiary, and is not deductible by the estate as a distribution deduction under § 661 or other sections. However, it is interest income to the beneficiary. (p.16)

  • Overall Effect. Creates taxable income to the family. (p.16)

  • d. Interest on Funding Pecuniary Bequests-Continued

  • No § 212 or § 163 Deduction Either. A district court case has held that interest paid on specific bequests was not deductible. Schwan v. United States, 91 AFTR2d 2003-1658 (D. S.D. 2003). The court reasoned that the interest expense was not deductible under § 212 because it was not necessary for the estate to incur the interest charges. An investment interest deduction under § 163 was not allowed because the interest was not tied to debt incurred for an investment. (p.16)

  • Estate Tax Deduction May be Possible. Although cases have not allowed an income tax deduction for interest on pecuniary bequests, an estate tax deduction was allowed in Turner v. U.S., 93 AFTR2d 2004-686 (N.D. Tex. 2004). But it was a somewhat unusual situation. (p.16-17)

    • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions -Continued
  • e. Distribution of Appreciated Property in Satisfaction of Pecuniary Bequest. Distributions of property in kind from trusts or estates that are in satisfaction of pecuniary bequests or pecuniary amounts are treated as taxable sales or exchanges, and gains or losses may result. A pecuniary bequest or amount is one that has a fixed or definite dollar amount. Reg. §1.661(a)- 2(f)(1); Kenan v. Commissioner, 114 F.2d 217 (2nd Cir. 1940). (p17)

    • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions- Continued
  • f. Distribution of IRD to Satisfy Pecuniary Bequest Accelerates Recognition of IRD. A distribution of a right to receive IRD in satisfaction of a fixed sum of money bequest will likely cause acceleration of tax on the IRD. See Treas. Reg. § 1.691(a)- 4(b)(2).

  • The acceleration problem does not occur if IRD is distributed in satisfaction of a specific bequest, a percentage bequest (Ltr. Rul. 200234019), or of a portion of a residuary bequest (Ltr. Ruls. 201013033 & 200652028). (p.17)

    • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions -Continued
  • g. In-Kind Distributions Typically Not Taxable Transactions. If a will leaves bequests to multiple beneficiaries, and if the beneficiaries agree to take specific assets of equal value rather than receiving pro rata distributions of a fractional interest in every asset, the IRS takes the position that this results in a taxable sale or exchange between the estate beneficiaries. Rev. Rul. 69-486, 1969-2 C.B. 159.

  • Rev. Rul. 69-486 indicates, however, that if the executor has the authority to make a non-pro rata distribution, no taxable event occurs when a non-pro rata distribution is made. That is the reason that most trust instruments permit non-pro rata distributions. (p.19)

  • 1. General Rules Regarding Income Tax Effects of Distributions

  • 2. Equitable Recoupment

  • Description. An unfair result may occur in a situation in which an estate asset is sold after the decedent’s death, the gain is reported using the date of death value as reported on the estate tax return as the basis of the asset, the time period for claiming an income tax refund expires, and afterward the estate tax value of the asset is finally determined and is increased. The basis should have been higher, which would have reduced the income tax. But the period for requesting an income tax refund has lapsed. In that situation, equitable recoupment may provide relief for the taxpayer by making an appropriate offset in the amount of additional estate taxes. (p.21)

  • 2. Equitable Recoupment – Continued

  • Requirements. There are five requirements to qualify for equitable recoupment. Estate of Branson v. Comm’r, 264 F.3d 904 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. denied 535 U.S. 927 (2002); Estate of Jorgensen, T.C. Memo. 2009-66. The IRS has fought the application of the doctrine in a variety of cases. (p.21)

  • Planning—File Protective Claim for Refund. From a planning perspective, filing a protective claim for refund of the initial tax should be filed, if possible, rather than having to rely on an equitable recoupment argument. This is a fairly common situation, where the IRS claims that estate assets are undervalued for estate tax purposes. (p.21)

A. Decedent’s Final Return

    • A. Decedent’s Final Return
  • B. Planning Considerations for Estate's Fiduciary Income Tax Return, Form 1041

  • C. Funding and Distribution Planning

  • D. Executor's Commissions

  • 1. Self Employment Income? Generally not self employment income: Rev. Rul. 58-5, 1958-1 C.B. 322 (executor commissions of nonprofessional fiduciaries generally not treated as earnings from self-employment). (p.21)

    • 2. Waiver. If executor will waive right to compensation, consider doing so in the first six months. Rev. Rul. 66- 167, 1966-1 C.B.20. (p.22)

A. Alternate Valuation Date

    • A. Alternate Valuation Date
  • 1. Purpose. The economy of the last several years has left many situations in which the estate assets decline in value during the first six months following the decedent’s death, to the point that much of the estate would be needed to pay estate tax based on the higher values that existed at the date of death.

