The SECURE ACT – now law

President Trump signed the SECURE Act as part of the government’s spending bill at the end of 2019 and it will inevitably affect most retirement savers, for better or worse.  Most of the bill takes effect in 2020.  The SECURE Act  — SECURE stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” — puts into place numerous provisions intended to strengthen retirement security.  Here is a brief summary of the Act’s most important features: 

Annuities in 401(k) plans

The SECURE Act allows employers to offer annuities as investment options within 401(k) plans. Currently, employers hold the fiduciary responsibility to ensure these products are appropriate for employees’ portfolios, but under the new rules, the onus falls on insurance companies to offer proper investment choices. 

Increasing the required minimum distribution age and contribution age 

Previously, account holders with a 401(k) or IRA had to withdraw required minimum distributions (RMD) in the year they turned age 70.5. The SECURE Act increases that age to 72. The bill also eliminates the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions which was previously capped at 70.5 years old. 

No more stretch IRAs

Required minimum distributions have also changed for non-spousal account inheritors. Under the current law, beneficiaries who did not inherit their accounts from a husband or wife are in some cases allowed to withdraw required minimum distributions for their life spans.  This could be a few years or a few decades.  

The SECURE Act requires beneficiaries to withdraw all assets of an inherited account within 10 years. There are no required minimum distributions within those 10 years but the entire balance must be distributed after the 10th year. 

Multiple employer plans for small businesses

The Act broadens access to multiple employer plans for small businesses. Previously, companies may have avoided participating in that type of program because of the so-called “one bad apple” rule that stated if one employer did not meet the plan requirements, the plan would fail for all others involved. 

Under the SECURE Act, employers no longer have to share “a common characteristic,” such as being in the same industry. Employer-sponsored retirement plans would also be available to long term part time workers with a lower minimum number of hours worked.  The SECURE Act drops the threshold for eligibility down to either one full year with 1,000 hours worked or three consecutive years of at least 500 hours worked.

Encouraging auto-enrollment 

Finally, the SECURE Act encourages employers to automatically enroll workers into their retirement plans by offering tax incentives. Auto-enrollment is a simple but effective means to get people saving more for their futures. Under the SECURE Act, small employers will get a tax credit to offset the costs of starting a 401(k) plan or SIMPLE IRA plan with auto-enrollment, on top of the start-up credit they already receive. 

NEW LAWS ARIZONA 2019

Various new laws are now in effect in Arizona and across the country now that the year is 2019. Here is a summary of the most important new changes:

A state law that’s sparked some controversy: the public safety fee for drivers. They’ll have to pay $32 when they renew their vehicle registration. There is controversy about this because the Legislature only authorized $16.

In an effort to get children more fresh air and exercise Arizona will also require public schools to provide at least two recess periods per day for those in kindergarten through 5th grade.

In healthcare, patients will soon get some protection from those surprise hospital bills. Under the new law, patients can dispute the bill through the Department of Insurance, if they receive an unexpected bill after receiving treatment at an in-network hospital, but with an out-of-network specialist.

When speaking of transparency when it comes to hospital bills, hospitals not just in Arizona but across the country, will be required to post prices online for all of their procedures, services and medications.

The farm bill that President Donald Trump signed made hemp and the CBD oil industry legal. Research shows CBD can help with seizures and arthritis pain plus much more. America isn’t the only country or location to legalize the production and consumption of CBD products, as an example read this article overviewing CBD legal in Germany and their law reform.

Another revision that will affect the whole country: the way alimony (or spousal support) is handled under the tax law. For those who get divorced in 2019 and beyond, the payment will no longer be tax deductible and the alimony received will no longer be considered taxable income. Some are estimating this new law will raise $6.9 billion for the government over the next decade.

Marijuana and the Midterm Election Results

After the 2018 midterm elections, Michigan became the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, which voted to legalize marijuana. If you would like to purchase a grinder for your marijuana then you may want to check out weed grinders reviews. Michigan residents can now purchase marijuana legally through a Lansing MI marijuana for the first time in the state’s history. Although South Dakota voted down a measure to legalize pot, Missouri and Utah voters supported legalizing it for medicinal use. An initiative in North Dakota failed. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states; medical marijuana is legal in 33. Medical and recreational marijuana is also making positive advancements in other locations too, such as Canada for example – you might want to Read more about different strains that Canadian dispensaries can offer their patients. For those American states that it is legal for right now, they can freely roam around with cannabis related paraphernalia (as this used to be a crime itself, especially if it had cannabis residue left over) such as bongs, dab rigs and vaporizers like from Hamilton Devices.

