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1 Volume 58 Issue 4 October 2011 C ALIFORNIA SOCIETY OF TAX CONSULTANTS TO REGISTER ON LINE GO TO: See page 5 to register For more information call the Society office at CSTC (2782) Inside This Issue Page President's Message 2 Calendar of Events 3 Math of Tax Relief 4 Tax Bridge Registration 5 IRS Criminal Investigation 6 Quickfinder 7 Welcome New Members 8

2 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE BOO! and a scary Halloween, I recently responded to an article that was brought to my attention by Karen Devaney of the Central Valley chapter. Since this cast us in an unfavorable light and affected all of the California tax preparer community it should be responded to. The following is my answer: I took great exception to your article in the Modesto Bee September 27 th paper titled Higher Standards for Tax Preparers authored by David Ranii. I m not sure why some of the persons he spoke with in the Tax Profession didn t bother to enlighten Mr. Ranii that in California, anybody that prepares tax returns for a fee are required to be either an Enrolled Agent, a CPA, Tax Attorney or be registered with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC) and complete twenty hours of Continuing Education each and every year. They are referred to as CRTP s. The Council oversees the registration of the CRTP, approves who can be providers of the continuing education and tracks the hours of the CRTP s. In addition there are several tax organizations that require their members to be either a CPA,EA or a CRTP. As President of one of these statewide approved provider organizations, California Society of Tax Consultants, I can attest that our members are among the best educated and ethical preparers in the nation receiving well over the required minimum hours. We offer over 30 hours a month of continuing education plus Symposiums, Seminars and numerous workshops and classes throughout the year and have done so for over 45 years, even before we were required to do so by California. Our members are dedicated and very well educated in tax matters and did not deserve to be included in the above article and will hopefully await your retraction. On a lighter note, we have included the article Member Spotlight. This is a new feature in Orange County chapter s newsletter. We are sharing this one this time because this member has been both active at the chapter and society level. We have many members who have been around a long time and are not acknowledged but who still contribute. Remember that October 31 st is the deadline for submitting Member of the Year nominations. Don t forget to bring a prospective new member to a meeting. The rewards are priceless. Respectfully submitted, Linda J. Morlang President Page 2

3 ABOUT THE REPORTER 2011 SOCIETY OFFICERS PRESIDENT....Linda Morlang 1ST VP....Sharon Hardy 2ND VP...Cindy Price SECRETARY.....David Eastis TREASURER.....Barbara Cleary PAST PRESIDENT.....Nicole LeBrun The REPORTER is published by California Society of Tax Consultants, Inc. Telephone 714/ Subscription rates of $10.00 per year are included in membership dues. (This value is established for tax purposes only. No dues adjustment for refusal or non-publication.) Nonmember rates are $25.00 per year. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. 2011, all rights reserved. The REPORTER is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information about the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in giving legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert help is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Statement of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the authors alone. They do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers or members of the California Society of Tax Consultants, Inc. HOW TO CONTACT THE SOCIETY California Society of Tax Consultants Lewis Street, #106 Garden Grove, CA (714) FAX (714) ADD YOUR LINK TO CSTC S WEB SITE Call Mission Statement To promote professionalism by providing quality educational events for tax professionals, creating and encouraging networking opportunities for members, & advocating professional standards & positions within the tax industry CALENDAR OF EVENTS 12/5 Society Board Meeting 12/1-2 Tax Bridge to /3-6/6/12 Symposium Reno, NV M EMBER HIGHLIGHT Can you guess who this member is? He joined CSTC Sept 9 th of At that time he was an accounting major at CSUF and was a young pup of approximately 20 years of age. He went to college in the daytime and worked part time in the evenings going to people s houses to do their returns. Do you remember when we used to do that? He worked as an independent contractor for Skousen Tax Service, which later became part of Tax Corp of America. He passed the Board exams, became a CPA and eventually went out on his own. He likes to travel a lot and even has a travel Brag. He once traveled so much that he had to have extra pages added in his passport. His favorite place to go, however, is hiking the remote canyons of southern Utah. Must be how he retains his boyish figure. He was introduced to ISTC (CSTC) by John Torrence, a past president of Society. His certificate of membership was signed by Marlene Fawcett, a favorite past president of Society. He has been preparing our nonprofit tax return for about 18 years pro bono and he does a mean Chicken Dance at Christmas parties. He has served as a past president of the Orange County Chapter and has been a very active and long term member in good standing and we are so grateful to have him as a member. Thank you Danny Siler. Page 3

