Lane Report Archives

Displaying 81 through 120 of 156  
With More Audits Coming, Watch Out for Tax Scams
Thursday, April 1, 2004
The number of audits that the IRS conducts varies from year to year. It's been reported that in the mid-1990s, 1.2 million audits were conducted each year. Under pressure from Congress to improve customer service, the IRS reduced the number of annual audits for a while. Now, however, enforcement activity is on the rise again. While just under 850,000 audits...
ICANN Governance Needs Overhaul
Monday, March 1, 2004
Last fall, the U.S. Department of Commerce cut a controversial three-year, no-bid deal with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an oh-so-powerful nonprofit organization answerable to no one, to continue managing the domain name system for Web site addresses including the world's most popular extensions, .com, .net and .org. When...
Beware Bubble II
Sunday, February 1, 2004
A line from a favorite old song by Don Henley goes, "We all know that crap is king, gimme dirty laundry." That song, which took direct aim at television news journalism and its personalities more than twenty years ago, could just as readily be applied to the lead performers of the stock market in 2003. The Nasdaq 100, heavily weighted in technology stocks...
It's Time for Your Financial Check-up! Physician, Heal Thyself
Thursday, January 1, 2004
It's the start of a new year and an excellent time to reevaluate your financial objectives and strategy. With the Standard and Poors 500 Index up 28.7% in 2003, investors should take a few moments to tally up their holdings in each of the various asset classes and see where they stand relative to their sector targets and overall objectives. With stocks...
Mutual Fun in Mutual Funds? Fuhgeddaboudit!!!.....Some Thoughts at Year-end.
Monday, December 1, 2003
The August 2003 Lane Report discussed the misdeeds of various players including Wall Street brokerage firms, banks, other corporations, and individuals. It also pointed out some constructive actions being taken to deal with those situations, including punishment of those involved. However, in just the last two months, another entire scandal has broken,...
How Callable CDs Can Enhance Your Portfolio's Investment Yield
Saturday, November 1, 2003
Last month's decline in the ten-year Treasury yield to 3.93% was self-limiting, because the drop ensures that the economic recovery will persist. Treasuries have been on a wild ride this year: yields melted to deeply overvalued levels (3.07%) this past June when deflation fears erupted, then suffered a record-breaking sell-off into August (4.66%) when the...
Why the Estate Tax Might Never Die
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
The California budget debacle which precipitated the upcoming recall election of Governor Gray Davis accentuates the financial woes of other states without surf and sun. In 2001, the Federal government eliminated a large source of state revenue when it enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act ("EGTRRA"). Specifically, the Feds reduced...
"Solo" 401(k) Plans Offer Big Tax Deductions: Tax-Deferred Investing to the Max
Monday, September 1, 2003
Major changes to the tax laws now allow small business owners to establish 401(k) plans more easily than ever before, and benefit from bigger 401(k) plan deductions than they've ever seen. These 401(k) plans have been dubbed "solo" 401(k) plans because of the new rules' popularity among single-owner businesses. Yet, it is possible to have more than one...
Employee Wellness: Is It Possible To Increase the Bottom-Line by Decreasing the Waist-Line?
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
The performance of a corporation depends in large part upon the performance of its key asset—employees. Depreciation of a worker's productivity is a significant cost that is not a deductible expense on a company's tax return. Just as management will do what it takes to protect the longevity of it's other valuable assets, care should be taken to...
The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 - - What Does It Mean To You?
Sunday, June 1, 2003
On Wednesday, May 28, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (the "Act") into law. It has been reported that this Act is the third largest tax reduction in our country's history. Since it is such a large tax cut, it will affect most Americans. The purpose of this article is to summarize the Act and...
Annuities...Are Their Benefits Worth Their Costs?
Thursday, May 1, 2003
Since the Roman Empire, annuities - - or "annua," as they were originally called in Latin - - have attracted many investors to the benefits of earning a lifetime income stream in exchange for a one-time investment. Annuities were created to generate revenue for governments, while also offering financial security for the average person. Initially, it was a...
Borrowing from Your Retirement Plan Account
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
If you participate in a qualified retirement plan, and you're in need of a loan, you may be interested in borrowing money from your plan account. And the law now allows all business owners to borrow from their retirement plans and take advantage of an economic opportunity which in some cases had only been available to rank-and-file employees. If the rules...
"Stretching" For Yield
Saturday, March 1, 2003
