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Issues and Complexities With Income Splitting


Understand the complexities of income splitting and make informed decisions for your clients.

With the recent doubling, at least temporarily, of the applicable exclusion from gift and estate taxation, planning professionals are turning their attention to reducing the aggregate income tax burden on the family unit, often by 'shifting income' from a taxpayer in a higher marginal rate bracket to one or more taxpayers in lower brackets. In this presentation, we will review the fundamental tax policies underlying the taxation of income, the progressive rate structure, the realization requirement, and the definition of the family as an economic unit, and consider what these policies may imply with respect to opportunities for income shifting. We will look closely at several income-shifting strategies, seeking to identify some of the advantages, disadvantages, uncertainties, and limitations of each. You will come away with a much clearer understanding of which techniques might be appropriate to a particular situation, and where the opportunities lie.



Russell A. Willis, III, J.D., LL.M.

Russell A. Willis, III, J.D., LL.M.

Planned Gift Design Services

  • Manager of noncash research for Charitable Solutions, LLC, a planned gift risk management consulting firm headed by Bryan Clontz
  • Works as a freelance paralegal consultant with nonprofits, donors, and their advisors in structuring charitable contributions of closely held business and real property interests, so as to serve the mutual advantage of all parties
  • Provides legal research and advice on income and transfer tax planning more generally, and writes the occasional trial or appellate brief
  • For ten years, he was a writer and editor for a subscription website that provided daily coverage and in-depth analysis of developments in tax law affecting charitable gift planning
  • More recently he has launched his own newsletter, the Jack Straw Fortnightly, back issues of which are posted to his website
  • Has spoken at any number of national and regional conferences, and to local planned giving roundtables, community foundations, and bar associations; some of his recent papers are also posted to his site
  • J.D. degree, St. Louis University; M.A. degree in English, University of Chicago; M.A. degree in taxation law, Washington University in St. Louis; undergraduate degree in English literature, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Can be contacted at [email protected]

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