Lothringer and Alter Ego

A recent case shows how a shareholder and corporation, being considered alter egos, can cause unintended consequences. In Lothringer,[1]a corporate shareholder’s individual property was subject to enforced collection action by the IRS to satisfy corporate tax liabilities.[2] The court’s finding that the corporation was the shareholder’s alter ego allowed the IRS to hold the shareholder…
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The Benefits of a Lifetime CLAT

Anyone looking outside their window (or watching TV) recently knows that we are in a volatile time. Among other things, current volatility results from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an uncertain economy,[1] and upcoming elections. The effects of this include large amounts of government spending,[2] low interest rates,[3] and a reduction of the value of a…
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Creditors Rights to Trust Assets – Mississippi Law Update

As a basic matter, creditors of a trust beneficiary generally do not have access to assets of the trust.[1] The primary exception is that creditors generally can access trust assets distributable to the settlor of the trust, such a trust being considered “self-settled.”[2] Many states have abolished this exception for trusts that satisfy certain statutory…
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Refresher on Section 139 – Qualified Disaster Relief Payments

On March 13, 2020, under the Stafford Act, the President issued an emergency declaration as a part of the government’s attempts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, business owners have had a lot to handle including mandatory closures, remote working, issues under preexisting contracts (leases, loans, supply contracts, employment agreements,…
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Sixth Circuit Approves Asset Protection Through Trusts

Introduction Earl and Margaret Blasingame filed bankruptcy seeking the discharge of over $7.7 million in debt. They claimed to have monthly income below $900 and total assets of less than $6,000. However, Earl and Margaret lived in a “28-acre gated compound” with a heated swimming pool and lighted tennis courts. The residence was adjoined by thousands…
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An Update on Cryptocurrency and the IRS

There was a lot of movement from the IRS involving cryptocurrencies in 2019. Prior to 2019, the IRS had issued just one piece of guidance regarding cryptocurrencies. That was by issuance of Notice 2014-21 in which the IRS let us know it would treat cryptocurrencies as capital assets rather than as a currency. There are…
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Substance over Form: No Friend of the Taxpayer

In the recent Messina case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Tax Court denying S corporation shareholders losses as a result of lack of basis, particularly in this case, debt basis. In rendering their opinions, the Ninth Circuit and Tax Court discussed a taxpayer’s ability to argue substance over form…
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Are Your Life Insurance Death Benefits Taxable?

The income taxation of life insurance death benefits seems fairly simple initially. Many people know the general rule that death benefits are not subject to income tax. However, there are exceptions that can apply which will cause the beneficiary to owe income tax on the receipt of death benefits. This article describes certain of these…
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