  • 2. Requirements. An executor may elect to have the estate assets valued as of a date six months after the decedent's death if (1) the gross estate declines as a result of making the election and (2) the combined estate and GST taxes decline as a result of making the election. (p.22)

  • 3. Election Mechanics. The election must be made on “the last estate tax return filed by the executor on or before the due date of the return (including extensions of time to file actually granted) or, if a timely return is not filed, the first estate tax return filed by the executor after the due date, provided the return is filed no later than 1 year after the due date (including extensions of time to file actually granted).” Reg. § 20.2031-1(b)(1). (p.23)

    • 4. Applies to All Assets. If the election is made, it applies to all property in the gross estate and cannot be applied to only a portion of the property. Reg. §20.2032-1(b)(1).

  • 5. Effects of Sales and Distributions on Alternate Values. A sale or distribution of an asset within the six- month alternate valuation period fixes the alternate valuation of that particular asset as of the date of the sale or distribution. (p.25)

  • 6. Proposed Regulations. Proposed regulations (revised in November 2012) provide that the valuation date is accelerated if there is a change in ownership structure such that the interest after the change does not reasonably represent the assets on the date of death.. Prop. Reg. § 20.2032-1(c)(1). (p.26-27)

  • 1. General Effect of Special Use Valuation. Certain real estate used in a farm or in a trade or business may be valued at its use in that enterprise rather than at its fair market value measured by its "highest and best use,” up to a maximum reduction of $750,000, indexed from 1999 ($1,040,000 in 2012). (p.27)

  • 2. Qualification Requirements. A number of detailed requirements must be satisfied before special use valuation is available. An excellent summary of these requirements is included in the instructions for Schedule A on the Form 706. (p.27)

  • 3. Determining Special Use Value. The property may be valued based on a capitalization of rents method (if it is farm or ranch land) or on a five-factor method. §2032A(e)(7-8). This can be complicated; start early. (p.27-28)

  • Property Tax Values. Some attorneys report that they have been successful (on multiple occasions) in getting IRS agents to approve using the “Agricultural Value” on property tax statements as the special use value. (p.28)

  • 1. Substantial and Gross Undervaluation Penalty Tests,

  • §6662 (g-h)

  • 20% Substantial Undervaluation Penalty. If there is an underpayment of estate or gift tax by more than $5,000 and if the value claimed on the return is from 65% to 40% of the correct value, there is a 20% penalty.

  • 40% Gross Undervaluation Penalty. The penalty is 40% if the valuation claimed is 40% or less of the “correct” value.

  • Reasonable Cause Exception. There is a reasonable cause exception. Relying on an appraisal is not automatically reasonable cause; reliance must be reasonable and in good faith to qualify for the exception. (p.28-29)

  • 2. Valuation Adjustments

  • Undivided interests in real estate (cases often allow discounts 20%-40%, and more) (p.33)

  • Minority and marketability discounts for interests in entities (combined discounts are often 35% or more) (p.35-38)

  • IRS audits often involve disagreements over the appropriate size of these valuation adjustments.

  • 3. Post-Transfer Events

  • Subsequent events that shed light on what a willing buyer would have paid on the date in question are admissible, such as “evidence of actual sales prices received for property after the date [in question], so long as the sale occurred within a reasonable time ... and no intervening events drastically changed the value of the property.” First Nat'l Bank of Kenosha, 763 F.2d at 894; see Schnorbach v. Kavanagh, 102 F. Supp. 828, 834 [41 AFTR 808] (W.D. Mich. 1951). (p.39-41)

  • If the sales price is greater than the value reported on the return, the IRS invariably will take the position that the higher sales price should be used.

1. Income or Estate Tax Deduction. Generally, administration expenses can be deducted either on the estate tax return or on the estate’s income tax return. There used to be a big advantage to being able to deduct expenses on the estate tax return (when the top rate was 55% or higher). That is often no longer the case when the top estate tax and income tax rates are the same. (Only “reasonable and necessary” administration expenses can be deducted on the estate tax return.) (p.4-5))

  • 1. Income or Estate Tax Deduction. Generally, administration expenses can be deducted either on the estate tax return or on the estate’s income tax return. There used to be a big advantage to being able to deduct expenses on the estate tax return (when the top rate was 55% or higher). That is often no longer the case when the top estate tax and income tax rates are the same. (Only “reasonable and necessary” administration expenses can be deducted on the estate tax return.) (p.4-5))

  • 2. “Graegin Notes” If the estate borrows funds to pay estate taxes, giving a note that has a fixed interest rate for a fixed time period and that cannot be prepaid, cases have allowed an estate tax deduction for the full amount of interest that will be paid over the life of the loan. On a long term note, this can result in a substantial estate tax deduction—reducing the estate tax owed 9 months after date of death. The IRS often argues that a deduction will be allowed for fewer years than the full term of the note. (p.49-50)

  • 1. General Filing and Payment Requirements

  • Who Must File. Estates (of U.S. citizens or residents) for which the gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds the applicable exclusion amount ($5 million in 2010 and 2011; $5 million indexed in 2012--$5.12 million). (p.64)

  • Initial Due Date. Estate tax returns must be filed within nine months after the date of death. §6075. Extensions of time to file may be made on Form 4768. (p.64)

1. General Filing and Payment Requirements-Continued

  • 1. General Filing and Payment Requirements-Continued

  • Extensions.

