Crypto Currency

The Death Tax’s Not So Little Helper (Possibly)

(Evgen_Prozhyrko/Getty Images) Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance, and economics. On the menu today: the death tax’s (possible) new scythe, vaccines and the EU’s lethal central-planning fail, Merkel/Brezhnev, credit-market Jenga, lost Bitcoin/found Keynes. To sign up for the Capital Note, follow this link. Death and Taxes — Old Theme, New Threat There has…

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(Evgen_Prozhyrko/Getty Images)

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance, and economics. On the menu today: the death tax’s (possible) new scythe, vaccines and the EU’s lethal central-planning fail, Merkel/Brezhnev, credit-market Jenga, lost Bitcoin/found Keynes. To sign up for the Capital Note, follow this link.

Death and Taxes — Old Theme, New Threat
There has always been something both greedy and ghoulish about the estate tax, a levy that deserves to be known, and often is, as the death tax. It is not enough that the deceased has, in all probability, paid taxes for the whole of his or her lifetime (and probably in quite large amounts, given that the death tax only kicks in once a certain asset threshold has been crossed). But there is also the spectacle that this tax represents: the state showing up for one last cut, hovering over the (financial) carcass of the recently deceased.

But, judging by Paul Sullivan’s recent report in the New York Times, this repulsive spectacle may be about to become even disgusting, and not just because the Biden administration will almost certainly lower thresholds and increase rates.

The New York Times (my emphasis added):

The biggest potential long-term change involves the estate tax. But in contrast to previous changes, the tax code could be modified in a way that affects everyone who has something of value to leave to heirs.

For decades, assets were valued at the time of the owner’s death, even if the value had risen. This so-called step-up in basis rule works like this: If a stock that was bought for $1 is worth $10 when the owner dies, the gain is $9. But when that asset is passed on to heirs, the embedded gain is wiped out because the base value is now $10 and no capital gains tax is owed.

This treatment applies to any asset, from liquid securities and private investment partnerships to a family home. If the total value of the estate is less than the current $11.7 million exemption level for an individual or $23.4 million for a couple, then no estate tax would need to be paid, either.

A Biden administration may move to change this for logical and revenue reasons. At one point, the step-up in basis made sense. Imagine trying to determine the capital gains from AT&T stock that your grandmother bought in 1943 when record-keeping was done with a pencil and paper. Today, cost-basis information can be retrieved in seconds.

A cost basis that will, under current rules, not be adjusted for inflation. This ought to too basic to need explaining, but I will go ahead and say it anyway, as this is not a message that appears to be getting through. If I sell an asset that has appreciated by 10 percent since I bought it, but inflation has totaled 20 percent over the time that I held that asset, the 10 percent “gain” will, crudely speaking, represent a 10 percent loss in real terms. Nevertheless, it will be taxed, in current dollars, as a 10 percent gain. That is the situation as it applies at the moment — and (as I have noted before) it shouldn’t. The gain may be phantom, but the tax is real.

To his credit, President Trump briefly floated the idea of adjusting capital gains for inflation, but that, sadly, got nowhere.

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The discussion (to the extent that there has been any) over inflation adjustment up to now has been focused on the gain that occurs when I (not yet dead, hurrah!) sell something that I had acquired earlier. The starting point for that discussion has been the price I paid for that asset, or its value when I received it. Now imagine selling something that you have inherited, and that the law has been changed so that its basis cost is not the value of the asset at the time you acquired it (the current rule), but the price paid by the person (a parent, say, maybe even a grandparent) who left it to you. The effect of, say, five or ten years of inflation on a nominal gain will be bad enough, even at comparatively low levels of inflation (compounding is what it is). Now imagine what it could mean in the case of an asset, which, in the case of an older person (and the ranks of those who die tend to be filled with the old) might well have been held for a very long time indeed. There have been bouts of inflation, whether general or in specific asset classes, within the lifetimes of many of those who have yet to — how shall I put this — trigger their will. And looking to the future, who is to say that inflation will remain at current depressed levels?