4 The New Math of Tax Relief How Congress Learned to Tax Less, Spend More and Help Americans Give Away the Store Last December at the 11 th hour President Obama signed the mammoth Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of The 2010 Tax Act was politically expedient at the time (but carried nearly a $1.0 Trillion price tag). Looking back only eight months later, we haven t seen many new jobs, but we are already struggling to find ways to deal with the budget ramifications which must be addressed at the risk of defaulting on our national debt. To me the biggest surprises of the 2010 Tax Act came on the Estate and Gift Tax side. Rather than an extension of the Bush Era tax cuts, the Estate, Gift, and GST Exemptions were increased from the 2009 level of $3.5 million to $5.0 Million per decedent or donor (up to $10 Million total for married couples). The rates were simultaneously decreased to 35%. These changes will last for all of 2011 and 2012, but without further amendment, the transfer tax exemption drops back to the $1.0 Million level in 2013 while the maximum transfer tax rates will increase back to 55% (60% for taxable estates between $10 and $20 Million). To compare the difference this makes, consider that the family of a couple with a Ten Million Dollar estate dying in 2012 would not pay any estate tax under the 2010 Act, but if the system drops back to 2001 levels the estate tax of this same couple passing away in 2013 would amount to approximately $4,400,000. Wow! The new Tax Act does what the Bush Era tax law did not. Effective through December 31 st 2012, the gift tax exemption is increased from $1.0 million to $5.0 Million and the gift rate also drops to 35% on cumulative taxable gifts which exceed this amount. I didn t have a single client voluntarily take advantage of the Estate Tax Repeal in 2010 (which required that they die), but I do have a lot of clients taking advantage of the increased Estate and Gift Tax exemption levels now. Now a single person can make taxable gifts of up to $5.0 Million and a Married Couple up to $10 Million without any current transfer tax. With valuation discounts and the right strategies, couples can transfer approximately $15 to $18 Million of real wealth, estate and gift tax free before If the market recovers, the property transferred now (which could have a much higher value in 10 to 15 years) would be completely outside of their estates and all future appreciation could benefit children and grandchildren Estate and GST Tax free. The transfer strategies which best take advantage of low interest rates and low values include discounted gifts using Family Limited Partnerships and LLC, gifts to Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRATs), sales to intentionally defective trusts using the low 7520 rates and low AFRs, and Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts (CLATs) transferring a lead interest to charity and a remainder interest to children. These estate freeze techniques take advantage of the low value and low interest rate environment we are in. This opportunity may be available for the next two years only. By then (if not sooner) the Bill for the 2010 Tax Act will have come due. We are seeing preludes to that with our current budget crisis. So while we don t have certainty as to the future, my recommendation is to take advantage of the laws we have today. Things will surely change in a couple of years time, but I am not expecting the change to be for the better when it comes to Federal transfer taxes. Submitted by Scott G. Beattie, JD, LLM (Tax) Central Valley Chapter Page 4

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6 NEWS CORNER From Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office Prepared by: Special Agent Felicia McCain, Public Information Officer (619) IRS CI employs approximately 4,100 employees worldwide, including approximately 2,700 special agents. IRS CI currently has 26 field offices, headed by a Special Agent in Charge. Our jurisdiction includes tax, money laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act laws. IRS-CI investigations fall within four interdependent programs. One, Legal Source Income Taxes Crimes, which include the investigation of questionable refunds, unscrupulous return preparers, excise tax and employment tax investigations. Two, Illegal Source Financial Crimes, which encompasses all tax and tax-related violations, such as mortgage fraud and healthcare fraud, money laundering and currency violations. Three, Narcotics related financial crimes and four, Counter-Terrorism Financing cases. For more information see According to studies by Roper Starch Worldwide Inc. the majority of taxpayers make an honest effort to file accurate and timely tax returns. These honest taxpayers want to know that everyone else pays his/her share of taxes. Additionally, the individuals who are tempted to evade their share of tax need to see that the IRS is serious about enforcing the tax laws. Additional studies by Dr. Jeffrey Dubin report that incarceration and probation, rather than fines, have the most deterrence impact on taxpayer compliance. To increase publicity and reach these three audiences, IRS CI has developed a comprehensive publicity strategy that focuses on these three audiences: the honest taxpayer, those dishonest taxpayers, and the practitioner community. IRS CI publicity strategy uses several avenues to reach these audiences including the internet website, practitioner magazines, and Public Information Officers (PIO) to share the compliance message. A significant and highly effective approach for IRS-CI is the internet, which provides a wealth of information not previously available. Public Information Officers provide investigative and enforcement efforts by contact with the media. PIO outreach with the practitioner community is also a vital part of the IRS CI publicity strategy. As such, I look forward to continually sharing the IRS CI compliance message with the California Society of Tax Consultants, now and in upcoming newsletters and outreach events. Page 6

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8 WELCOME NEW MEMBERS Central Valley Scott G. Beattie, Stockton Diane Garcia-Ahrens, Ahwahnee East County San Diego Jorge P. Garcia, San Diego Greater Long Beach Theodore Caruthers, Long Beach Wendy Melissa Herrera, Bellflower Inland Empire Barbara A. Hawkins, Riverside Los Angeles Tami Beck, Sherman Oaks Stacey Fitts, Inglewood Member At Large Mary Beth La Munyon-Jones, Hanford Alfredo Leones, Salinas Eileen A. McClintock, Glendale North San Diego County Veronica L.Marelli, Fallbrook Mary Meyers, Carlsbad Laura Stevens, Temecula Orange County Juan Vasquez, Orange San Diego Terri Jacobson, San Diego Won-Woo Lee, San Diego San Francisco Bay Robin Jensen, So. San Francisco Linda Marshall, Burlingame San Gabriel Valley Jennifer De La Garza, Huntington Park Wai M. Don, Arcadia Annabelle Drabos, La Mirada Margaret Ann Hickman, Pasadena Andy Ortiz, La Mirada San Jose Janis Gemignani, San Jose June Gwartney, Los Gatos Monica Martinez-Guaracha, San Juan Bautista PASS THE WORD WE HAVE ON LINE CON- TINUING EDUCATION Go to: and click on the Education Button Page 8

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