With interest rates at or near historic lows, it is very tempting for the investor to go “in search of” greater yields on their fixed income investments. That typically translates into moving out along the yield curve, longer maturities - - and/or down the rating ladder, lower credit quality. Either tactic could spell trouble for the...
"Qualified Retirement Planning Services" As a Fringe Benefit
Saturday, February 1, 2003
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-16) added a new category of fringe benefit that is excludable from employees' gross wages - - employer-provided qualified retirement planning services. This exclusion applies to qualified retirement planning services offered for years beginning after December 31, 2001. Background ...
Start 2003 with a Review of Your Financial Goals and Strategies
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
With every New Year there are resolutions made to live healthier, wiser, and fuller lives. This same enthusiasm should also apply to reviewing your financial goals. With any sound financial plan, a comprehensive review of your goals and strategies are a significant part of its success. What better time than at the beginning of a new year to reevaluate these...
The Price/Earnings Ratio: What It Measures and What It Doesn't
Sunday, December 1, 2002
The price/earnings ratio is without doubt the most common metric used by investors to evaluate the relative attractiveness of a stock and of the stock market. This article takes a look at the Price/Earnings ratio in the following four contexts: - The relationship to cash flow - Historical perspectives in light of recent Financial Accounting Standards Board...
How to Avoid Being Required to Withdraw Everything from Your IRA
Friday, November 1, 2002
A new ruling by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may enable your individual retirement account (IRA) to last longer. As discussed in the June, 2001 Lane Report, after reaching age 70½, participants in qualified retirement plans and IRA account holders are required to take at least a minimum distribution from their accounts each year. However,...
Just In Time For School: New State Law Makes Bright Start® Best 529 Plan Choice For Illinois Residents; Other States Likely To Follow Its Lead
Sunday, September 1, 2002
On July 11, 2002, Illinois Governor George Ryan signed into law Public Act 92-0626 (“Act”), making certain amendments to Illinois law that make it more advantageous for Illinois residents to open and contribute to Bright Start®, the Illinois Section 529 tuition savings plan, rather than any other state's Section 529 Plan, or even College...
Dividends Still Matter!
Thursday, August 1, 2002
As of this writing, the S&P 500 index is down 45% from its peak close of 1527 in March, 2000. The dividend yield on the S&P at that time was 1.1%. Today, it stands at 1.9% and this is after an approximate decline of 4% in the total dollar value of dividends paid by the companies in the index since then. Furthermore, only 350 of the 500 companies...
Wealth Retention Through Tax-Focused Planning: The Next Financial Challenge
Monday, July 1, 2002
Many women and members of other historically marginalized groups have become affluent as a direct result of taking the fullest possible advantage of access to opportunities that were closed to them in the not-too-distant past. These opportunities include education, jobs, personal loans, business loans, and home ownership. Meeting the challenge to take...
Is Saving a Part of the Grand Scheme?
Saturday, June 1, 2002
As an entrepreneur, you have done your homework, put in many late nights and weekends, and now after investing all your heart and soul, your business is growing by leaps and bounds. Wasn't that the grand scheme, to be your own boss, create your own wealth and play by your own rules? Or was it really only a part of the grand scheme? There is another part...
Economic Stimulus Bill Provides Additional Opportunities For Tax Savings
Wednesday, May 1, 2002
The terrorist attack on the United States of September 11, 2001 and the resulting economic downturn led to calls for Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill -- and, indeed, Congress finally passed the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 (the "Job Creation Act"), which was signed by President Bush on March 9, 2002. The final bill passed both...
A Case For Professional Money Management
Monday, April 1, 2002
With all the financial fallout resulting from the last two years of market turmoil and the uncertainty created by the questionable accounting and auditing practices so much in the news lately, professional asset managers seem to again be enjoying the credibility that they have always deserved. As it turns out, the time tested financial yardsticks used in...
Compliance With Excess Benefit Transaction Rules is Worth the Effort for Exempt Organizations
Friday, March 1, 2002
Internal Revenue Code Section 4958 imposes certain excise taxes against individuals involved in an "excess benefit transaction" with an organization exempt from income tax under Code Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) ("Applicable Organization"). Although the section is effective for any transaction occurring after September 14, 1995, final regulations were...
Protecting Each Other by Using a Domestic Partnership Agreement
Friday, February 1, 2002