Then there are the practicalities. As the New York Times’ Sullivan observes, cost-basis information for stock is easily available, at least for stock bought relatively recently. But what is the case when that stock was bought by a parent or grandparent, decades before such information was put into sophisticated electronic systems. And what if that wise ancestor bought that stock before the company went public — a period in a corporation’s life, to complicate things more, in which stock splits and the like are far from rare, and easily accessible information may be rarer still.

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And stocks are the easy assets.

Take the case, say, of a family home that is part of an estate. If the rules change, will a homeowner be expected to keep records of capital improvements made, perhaps, over the decades? Is a collector expected to keep a record of the prices he or she paid for a collection, whether it be of paintings or old Harleys, and the money spent on their restoration? And the examples don’t stop there.

The intricacies (to use a kind word) of our tax system have long provided legions of accountants with an excellent living, a diversion of talent and resources with no obvious benefit to the economy as a whole. Ending the step-up would add further complexity to the lives of taxpayers (and introduce it to those who currently have a straightforward relationship with the IRS) and send even more business to CPAs or their automated equivalents.

But wait, there’s more.

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Teen Voices: Experiences of the Pandemic

DR ASHA PEMBERTON [email protected] As an adolescent medicine specialist, I am a paediatrician with specific training in the health, mental wellness and resilience of all children, teenagers and young adults. Through my work, I encounter young people with a range of concerns and also those with opinions and suggestions toward their own future. This past…

DR ASHA PEMBERTON
[email protected]
As an adolescent medicine specialist, I am a paediatrician with specific training in the health, mental wellness and resilience of all children, teenagers and young adults. Through my work, I encounter young people with a range of concerns and also those with opinions and suggestions toward their own future. This past week, I met with a vibrant young woman who reflected passionately on the past year of her life: the challenges, the experiences and next steps. With her full permission, I share her narrative.
“It has been an entire academic year online. My lower-six experience has been completely virtual.
Will it be this way for the rest of my secondary schooling?
We missed the opportunity to feel that we were finally at the top of the school body, now only names or faces on a laptop screen.
At this point, I have taught myself more topics than my teachers have taught me. I can’t blame them though; they are new to this too. Page after page, slide after slide; I am tired.
Sometimes it almost feels as though teachers are more concerned with who has their web camera turned on than whether we have finished the syllabus.
Spending time on such minor issues instead of ensuring we are in the best position going into exams. Aside from the standard school hours as well as our usual study time, several of us have to set aside even more time to solidify the content of the syllabus. Time that would have been spent with friends, with family, with ourselves – just socialising and having fun.
Honestly, I am at the point where social media is not even interesting anymore. All of the screen-time between school, lessons, webinars, and all sorts of things have zapped my energy to even look at another screen.
Friends who I thought would have been there forever have proven that once we are not seeing each other almost daily, we will not speak.
It’s funny huh?
This pandemic has also brought unsuspecting people into my life. Colleagues who I have never spoken to have reached out; school-related or otherwise, but it was nice to have someone new to interact with.
After being locked in for so long, there is so much I would like to do now, right here in the country. Go on hikes, visit down the islands, go to art galleries, go to the cinema with friends, or simply go to the beach and lime – all the activities I took for granted before.
It’s ironic isn’t it? Suddenly everything in the country seems so interesting and appealing when it isn’t as easily available.
Finding ways to manage my own mental health in the online world proved difficult in the early stages. Everything back then was up to chance, changing every week. We were happy to have the time off but after a while it took a toll on us.
Nowadays, everything is a rapid blur. Rushing to finish syllabi, rushing to ensure this, rushing to complete that. It’s too much.
To find that balance between ‘Okay I have done a lot work today, let me take a break’ and ‘No, if you were in physical school you wouldn’t be resting now’ is the key, I believe. Some online platforms such as The Gen Z Journal as well as YETT on Instagram have given us such helpful and insightful advice for how to approach these situations. Said platforms have made this experience that much more bearable.
If this is meant to be the ‘new normal,’ a couple changes will definitely need to be made. I know for a fact that several teens such as myself cannot go on in this way for long periods of time. We miss our friends, the school environment, adequate and proper teaching, and most of all we miss our motivation.”
The words of this young person mirror feedback locally, regionally and internationally. The changes that young people have been navigating are tremendous when we consider the upheaval to education, social interaction, motivation and overall mental health. In your homes and communities this weekend take the time to speak to young people and allow them the non-judged space to express their true feelings and concerns. Let us make conscious efforts to get their voices a platform, so that we too are able to appropriately and effective manage their holistic health during these uncertain times.
The post Teen Voices: Experiences of the Pandemic appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
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Can you support WLM spread the word about the upcoming 5K May challenge in aid of our services for people affected by homelessness?

