Tax Reform: Selected Planning Points

By Herman Spence III

Below are selected planning points regarding recent tax changes. This summary does not discuss which provisions are temporary and which are permanent.

A. Bunching Into One Year Charitable Contributions That Would Otherwise Be Made Over Several Years

The new tax law raises the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. Only $10,000 of state income taxes and property taxes may be deducted. Many expenses that were previously deductible, including investment management expenses and employee expenses, are no longer deductible. Many individuals will now use the $24,000 standard deduction rather than itemizing deductions. Such a taxpayer will, in effect, lose the deductibility of charitable contributions. Some taxpayers may be able to mitigate that by making in a single year charitable contributions they would normally make over several years. Such a taxpayer may have itemized deductions exceeding $24,000 in the year in which charitable contributions are bunched.

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Domestic Support Obligations In Bankruptcy

By Nick Brown

Experienced family lawyers are adept at helping their clients secure alimony, child support, property settlements and other financial relief. But what happens to these claims when the party obliged to make payments files bankruptcy?

This article takes a look at how domestic support obligations are treated in a bankruptcy case.  The article also highlights some common issues for dispute and ways to protect your client.

What Is a Domestic Support Obligation?

The “domestic support obligation” is a defined term in bankruptcy law, referring to a debt “in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support” that is owed to a current or former spouse or child. In order to qualify, the obligation must be established under a formal agreement, court order or state law.[1]

Common examples of domestic support obligations are alimony and child support. On the other hand, property divisions under equitable distribution orders typically do not qualify. In some instances, the nature of the claim is uncertain which could lead to litigation.

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