STEP US News Digest wrap-up – July’s top stories

paying-taxes---one-pays-anotherPresidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid to increase estate taxes for the wealthiest proved of particular interest to our US readers. The top five news items for July follow, in case you missed them:

US presidential candidate proposes increasing taxes on wealthiest: Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, introduced on June 25 the Responsible Estate Tax Act which proposes increasing estate taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Currently, the first USD5.4 million of an individual’s estate (almost the first USD11 million of a married couple’s estate) are exempt from the tax. The Bill, which aims to reduce “skyrocketing income and wealth inequality” recommends that the first USD3.5 million of an individual’s estate (the first USD7 million of a married couple’s estate) should be exempt from estate tax.

B.C. Supreme Court cures will that did not comply with legal requirements: In Re Yaremkewich Estate, the Supreme Court of British Columbia held that the testamentary documents the deceased left constituted a valid will under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act 2009 even though they did not comply “with the formal execution requirements” of the Act.

Court renders first decision on provincial residency of a trust: In Discovery Trust v Minister of National Revenue (2015 NLTD(G)86), a trust tax return was reassessed following a finding by an auditor that emigrating the trust to Alberta was abusive. In 2008, the Discovery Trust filed returns as if it was resident in Alberta (as opposed to Newfoundland) and thereby saved CAD9 million approximately in tax.

Presidential candidate to sue US government over foreign bank account reporting rules: Senator of Kentucky and Presidential candidate Rand Paul is to sue the Internal Revenue Service in pursuance of a court declaration that its Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) regime and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) are unconstitutional.

BC Supreme Court declares will invalid after son “failed to show” it was duly executed: In the case of Harshenin v Khadikin (2015 BCSC 1213) the Supreme Court of British Columbia held a will invalid because the defendant had failed to prove that it was “duly executed in compliance with the requisite statutory formalities” and therefore revoked a grant of probate issued to the defendant with regard to his late father’s estate.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

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