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Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern, LLP
Long Island's Elder Law, Special Needs & Estate Planning Firm

Friday, October 24, 2008

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2009

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2009 limitations on the deductibility of long-term care insurance premiums from taxes.

Premiums for "qualified" (see explanation below) long-term care policies are tax deductible provided that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed 7.5 percent of the insured's adjusted gross income. These premiums -- what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force -- are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents. If you are self-employed, the rules are a little different. You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as you made a net profit; your medical expenses do not have to exceed 7.5 percent of your income.

However, there is a limit on how large a premium can be deducted, depending on the age of the taxpayer at the end of the year. Following are the deductibility limits for 2009. Any premium amounts above these limits are not considered to be a medical expense.

Attained age before the close of the taxable year
Maximum deduction

40 or less

More than 40 but not more than 50

More than 50 but not more than 60

More than 60 but not more than 70

More than 70

What Is a "Qualified" Policy?

To be "qualified," policies issued on or after January 1, 1997, must adhere to regulations established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Among the requirements are that the policy must offer the consumer the options of "inflation" and "nonforfeiture" protection, although the consumer can choose not to purchase these features. Policies purchased before January 1, 1997, will be grandfathered and treated as "qualified" as long as they have been approved by the insurance commissioner of the state in which they are sold.

The Taxation of Benefits

Benefits from reimbursement policies, which pay for the actual services a beneficiary receives, are not included in income. Benefits from per diem or indemnity policies, which pay a predetermined amount each day, are not included in income except amounts that exceed the beneficiary's total qualified long-term care expenses or $280 per day (for 2009), whichever is greater.

Source: www.elderlawanswers.com

Friday, October 10, 2008

Financial Good News?

Very recently, “The Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008" was signed by President Bush extending an excellent charitable planning opportunity for both 2008 and 2009. This act permits an IRA owner aged 70 ½ or older to make a direct transfer to charity. The transfer may be up to $100,000 in one year (up to $200,000 for married couples) and this IRA rollover will exist for this year and tax year 2009.

It would be in the best interest of all charitable organizations to immediately make this giving opportunity known to their friends and supporters. Many non-profits have been collecting lists of donors who have given through IRAs in the past or are interested in making gifts in the future. It’s time to let all of our volunteer leadership and closest supporters know the good news of the continuance of this legislation. It’s a great opportunity to overcome current environmental/economic doubts and have an excellent finish to the 2008 tax year.

Also, there has been a temporary increase of FDIC deposit insurance for all banks. This insurance limit increase is not a permanent measure and expires by its terms on December 31, 2009. In addition, the limit applies “per owner.” As a result, a depositor who provides the proper paperwork can document the fact that funds held in an escrow or trust account belong to a specific party. An inquiry should be made as to whether that party has any other funds on deposit with the same financial institution that would exceed the available FDIC coverage.

Just to clarify: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency of the United States government that protects against the loss of insured deposits if an FDIC-insured bank or savings association fails. FDIC deposit insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Since the FDIC was established, no depositor has ever lost a single penny of FDIC-insured funds.

FDIC insurance covers funds in deposit accounts, including checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs). FDIC insurance does not, however, cover other financial products and services that insured banks may offer, such as stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, life insurance policies, annuities or municipal securities. There is no need for depositors to apply for FDIC insurance or even to request it. Coverage is automatic. If you have questions about FDIC coverage limits and requirements, you can either visit www.myFDICinsurance.gov , call toll free 1-877-ASK-FDIC or ask a representative at your bank.