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Articles: 237
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TAX HELP IN THE BAIL OUT BILL AND A FEW OTHER YEAR END TAX CONSIDERATIONS

© 2008 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire, Miami Florida
The Emergency Economic Stabilization act of 2008 was signed by President Bush on October 3, 2008. The main focus on the bail-out bill was to stave off further economic panic. These provisions were discussed in earlier editions, “Primer on the Sub-Prime Mess” (Volume 2, No. 3) and “Sub-Prime Mess Continued (Volume 2, No. 4). This edition will discuss only a handful of the more than 300 tax law changes included in the bail out bill and some sundry year-end tax concerns.
MORTGAGE FOREGIVENESS DEBT RELIEF EXTENDED
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (Act) provides tax relief to defaulting homeowners who might otherwise owe income tax on the forgiven portion of their mortgage obligation that was to have expired in 2008 The Act, extended through 2012, makes nontaxable debt forgiven on a qualified principal residence (QPR) with certain limitations as follows:
1. The relief applies to debt forgiven between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009.
2. Qualified principal residence is a residence as to each taxpayer meeting the same definition as under Section 121 relating to the home sale exclusion of $250,000 ($500,000 for joint returns).
3. The debt must be secured by a QPR and be either:
a. Acquisition indebtedness up to $2,000,000 ($1,000,000 on a MFS return, or,
b. Home equity indebtedness up to $100,000 ($50,000 on MFS return) to the extent that when added to other QPR debt the total debt does not exceed the FMV of the residence.
4. The amount excluded from income reduces the tax basis of the property immediately.

5. See Volume 2, No. 1 for situations that might require the assistance of a tax lawyer.
ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX
This alternate tax system was added to the tax code to make sure that the very rich pay at east a minimum amount of tax. The AMT has different income inclusion and tax deduction rules, exempts AMT taxable income up to an exemption amount and employs a different tax rates. But, because congress did not index the ... Read More »

THE SUB-PRIME MESS GETS MESSIER

© 2008 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire, Miami Florida
I continue to focus on the financial crisis in lieu of my usual tax commentary because of our mutual concern for this problem.

BAIL OUT CHUTES AND LADDERS
1. The Bail Out now resembles the exciting up and down game for children in which players spin the spinner and move pawns square by square. If a pawn lands on a picture square at the bottom of a ladder, the player climbs up with a good deed while naughty deeds slide players back down for landing on a picture square at the top of a chute. Of course, what square one lands on depends on the chance of the spin. So it is with the bail out, the Fed and Treasury are employing tools for managing the money supply and spending but they can’t always foresee all of the consequences of every move. Thus, the bail out plan continues to be adjusted on the fly. The latest adjustments are:
a. The Treasury is for now abandoning the plan to use the remainder of the $700 million fund to buy bad loans held by financial institutions. Instead, it will directly invest more capital into these entities. The Treasury may also later buy some troubled assets but the program proved too problematic to implement wholesale due to problems in determining the price at which to buy and the dispersed ownership of securitized loan packages.
b. As part of the plan the Treasury is now considering requiring recipient banks to raise an equivalent amount of private capital to qualify for a federal investment. Such a requirement, in effect, lets the market determine which banks are worthy of federal aid. The Treasury was concerned that if it continued to invest unilaterally, it would be the government identifying worthy and unworthy banks and causing more stock market instability and depositor flight from those not selected.
c. Last week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced that the Treasury will shift its focus from unfreezing institutional lending to helping loosen up consumer credit availability. But, he said, “There are no ea... Read More »

THE SUB-PRIME SOAP OPERA

© 2008 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire, Miami Florida
Following the appearances and sometimes conflicting statements of President Bush, Congressional leaders, the Fed Chairman, Treasury Secretary, FDIC and SEC heads, the beggar pleas of the auto big three, and parade of President-Elect Obama’s appointees, I begin to feel I am watching “As the World Turns.” I might be amused were the stakes less serious. Drama aside, I will continue to focus on the financial crisis in lieu of my usual tax commentary because of the many developments the past two weeks since my last commentary.

