With the year 2020 with all the uncertainties due to the Covid pandemic coming to a close, most of us, especially the Indian Americans are getting ready to file the annual Tax Returns. With ever changing Tax Laws, and in the context of the Covid pandemic and the ushering in of a new administration led by President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris preparing to lead the nation, there are several unanswered questions on how best to use the prevailing tax laws to benefit individuals, families and businesses.
GOPIO-CT, the most active Chapter in the world, under the leaderships of Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International and Ashok Nichani, the local Chapter president and the Exceptive Committee organized a Virtual Zoom Session on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, with the objective of educating Indian Americans on 2021 Major US Tax Reform, Tax Planning and Tax Saving Tips, International Taxes, Estate & Gift tax and Retirement Plans. Attended by hundreds of members and leaders of GOPIO, the educative session was led by several experts on Tax law in the US, with particular focus on international Taxes.
Cecil Nazareth, ACA, CPA, MBA addressed the audience on Tax Planning 2020-’21 and International Taxes with particular focus on: IRS enforcement; Biden proposed tax plan; Year-end Tax planning; and, Other proposals/planning tools. He recommended tax filers to avoid “red flags” that could potentially lead to one greater scrutiny. Under Biden administration, Nazreth stated, “Chances of tax cut is greater for lower and middle class Americans, with tax rate possibly to go up for those earning over $400,000.” He was of the opinion that “No tax hike in Covid times” and “New credit for people providing long term care to relatives with incentive to offer more retirement savings.” He suggested small businesses to “Apply for PPP loan forgiveness NOW” while cautioning that “Expenses are not deductible if loan is forgiven.”
Cecil Nazareth CA, CPA is a partner with Nazareth CAs & CPAs, Cecil worked at Ernst & Young and the AICPA in key strategic positions. Cecil is an Indian Chartered Accountant and a U.S. CPA. Cecil is a leading authority on Indo–US tax issues. Cecil has an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University and Information Technology from Columbia University. His is also an author of “International tax and compliance handbook” with special emphasis on India-U.S. taxes.
In his address, Michael Markhoff. Esq., spoke about Estate, Gift taxes and Trust Options for Children, while educating the audience on “changes you should consider to your estate plan in 2021 due to the election; Planning to minimize state estate taxes; and Trust options for children.”
Markhoff said, the new Administration under Biden is likely to lower the exemption, resulting less returns for people with higher income. He suggested to “make gifts before the end of the year” and highlighted the options for making gifts from one person to another within family to avoid higher taxes. Suggesting that Life Insurance is a good planning and will help pay for estate plans, he recommended “charity plans will leave with lower state taxes.”
Attorney Michael Markhoff, a partner at Danziger & Markhoff LLP, is a graduate of Columbia College and Brooklyn Law School and is listed in Best Lawyers in America – Trusts and Estates and Category and Super Lawyers – Trusts and Estates Category. Michael was named Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year for White Plains, New York for 2016 and 2018 by Best Lawyers in America.
Andy Roth, Esq., addressed the audience on “Looking into Key CARES Act and SECURE Act – Retirement Plan, including on taxes for those with Coronavirus infections. Under CARES ACT, he said, “You, or your spouse or dependent, are diagnosed with coronavirus by a CDC-approved test (including a test authorized under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;) and, or our experience adverse financial consequences as a result of your, or your spouse or a member of your household that is, someone who shares your principal residence. “Qualified individuals can elect in their tax return to treat allowable in-service distributions in 2020 as CRDs even if their employer’s plan does not adopt CRDs,” he told the audience.
Attorney Andrew E. Roth is a partner of Danziger & Markhoff LLP with over 35 years of experience as an ERISA attorney. He is a frequent lecturer in the areas of pension, profit-sharing and employee benefits law. Mr. Roth attended University College of Arts and Science of NYU and graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. Mr. Roth also received an LLM in Taxation from NYU School of Law.
Shiva Bhashyam CFP®, AEP®, APMA® emphasized the importance of Financial Planning in Retirement and offered Market update and outlook, Retirement planning checklist, and Behavioral investing – how and why to manage emotions during volatile markets.
Shiva Bhashyam received his undergraduate degree in economics from Tufts University and a Masters Degree in Management and Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Shiva is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) practitioner, Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®), and Accredited Portfolio Manager Advisor (APMA®). Shiva has been a financial advisor with an Ameriprise Financial Private Wealth Advisory Practice, Bhashyam Wealth Management Associates. Shiva has been named a Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for 2019 & 2020.
Kim Ramchandani spoke about Long-Term Care Planning Options, and on ways to help you to have a conversation with your loved ones about making a plan now about your wishes. “It is important because your life and your health don’t just affect you; they affect all the people who love and care for you,” she said.
Kim Ramchandani, CHFC® is Senior Vice President, Financial Consultant, Webster Investments. Kim provides holistic wealth management services that address he full spectrum of her clients’ financial concerns, including investments, life insurance, family finances, retirement and estate planning. She has 13 years’ experience in investment services and is a Chartered Financial Consultant. ®
David Folley, who works closely with Webster Investments, in his presentation spoke about Tax Incentives to us in 2020. Pointing to the fact that a third of our society is in retirement, he said, they can be used to reimburse age related caps in the tax laws. While educating the participants on the long-term care, he said, Long Term Care, he said, it is the option to live in the community rather than be institutionalized when one is old or disabled. He warned that when one is older, Medicare and Medicaid will run their course soon, and one’s savings will end and one’s family will not be there to care for you. He suggested using Long Term Care Plans as a way to prepare to cover the cost of treatment when you need it the most.
In his brief introductory remarks, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham reminded participants of the many efforts by GOPIO, which has led a delegation to the IRS representing Indian Americans and their many concerns, especially on the FBAR issue in the year 2011.
GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani welcomed the panelists and the participants. In his remarks, he highlighted the many initiatives, especially educating Indian Americans on Taxes and Tax Laws in the US. GOPIO-CT Vice president Prasad Chintalapudi moderated the Q/A after each speaker. GOPIO-Central Jersey Vie President Vijay Garg served hosted the Zoom event for GOPIO-CT. Other GOPIO leaders present at the Webinar included GOPIO-CT Secretary Rajneesh Misra. GOPIO International officers including Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Treasurer Kewal Kanda, Associate Secretary Jaswant Mody and Media Council Chair Nami Kaur, GOPIO-Manhattan President Shivender Sofat and GOPIO-Central jersey President Kunal Mehta.
Over the last 14 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.