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1. PFP Q&A: Planning for change   CPEDirect

BY Chris Baysden
With the Baby Boomer generation hitting retirement age, personal financial planning has become an increasingly important service for many accounting firms. But practitioners are dealing with plenty of changes, including the implementation of new tax laws and the landmark rollout of new standards. The JofA assembled a team of industry insiders for a round-table discussion of the important issues affecting CPAs who advise individual clients in retirement, tax, estate, risk management, and/or investment planning at such an important time.

2. Tax considerations when dividing property in divorce   CPEDirect

BY Ray A. Knight, CPA, J.D. and Lee G. Knight, Ph.D.
The emotional aspects of a divorce often interfere with planning for the efficient distribution of the marital estate. The shock and ill feelings may create a barrier between spouses that prevents even discussing issues. Tax practitioners need to know how to explain to a divorcing client the tax realities, to avoid any post-divorce tax surprises.

3. Tax planning for 2013   CPEDirect

BY Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS
CPAs have an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate their value in the following ways before the end of 2012, when the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire, estate and gift tax exemptions are scheduled to shrink back to $1 million, and current proposals could diminish the planning advantages of grantor and dynasty trusts.

4. New portability rules: A cure for incomplete estate planning   CPEDirect

BY Jerome A. Deener, Esq.
Many CPAs are involved in representing estates of decedents who died in 2011 and 2012. In dealing with such estates, it is important to focus on the new Code provisions allowing portability of the decedent’s unused lifetime gift and estate exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. A failure to do so can result in the loss of a significant estate and gift tax benefit for the surviving spouse that could easily be overlooked.

5. Total Tax Insights   CPEDirect

BY Jeff Drew
CPAs, more than any other professionals, understand the impact that taxes have on people’s finances. The AICPA, as part of its push to promote financial literacy, has introduced the Total Tax Insights calculator, an online tool designed to give U.S. taxpayers a clearer, more complete picture of their estimated total federal, state, and local tax obligation.

6. Tax-advantaged investing for an uncertain economy  

BY Seth Hammer, CPA, Ph.D., and Charles J. Russo, CPA, Ph.D.
Investors and their advisers have weathered several years of turmoil, with market conditions often upending conventional investing approaches and related tax strategies. As recently as summer 2010, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress that the outlook for the U.S. economy remained “unusually uncertain.” Slightly more than a year later, on Aug.

7. The 10 most powerful postmortem planning pointers for trusts and estates  

BY Karen S. Cohen, CPA
After a client passes away, there is much more to do than just prepare a final Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taking control of the postmortem planning process can be a powerful way to save tax dollars for the decedent’s estate and family. Postmortem planning also applies to Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return; state death tax returns, if needed; and income tax returns for the estate and any revocable trusts set up during life.

8. Tax planning for parents of college students   CPEDirect

BY Joseph D. Beams, CPA, Ph.D., and John W. Briggs, Ph.D.
As parents plan for their children’s higher education, they may choose from an array of tax-favored savings vehicles and deductions and credits. Options include education savings plans, education credits, deduction of educational expenses, education savings bonds, education loans and other alternatives. No single option works best for everyone, but by reviewing the pros and cons of each alternative, families can choose a strategy that best meets their needs.

9. When a client leaves or loses a job  

BY Michael J. Aloi
Given the continued weakness in the economy and an unemployment rate still above historic norms, now is a good time to review the financial planning issues clients face when they leave a job or are laid off. A CPA’s timely and proactive advice can have a lasting effect.

10. All in the family  

BY Robert M. Caplan, CPA
CPAs do their best to keep up to date with tax developments. However, much of their job involves dealing with family dynamics, requiring skills related more to understanding and communication than technical expertise. Three principles should guide practice management when families are involved: - Understand the perspective of each family member; - Keep in mind who the client is; and - Advise in the client’s best interest.
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