BAIL-OUT-OLOGY
1. We are in a recession: Economists have finally figured out what every common person has known, that times are bad. Economically speaking, the U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007 they now report. Some other dour third quarter or later months economic indicators reported are:
a. Employment: In November alone 500,000 people were laid off from jobs. This was the steepest one month drop since 1974. In total, this year 1.9 million workers have been laid off this year. Job loses are happening around the world. In China the decline in availability of city jobs has begun a wave of reverse migration to rural areas and raising concerns about social unrest.
b. Manufacturing: U.S. manufacturing activity declined to a 26 year low.
c. Commodity prices: Mirroring the worldwide manufacturing slowdown, commodity prices for zinc, copper and lead have seen the bigger declines than in 1929.
d. Evidence of continued risk aversion: A measure of continued risk aversion is found in the widening gap or spread between the so called risk free or benchmark Treasury debt yields and those on debts of others. Even 10 year municipal bonds are yielding 4% or more than 1% over the 10 year Treasury obligation. Thus, the cost of borrowing by local governments, companies and others is increased creating a drag on the economy. Recently, the NY Port Authority received on bids when it offered $300 million in taxable 10 ... Read More »

Letter to Family Court of United States

Karina Duvall
Pursuant to Art. 161, part 1 of the RF Family Code, personal non-property and property rights of spouses are governed by the law of the state within which they have a common place of residence.

The jurisdiction rules are established by the provisions of the RF Civil Procedure Code (articles 28-32), which stipulate that a lawsuit should be filed at the place of residence of the defendant. In a number of cases the law permits to consider the case at the plaintiff’s place of residence or at the place of property location. However in each case the law connects the judicial recourse with the citizen’s place of residence or place of property location.

The place of permanent or preferred residence is recognized as a citizen’s place of residence (Art. 20 part 1 of RF Civil Code). And the registration of a RF citizen on the Russian Federation territory is exclusively administrative: a person actually residing on the territory of Russia at least 183 days a year is a resident of the Russian Federation is a (Art. 207, part 2 of the RF Tax Code).

Real estate disputes fall within the exclusive jurisdiction and are considered only at the place of real estate location (Art. 30, part 1 of the RF Civil Procedure Code). The Russian court is incompetent for considering the cases concerning division of property located abroad.

The Russian court shall be entitled to divide the movable property located outside Russia only if the case meets the jurisdiction requirements, i.e. the defendant has a permanent place of residence and resides in Russia.

Pursuant to Art. 163 of the RF Family Code the rights and obligations of parents and children are determined by the law of the state on the territory of which they have a common place of residence. The Russian court is not entitled to define the fate of the child whose both parents reside outside Russia, and the child himself has been living abroad from his birth.

In fact, Art. 160, part 2 of the RF Family Code, Art. 402, ... Read More »

Sur la juridiction: la lettre à la cour française

Karina Duvall
Madame le Juge aux Affaires Familiales,

Je représente les intérêts de monsieur Shon dans son divorce à St. Petersbourg.

Le ____________________ j’ai reçu le pouvoir signé par monsieur Shon pour le représenter durant son divorce à l’encontre de Mme Vasilieva à la cour de St. Petersbourg, dans le district numéro ________. Les audiences de ce cas ont été planifiées pour le _____________, ______________ et le ____________________. Les audiences ont été repoussées plusieurs fois à cause des réclamations de Mme Vasilieva indiquant qu’un divorce du même type avait lieu en France. Selon elle vous êtes chargé de cette affaire.

En tous cas, un document approprié prouvant ces réclamations n’a pas été représenté à la cour de St. Petersbourg. D’un point de vue légal il n’est pas raisonnable de croire que ce cas puisse être traité par votre cour étant donné que cela serait en violation des règles de jugement et contre les normes du droit international. Si ce divorce est bien pris en compte cela signifierai que Mme Vasilieva vous aurait donné de fausses informations.

1. Ni Mr Shon ni Mme Vasilieva n’ont résidé de manière permanente en France: Mr Shon vit de manière permanente aux États Unis et Mme Vasilieva de manière permanente en Russie.

2. Ni Mr Shon ni Mme Vasilieva n’ont la citoyenneté Française aucun d’eux ne l’a eu auparavant.

3. Les parties ne sont pas mariées en France; elles se sont mariées en Finlande.

Donc, il n’y a pas de mon point vue, de raison légale pour demander en France un divorce et une pension alimentaire pour les raisons citées ci dessus.

Cependant, la présence d’une propriété en France pourrait être une raison valable pour que celle ci soit partagée dans... Read More »
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