Pay attention to securities laws when planning your estate

Do your assets include unregistered securities, such as restricted stocks or interests in hedge funds or private equity funds? If so, it’s important to consider the securities laws that may be involved in various estate planning strategies.

Potential estate planning issues

Transfers of unregistered securities, either as outright gifts or to trusts or other estate planning vehicles, can raise securities law issues.

Does your business have employees who get tips? You may qualify for a tax credit

If you’re an employer with a business where tipping is routine when providing food and beverages, you may qualify for a federal tax credit involving the Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes that you pay on your employees’ tip income.

Credit fundamentals

The FICA credit applies to tips that your staff members receive from customers when they buy food and beverages.

Yes, your college-age child needs an estate plan

If your college-age child is home for the holidays, it may be the perfect opportunity for the two of you to meet with an estate planning attorney to draft an estate plan for him or her. Even though college students typically don’t have many assets, it’s critical to at least have these four documents in place if an unforeseen incident occurs while your child is away at school:

Will.

There still may be time to reduce your small business 2023 tax bill

In the midst of holiday parties and shopping for gifts, don’t forget to consider steps to cut the 2023 tax liability for your business. You still have time to take advantage of a few opportunities.

Time deductions and income

If your business operates on a cash basis, you can significantly affect your amount of taxable income by accelerating your deductions into 2023 and deferring income into 2024 (assuming you expect to be taxed at the same or a lower rate next year).

For example, you could put recurring expenses normally paid early in the year on your credit card before January 1 — that way, you can claim the deduction for 2023 even though you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2024. In certain circumstances, you also can prepay some expenses, such as rent or insurance and claim them in 2023.

As for deferring income, wait until close to year-end to send out invoices to customers with reliable payment histories.

Are you considering moving to a new state to minimize estate tax?

With the gift and estate tax exemption amount at $12.92 million for 2023, only a small percentage of families are subject to federal estate tax. While that’s certainly a relief, state estate tax also must be considered in estate planning.

Although many states tie their exemption amounts to the federal exemption, several states have exemptions that are significantly lower — in some cases $1 million or less.