back to top

Newsroom

May 12, 2022What Can ABLE Account Money Be Spent On?

ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts offer people with disabilities a great, tax-free way to accumulate money without jeopardizing their qualifications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other means-tested programs. Withdrawals are tax-free as long as the money is used for "qualified disability expenses." The arguments for starting and maintaining such funds are overwhelming, not least of which is the wide variety of things on which the money can be spent. To build 529A ABLE accounts, beneficiaries (and other contributors) can put up to $16,000 total into these funds each year. Other restrictions apply. Only those whose disabilities were diagnosed before turning 26 are eligible for an ABLE savings plan. The total value of the account must remain below $100,000 for the beneficiary to qualify for government benefits. Also, the money must be spent only on items, services and activities that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deems qualified disability expenses (QDEs)....

Read More

May 9, 2022Using a Roth IRA as an Estate Planning Tool

A Roth IRA does not have to be used as just a retirement plan; it can also be a way to transfer assets tax-free to the next generation. Unlike a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are taxed, which means that the distributions are tax-free. Also, unlike a traditional IRA, you are also not required to take any distributions on a Roth IRA, regardless of your age. If you don't need the money for retirement, you can leave all of it in the IRA to grow tax-free and eventually pass on to your heirs....

Read More

May 6, 2022SSA Reopens Its Offices While Making It Easier to Apply for SSI Online

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has reopened its more than 1,200 field offices to the public for the first time in two years, and the agency also launched an online tool for first-time Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants. SSA closed its offices at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, forcing the 43 million people who visit them each year to transact business via telephone, fax, and the mail. Many clients reported difficulties getting through to the agency, raising fears that services were being denied to the most vulnerable. But the offices were back open April 7, albeit with restrictions: Masks and social distancing are still required. To avoid overcrowding, the agency is still urging people to make appointments — though these are not mandated — and to avoid coming in person altogether if they can accomplish what they need to online or by phone. Alternatively, officials are advising people to postpone in-person visits to avoid long lines that are expected during the first weeks of reopening....

Read More

May 2, 2022New Jersey Tax Alert: New Jersey Lists COVID-19 Policies Still in Effect

The New Jersey Division of Taxation has advised that since the State of Emergency has not been lifted, the following extensions remain in effect: (1) the law which delayed the payment of interest on refunds until six months after the State of Emergency has ended when the original interest payment period ended on or after April 14, 2020; and (2) the statute of limitations for the assessment of tax which runs until 90 days after the State of Emergency has ended if the original assessment or consent period ended after April 14, 2020. The Division also stated that digital signatures will continue to be accepted on extensions of the statute of limitations, closing agreements and the appointment of a Taxpayer Representative. The Division will work with taxpayers to complete its audits through correspondence (mail or electronic) where possible and avoid in-person meetings until further notice. Conferences with taxpayers will take place over the telephone....

Read More

April 29, 2022Supreme Court of NJ Order: Extension Period for Conferences and Appeals Expires May 2, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court has determined that because the public health emergency has ended, there is no longer a need to extend certain deadlines for state tax matters. On April 14, 2022, the Court issued an order which ends the extension of time for filing an administrative protest or a Tax Court appeal. An administrative protest must be postmarked by Monday, May 2, 2022 to be considered timely. This applies to any determination or finding of the Director containing protest and appeal rights that would have expired between March 19, 2020 and May 1, 2022 (but for the original order's extension). If an administrative protest is not postmarked by May 2, 2022, the matter will be final and the Division will proceed with collection activity....

Read More

April 26, 2022Jacqueline Greenberg Vogt authors New Jersey Law Journal article titled "Engaging Specialized Construction Counsel Is a Cost and Time Saver When Building or Renovating"

Mandelbaum Barrett Construction Law Chair, Jacqueline Greenberg Vogt, Esq. has authored an article in the April 20, 2022 issue of the New Jersey Law Journal titled "Engaging Specialized Construction Counsel is a Cost and Time Saver When Building or Renovating." The article discusses how the expertise of specialized construction counsel at the outset of a project results in a construction contract that sets the stage for bringing the project to a conclusion on time, on budget, and well-constructed....

Read More

April 26, 2022How Long Does an Executor's Job Take?

Being the executor of an estate can be a time-consuming job, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. While a simple estate can take a few months and not require a huge time commitment, if there are problems, the job can drag on for years. An executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual's estate. Although the time and effort involved will vary with the size of the estate, even if you are the executor of a small estate you will have important duties that must be performed correctly or you may be liable to the estate or the beneficiaries....

Read More

April 22, 2022New Jersey Tax Alert: COVID-19 Test Kits

The New Jersey Division of Taxation has advised that because the presumption in New Jersey is that a lump sum charge that consists of taxable and nontaxable items is subject to tax, retail sales of COVID-19 test kits are taxable. The test kit is presumed taxable because it contains an exempt reagent and other taxable components. The purchase of a COVID-19 test kit that is reimbursed by the federal or New Jersey State government is not exempt under the Sales and Use Tax Act. Purchases of test kits directly by the federal or New Jersey State government are exempt....

Read More

April 19, 2022If You Don't Want an IRA Distribution, You Can Donate It to Charity

Not everyone wants to take the required minimum distributions from their retirement accounts right away. If you don't want your distribution, one option is to donate it to charity and get a tax deduction. You are required to begin taking distributions from your tax-deferred IRA when you reach age 72 (70 ½ if you turned 70 ½ in 2019 or before) even if you don't need the money. The distributions are added to your income and taxed at your highest marginal rate, perhaps even at a higher rate than your other income if you're right at the threshold between two rates. You're more likely to have to pay a higher rate on this income if you are still working....

Read More

April 18, 2022What Is Undue Influence?

Saying that there has been "undue influence" is often used as a reason to contest a will or estate plan, but what does it mean? Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on an individual, causing that individual to act contrary to his or her wishes and to the benefit of the influencer or the influencer's friends. The pressure can take the form of deception, harassment, threats, or isolation. Often the influencer separates the individual from their loved ones in order to coerce. The elderly and infirm can be especially susceptible to undue influence....

Read More