The Illinois Supreme Court has expressly held that cohabitation, by itself, does not create an economic interest or other equitable rights in a domestic partner's property.  A domestic partnership agreement is a contract entered into between two parties.

...
When Lawyers Need to Reveal Their Clients' Secrets
Tuesday, January 1, 2002
The American Bar Association's governing body recently met in Chicago and blundered badly. The House of Delegates decisively rejected a proposed ethics rule which would have permitted a lawyer to blow the whistle on a client who plans to use the lawyer's services to perpetrate a fraud. The 225-to-151 vote killed a provision in a proposed overhaul of the...
Charitable Deductions: Tax Planning for 2001
Saturday, December 1, 2001
With the end of the year approaching, it's a good time to review your tax situation with a view to finding ways to reduce your Federal income tax liability for the year 2001. One popular way, particularly this year in light of the recent tragic events of September 11, to reduce one's taxes is making contributions to charitable organizations — and, due...
Welcomed Amendments To Illinois' Business Law
Thursday, November 1, 2001
On June 28, 2001, Governor George Ryan signed Public Act 92-33 ("P.A. 92-33"), which became effective July 1, 2001. This law changed many sections of the Illinois Business Corporation Act of 1983 ("BCA") and the Illinois General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 ("GNFPCA"). For the most part, the changes are very beneficial to both corporations and...
Individual Income Tax Reductions Under The 2001 Tax Act
Monday, October 1, 2001
Some of the news stories about the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, ("2001 Tax Act" or "the Act") have described it as the largest tax cut in the past 20 years. Many tax reductions are, in fact, contained in the Act, but they are delivered gradually, or "phased-in" over a period of years. The purpose of this article is to describe...
2001 Tax Act: Opportunities To Save More For Retirement
Saturday, September 1, 2001
The bad news: on June 7, 2001, President Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (the "2001 Tax Act"), further complicating existing tax laws. The good news: with some planning and guidance from The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane, you can take advantage of the 2001 Tax Act and defer more of your hard earned dollars...
New Tax Act Makes Section 529 Plans Better Than Ever
Wednesday, August 1, 2001
I have previously written praising the benefits of saving for the high cost of higher education by using Qualified State Tuition Programs under Internal Revenue Code Section 529. See "Help for the High Cost of Higher Education - Section 529 Plans Part 1, March 2001 Lane Report and Part 2, April 2001 Lane Report. The recently enacted Economic Growth and Tax...
Gift, Estate and Generation-Skipping Tax Ramifications of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
Sunday, July 1, 2001
Gratuitous transfers of property have been subject to tax by the United States government for many years. The federal government first levied a tax on decedents' estates in 1916. It imposed the gift tax in 1932. The Generation-Skipping Transfer ("GST") tax resulted from the Tax Reform Act of 1986. However, on June 7, 2001 President Bush signed the Economic...
New Proposed Regulations Make IRA Planning Simpler
Friday, June 1, 2001
It may seem hard to believe, but new regulations proposed by the Internal Revenue Service are already making life simpler for investors and retirees. Beginning in 2001, many participants in retirement plans and owners of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) can reduce their minimum required distributions from their accounts. A little background is in...
DSL a High Stakes Game of Monopoly
Tuesday, May 1, 2001
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line technology, a method for providing high-speed remote access to the Internet over ordinary phone lines. Until recently, DSL was described by many as the best value for broadband access to the Internet and many businesses jumped on its bandwagon. However, events in recent weeks could lead many to believe that DSL stands...
Help For The High Cost Of Higher Education Section 529 Plans Part 2
Sunday, April 1, 2001
Last month, we discussed a valuable weapon in the fight against the rising costs of higher education, the qualified state tuition plan ("QSTP"). This month we discuss the various types of QSTPs and describe the Illinois plans as well as the plans of some other states. Types of plans. There are generally two types of QSTPs, prepaid tuition plans and...
Help For The High Cost Of Higher Education Section 529 Plans Part 1
Thursday, March 1, 2001
The cost of a college education keeps rising. The tuition inflation rate routinely exceeds the general economy's rate of inflation. In recent years, many states have created tuition funding programs to help parents and other family members save to meet the high cost of college education. The states have been helped in this regard through changes in the...
Estate Planning Lessons Learned From The Anna Nicole Smith Case
Thursday, February 1, 2001
Anna Nicole Smith, the model who at age 26 married an 89-year-old multimillionaire, was once again in the news in recent months when a bankruptcy court in California awarded her a judgment of approximately $450 million, representing what the court found was supposed to have been her share of her late husband's estate. As unusual as the circumstances...
Displaying 81 through 120 of 156  

Announcing Marc J. Lane's 35th Book:

The Mission-Driven Venture: Business Solutions to the World's Most Vexing Social Problems

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