In June, Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana, joining numerous other states that have such laws on the books. In January, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through its legislature rather than a ballot initiative. The governor signed the bill into law.

Marijuana prohibition began 80 years ago when the federal government banned the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It remains illegal at the federal level. Overturning prohibition is one of the few hot-button topics with widespread support. A recent poll by the Pew Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, said they supported legalizing marijuana.

In October, Canada legalized marijuana nationally, becoming the first G7 country to do so. Mexico’s Supreme Court also ruled last month that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional, paving the way for the country’s new leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to possibly follow Canada’s lead.

Hashish Illegal in AZ; Not Part of Medical Marijuana

An Arizona court has ruled that medical marijuana patients can still face arrest when in possession of hashish because it isn’t mentioned or included by name in a marijuana initiative passed by the voters in 2010. Unlike other states like Florida for example, where patients who require marijuana for medicinal purposes can use cannabis doctors florida locations to help get a medical marijuana card.

The Arizona Court of Appeals handed down the decision during the last week of June 2018 in the case of Rodney Jones, a cardholder in the state’s medical marijuana program who was arrested in March 2013 at a Prescott hotel and indicted on one count of cannabis possession and drug paraphernalia possession. Whilst he may have chosen to switch over to other options after this, such as edibles in the forms of protein bar options, this ruling was a surprise to many.

Police said at the time they had found Jones had 0.05 ounces of hashish in a jar, according to the appeals court ruling. After spending a year in jail, Jones waived his right to a jury trial in the case. He was later convicted and sentenced to more than two years in prison with credit for time served.

In his appeal, Jones sought to have his conviction and sentence overturned by the court. But two of the judges on the three-member appeals court panel rejected his request, saying that the state’s medical marijuana act approved in 2010 “is silent” on hashish. “If the drafters wanted to immunize the possession of hashish they should have said so,” the ruling said. “We cannot conclude that Arizona voters intended to do so.” This is why it is important to stay up to date with cannabis news and laws in your location, changes could be made daily and if you’re not in the know you could end up being penalized for such, so keep up to date in your area with sites like this weed blog Canada.

Hashish is a resin extracted from cannabis plants, and it is often used in oils and other medical marijuana products that are a part of the nation’s growing multi-billion dollar marijuana market, those who are interesting can find live resin online there are a lot of resources online to learn more about it.. The ruling found that hashish is recognized under state law as a narcotic, distinct from marijuana by the state legislature because of its potency levels.

What is a dynasty trust?

1. What are dynasty trusts?
Most trusts — bank accounts held by one person, a trustee, for the benefit of another person or group — come with expiration dates. A few states, including Delaware and South Dakota, permit trusts to last forever. People from across the U.S. can open dynasty trusts in these states.

2. Why are they getting popular now?
The tax overhaul of 2017 doubled — to $11.2 million for an individual and $22.4 million for a married couple — the amount that can be passed to heirs without triggering estate and gift taxes. However, these higher thresholds are only in place until 2025 giving the rich a potentially limited opportunity to pass more wealth to family members tax-free while also exerting some control over how heirs spend their inheritances.

3. Why use a trust in the first place?
Trusts protect assets from creditors and former spouses. They can enable clever financial maneuvers that maximize the estate and gift-tax exemption. And trusts give donors some control over how the money is spent. For example, a donor can limit withdrawals so money can only be used for college, to purchase a home, or other specific purposes.

4. Why choose a dynasty trust?
Under the previous estate tax limits, many wealthy Americans already had set up trusts for the benefit of their children. If you wish to make your grandchildren or great-grandchildren rich, a dynasty trust can make that easier.

5. How do they work?
They can be funded with cash, stock or other assets, and structured to pay each generation only some of the trust’s proceeds while the rest of the money grows free of estate and gift taxes. While trusts or their recipients generally need to pay taxes on income and gains, they don’t owe capital gains taxes until assets are sold. With the right planning, a trust funded up to the maximum threshold tax exemption amount could be worth far more than that.

Divorce and Estate Plans – Arizona Law

What happens to a will upon divorce?

Under Arizona law, a divorced person’s will remains valid but the ex is disqualified as a potential beneficiary of the estate. But, a decree of separation does not terminate the marriage and does not disqualify the spouse as a beneficiary. If there is a divorce, the ex is removed from any position named in the will such as personal representative, executor, guardian or trustee. A new will could be drafted reinstating the ex.

