Last week, President Obama released his proposed government budget for the coming 2014 fiscal year. Of course, the reality is that the budget itself is just proposed and has not yet been approved, and many of the suggestions contained in the budget may be reformed before being set forth in actual legislation (or fall by the wayside entirely, or be written into legislation that ultimately doesn't pass). Nonetheless, proposals in the President's budget often signal areas that the Administration may be targeting for reform, and/or line items that could end out as a bargaining chip in future legislation.
In the 2014 budget, the Administration reiterates several reforms that have been suggested in the past, including an array of high-net-worth estate planning crackdowns, and even a reversion back to the 2009 estate tax exemption and rates. However, the proposal also includes several notable new provisions, including a potential tax credit for establishing automatic enrollment retirement plans, a shift to chained CPI that could impact everything from Social Security benefits to income tax brackets to the return on TIPS, a series of estate planning crackdowns on GRATs, IDGTs, and dynasty trusts, and in what has already been picked up by the media as a controversial provision, a potential "cap" of $3.4 million on retirement accounts beyond which no further contributions would be allowed.
In addition, surprising new proposals outside of gift and estate planning were included, including favorable relief allowing inherited IRA rollovers and an extension to the tax-free treatment of mortgage debt cancelling in a short sale, and the elimination of Required Minimum Distributions for those with less than $75,000 in retirement accounts. On the other hand, the proposals also include an increase to Medicare Part B and Part D premiums, especially for higher income individuals, a potential cap on itemized deductions at a 28% tax rate (even if the individual has a higher tax bracket), and a new requirement that all stocks in the future must use average cost (eliminating the ability to make lot-level gain and loss harvesting decisions).
The reality at this point is that information and details on many of these provisions are still limited; nonetheless, we highlight all of the most important proposals that would impact financial planners and their clients, and consider their feasibility and the potential planning implications.Continue reading "Proposed $3 Million IRA Cap, ... »