  • Extensions are requested on Form 4768.

  • Separate” time to file” and “time to pay” extensions.

  • Automatic 6-month extension of time to file (but not for time to pay). Treas. Reg. § 20.6081-1(b).

  • Reasonable Cause Extension of Time to Pay. (§ 6161). Extensions may be granted for one year at a time, up to 10 years. (p.64)

  • 2. Portability Election

  • The Tax Relief … Act of 2010 allows a surviving spouse to use any unused estate tax exclusion amount from a deceased spouse. The estate of the decedent spouse must file an estate tax return on a timely basis and make an election for the surviving spouse to be able to use the unused exclusion amount. (p.65)

  • 3. Extension of Time to Pay Tax Attributable to Closely- Held Business Under §6166

  • a. General Description. If the estate meets specific requirements, the estate is entitled to an extension of time to pay estate taxes attributable to a closely-held business over 14 years (5 years interest only.; principal paid in equal installments at end of years 5-14) under § 6166. (p.65)

  • b. Advantages. This deferral is typically extremely advantageous. If the estate is illiquid, it typically would have no ability to borrow funds from a third party on as favorable terms. (p.65-66)

3. Extension of Time to Pay Tax Attributable to Closely- Held Business Under §6166-Continued

  • 3. Extension of Time to Pay Tax Attributable to Closely- Held Business Under §6166-Continued

  • b. Advantages-Continued

  • As a practical matter, an estate would never be able to borrow from a bank 35% of the value of the collateral for 14 years, and only have to deal with the bank once a year when payments are made. Section 6166 borrowing gives a better economic result than borrowing from a bank. (p.66)

  • c. Requirements.

  • (1) Decedent is U.S. citizen or resident

  • (2) Interest in closely held business exceeds 35% of “adjusted gross estate”

  • (3) The business is a “trade or business” (no objective rules) and the interest is “closely held” (very objective requirements) (p.67)

3. Extension of Time to Pay Tax Attributable to Closely- Held Business Under §6166-Continued

  • 3. Extension of Time to Pay Tax Attributable to Closely- Held Business Under §6166-Continued

  • d. Interest. 2% on a portion (estate tax attributable to first $1.0 million of business interest over the estate tax exclusion amount). Balance: 45% of the normal IRS underpayment rate. So—low interest rate. (p.66)

  • e. Acceleration. The deferred tax can be accelerated: - if payments are not made when due (there is a 6 month grace period for this purpose);

  • - if there is a sale or disposition of 50% or more of the closely held business by family members, § 6166(g), or

  • - if the estate has undistributed net income.

A. Effect

  • A. Effect

  • If the transfer results from a “qualified disclaimer”, it is not a taxable gift by the disclaimant. (p.81)

  • B. General Requirements (p.81)

  • Section 2518(b) defines a qualified disclaimer as an irrevocable and unqualified [yes, a “qualified” disclaimer must be “unqualified”] refusal by a person to accept an interest in property if—

  • 1. such refusal is in writing,

  • 2. such writing must be delivered to the transferor of the interest, his legal representative or the holder of the legal title to the property to which the interest relates or the person in possession of the property

  • 3. such delivery is made no later than the date which is 9 months after the later of—

  • a. the date on which the transfer creating the interest in such person is made, or

  • b. the day on which such person attains age 21,

  • 4. such person has not accepted the interest or any of its benefits,

  • 5. as a result of such refusal, the interest passes without any direction on the part of the person making the disclaimer,

  • 6. the interest passes either—

  • a. to the spouse of the decedent, or

  • b. to a person other than the person making the disclaimer.

  • 1. Can Disclaim Specific Assets From Trust. After a specific trust asset is disclaimed, it must "leave" the trust and pass to someone other than the disclaimant. Reg. §25.2518 3 (a) (2). (p.81)

  • 2. Formula Disclaimers are Permitted. The regulations and various private letter rulings indicate that a formula disclaimer may be a qualified disclaimer. Reg. §25.2518-3(d), Ex. 20 (fractional disclaimer; numerator of fraction is the smallest amount which will allow estate to pass free of federal estate tax and denominator is the value of residuary estate). (p.81-82)

  • 1. Disclaimant as Fiduciary. The disclaimant/fiduciary can retain the fiduciary power to distribute to designated beneficiaries if the power is subject to an ascertainable standard. Treas. Reg. § 25.2518-2(e)(1)(i) & 25.2518-2(e)(5)Ex.(12). (p.84)

  • 2. Disclaimant Cannot Hold Power of Appointment. A significant disadvantage to making a disclaimer is that the disclaimant cannot retain a limited power of appointment over disclaimed assets. Reg. § 25.2518-2(e)(2) & §25.2518- 2(e)(5)(Ex. 5). This is a significant disadvantage because holding a limited power of appointment provides a great deal of indirect “persuasive influence” with family members. (p.84)

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