What happens to a revocable trust upon divorce?

In the event of a divorce, Arizona law treats a living revocable trust similar to a will. If one or both spouses dies before the trust is dissolved as part of the divorce settlement, each spouse’s share of the trust would be distributed to the beneficiaries as if there was no surviving spouse. If there are separate trusts, the ex is disqualified as a beneficiary of the trust. The ex would also be removed as a successor trustee. However, if the trustmaker (settlor) wanted to keep the ex-spouse as a beneficiary or successor trustee, the trustmaker could sign a restatement of the trust to stating this. You must do this with a verified attorney to make sure everything is above board and legal. Take a look here at other attorneys that can assist you with this if you are not based in Arizona to receive our services.

What about powers of attorney?

An ex is automatically removed as an agent named in a financial or health care power of attorney. The power of attorney could still be used if an alternate agent is named.

What happens if a divorced person fails to remove the ex as a beneficiary on an IRA?

Under Arizona Revised Statute 14–2804, an ex is automatically removed as an IRA beneficiary. However, the IRA custodian may not have knowledge of the divorce. There are cases where an ex contested the matter in court.

What about pension, 401(k), profit-sharing and other plans governed by ERISA?

ERISA refers to the federal law governing federal retirement plan accounts such as 401(k), profit-sharing plans, pensions, and other federal retirement plans. These are not affected by Arizona law. The beneficiary designation on file with the plan administrator controls.

Is the ex-spouse automatically removed as beneficiary under a life insurance policy?

Yes. However, there are cases where it is part of the divorce settlement or the policy owner wants the ex to remain as beneficiary despite the divorce. To remove these complications, the policy owner should either rename the ex as a beneficiary after the divorce is final, or put a provision in the divorce decree stating the parties intend that the ex remain as beneficiary on a life insurance policy, or both.

How about payable-on-death, transfer-on-death, or in-trust-for provisions?

An ex is automatically removed as a beneficiary on an account with payable-on-death, transfer-on-death or in-trust-for designations. An account holder should update these accounts immediately upon divorce.

What about property held as joint tenants with right of survivorship or community property with right of survivorship?

Upon divorce, the property automatically becomes tenants in common – each party owns a separate 50% interest, and his or her interest becomes part of his or her estate at death.

All of these questions and queries are a good reason why you should seek out divorce solicitors so they can guide you this difficult process. If you’re in Atlanta and currently seeking to proceed with a divorce, you may want to get in touch with a family law attorney: https://nsfamilylawfirm.com/

Supreme Court rules for New Jersey in sports betting case  

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can legalize sports betting, breaking up Nevada’s monopoly on the practice.

The court upheld the legality of a 2014 New Jersey law permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks in the state and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Some states see sports betting, like lotteries, as a potentially important source of tax revenue. This is great for sites like Betting.com that offer tips and tricks into all sorts of sports betting, including odds, statistics and the best bet you should go for, have a look on their NJ sports betting page.

The Supreme Court justices struck down the entire federal law on a 6-3 vote, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissenting.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

The state law at issue would allow people age 21 and above to bet on sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks but would ban wagers on college teams based in or playing in the state.

“Today’s ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”

The ruling takes the U.S. a step closer to legal sports betting in numerous states, possibly even nationwide. This could also be the case for any gambling or betting activities such as placing bets on poker, blackjack, using slot machines and much more. This could allow all American citizens to start reading into the likes of these comprehensive reviews to find some of the best casino games available online. Currently, the practice is legal only in select places such as Nevada, home to the gambling capital Las Vegas. While Nevada’s Gaming Control board reported $4.8 billion in sports bets last year, the black market total is considered to be many times the legal market.

Americans wager “$150 billion illegally each year through off-shore, black market bookies,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said in a statement. The fantasy sports company has nearly 10 million customers across the country. After the ruling, DraftKings announced plans to launch a mobile platform for sports betting to tap into the new market. FanDuel is an online based betting platform where you can bet for fun, and once you are confident, you can bet with cash. This could be a good place to start getting into online betting because you can start off playing whilst not risking any of your assets.

“States are now free to allow their residents to place mobile sports bets with licensed, trusted companies based in the U.S. and that pay taxes here,” Robins said.

New Tax Laws For 2018

Between the IRS and the recent changes in the tax law, here are a number of significant changes that will impact taxes now and going forward.