Thursday 15 April, 2021 WLM partners with Run For Heroes for new charity challenge in May! This May you can run, roll, walk, cycle or even swim… it’s completely up to you. It’s all about getting out and feeling good while you’re doing it! If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest…

Thursday 15 April, 2021
WLM partners with Run For Heroes for new charity challenge in May!
This May you can run, roll, walk, cycle or even swim… it’s completely up to you. It’s all about getting out and feeling good while you’re doing it!
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest things can make the biggest impact and there’s no better example of that than Run for Heroes. That’s the charity that started the infamous 5km running challenge – Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5 -during the first lockdown.
What started as a plan to raise £5,000 for NHS charities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic went completely viral on social media, becoming a major fitness motivation and fundraising tool for more than a million people. Since its humble beginnings in 2020, Run For Heroes has raised more than £7 million for NHS Charities and founder Olivia Strong has been awarded an MBE. After the success of the original fundraiser, the nation is once again being encouraged to get active in the name of charity as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Run for Heroes partners with WLM and is launching its latest challenge by turning the month of May into a celebration of physical activity with the 5kMay campaign.
As the name suggests, it’s all about getting fit and hitting that 5km target.
It’s not just about running though – you could walk, roll, skip or even swim your 5 kilometers if you wish!
All that matters is getting your body moving and raising vital funds for WLM, supporting us to empower people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma to make positive changes in their lives.
You can take part on your own or as a group, donate your £5 or more to WLM, then nominate 5 friends or family members to complete their own 5km challenge in aid of WLM. If you wish to donate more than £5 you might want to consider getting sponsored, so feel free to set up your own fundraising page and invite your family, friends and colleagues to get involved and support you!
With famous faces like Mo Farah, Ellie Goulding and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson backing previous Run For Heroes challenges, you may even spot a celebrity while out on your 5kMay journey.
Don’t forget to give us a shout out by tagging WLM on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you choose to take the 5K challenge in aid of our cause, we would love to share your activity with our followers and thank you publicly!
Your support will help WLM’s services to continue empowering positive change to the lives of people affected by rough sleeping, alcohol addiction, unemployment, isolation, trauma and financial struggle so thank you!
To get more information on the challenge or to sign up please visit WLM’s website https://www.wlm.org.uk/

Distributed by https://pressat.co.uk/
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ICC Investigates Former Zimbabwe Cricket Team Captain Over The Use Of BTC In Corruption

The International Cricket Council aka ICC has been dealing with corruption for quite some time now. However, this time the cricket council encountered the involvement of cryptocurrency. The crypto industry has tried long and hard to fend off its association with the dark web. But once again, crypto was seen getting embroiled in a recent…

The International Cricket Council aka ICC has been dealing with corruption for quite some time now. However, this time the cricket council encountered the involvement of cryptocurrency. The crypto industry has tried long and hard to fend off its association with the dark web. But once again, crypto was seen getting embroiled in a recent […]
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Dogecoin [DOGE] Bulls Take A Breather After Hitting Peak At $0.14

Tech mogul Elon Musk has been the biggest driver for Dogecoin [DOGE] rush. The cryptocurrency noted gains of more than 112.24% over the past week. The memecoin has noted an impressive jump to the 11th spot on the cryptocurrency ladder from less than a cent at the beginning of this year to the press time…

Tech mogul Elon Musk has been the biggest driver for Dogecoin [DOGE] rush. The cryptocurrency noted gains of more than 112.24% over the past week. The memecoin has noted an impressive jump to the 11th spot on the cryptocurrency ladder from less than a cent at the beginning of this year to the press time […]
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