Those who are married and filing jointly will have an increased standard deduction of $24,000, up from $13,000 as under previous law.

Single taxpayers and those who are married and file separately now have a $12,000 standard deduction, up from the $6,500.

For heads of households, the deduction will be $18,000, up from $9,550.

The personal exemption has been eliminated with the tax reform bill.

A new 37 percent top rate will affect individuals with incomes of $500,000 and higher. The top rate applies for married taxpayers who file jointly at $600,000 and over. 

The estate tax exemption doubles to $11.2 million per individual and $22.4 million per couple in 2018.

The child tax credit has been raised to $2,000 per child — those under 17 — up from $1,000. A $500 credit is available for dependents who do not get the $2,000 credit.

The deduction for mortgage interest is capped at $750,000 for mortgage loans  taken out after Dec. 15 of last year. The limit is still $1 million for mortgages that were established prior to Dec. 15, 2017.


The itemized deduction is limited to $10,000 for both income and property taxes paid during the year.





Employees who participate in certain retirement plans ‒ 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans, and the Thrift Savings Plan – can now contribute as much as $18,500 this year, a $500 increase from the limit for 2017.

Savers who contribute to individual retirement accounts will have higher income ranges following cost-of-living adjustments. Note that the deduction phases out for individuals and their spouses who are covered by workplace retirement plans.
 For single taxpayers, the limit will be $63,000 to $73,000.
 For married couples, the phase out range will vary depending on whether the IRA contributor is covered by a workplace retirement plan or not. When the spouse who is investing has access to an employer plan, the range is $101,000 to $121,000.

For individuals who don’t have a retirement plan but are married to someone who does, the phase out has been raised to $189,000 to $199,000.
The phase out was not adjusted for married individuals who file a separate return and who are covered by a workplace retirement plan. That range is $0 to $10,000.





                   

           

New Laws in Arizona 2018

The start of 2018 means new laws taking effect in Arizona.

Employees are happy about an increase in the minimum wage, but some business owners are worried about now having to pay their workers $10.50 an hour. “It costs me approximately four thousand dollars a month employing twelve to fifteen people, that’s a big hit for a small business owner to take,” said Frank Silverman of Midtown Tavern.

After being signed into law by President Donald Trump a new tax law is set to take effect. The law doubles the standard deduction, doubles the child tax credit, and gets rid of the nearly $4,000 personal exemption. However, none of these will have an impact on your next tax return. None of the new tax laws affect the 2017 taxes.

Looking ahead, there’s a new proposal emerging for the 2018 ballot allowing the recreational use of marijuana. The initiative, sponsored by a medical marijuana dispensary (similar to one you can see if you Visit this website), would expand the list of conditions for which a doctor could recommend a patient be allowed to use the drug. Even after a doctors recommendation, there are still some conditions to meet before you are eligible for a medical marijuana card. Read more here to see if you could qualify for one. This initiative will undoubtedly be backed by many, as it would make it easier and cheaper for patients to get marijuana, including allowing a large percentage of them to grow their own plants as long as they have the correct marijuana insurance.

Proponents, the operators of the Independent Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Apache Junction, need 150,642 valid signatures on petitions by July 5, 2018, to put the measure. However if you’re looking for a wellness center for you to get your medical marijuana from, look into dispensary Lansing MI and other locations.

New Laws in Arizona Summer 2017

The following new laws become effective in Arizona on August 9, 2017:

The Motor Vehicle Division cannot suspend the licenses of those who fail to respond to their citations. 

Dog racing is now illegal across the state. 

For spouses or dependents of military members killed in the line of duty, free car registrations become available.

The minimum wage will be increasing for workers, who can now expect $10 an hour. 

Homeowners with short-term rental homes on sharing websites like Airbnb and Homeaway will now have state taxes collected from the companies. The website companies will then forward the taxes to the Department of Revenue. 

In upcoming elections, pamphlets must be mailed to every household with registered voters showing what will be on the ballots. 

Got one of those plastic covers on your license plate to thwart photo radar?  They are now illegal.

Other laws range from expanding who can teach in Arizona classrooms and when police need warrants to track cell phones to exactly how much of someone’s foot a podiatrist can amputate (it’s a toe — not a foot).

Legislation to bar the state’s newest drivers from using cell phones does not take effect until July 1, 2018.

And a bill to set up procedures for people to argue about what they are charged by out-of-network hospitals does not become law until Jan. 1, 2019.