Marrying a Non-U.S. Citizen? No Tax Honeymoon for You

Marrying a Non-U.S. Citizen? Taxes for Marrying a Non-U.S. CitizenMarriage is a major life event. One that comes with all kinds of change, including financial. After getting married, there is so much to consider, from merging bank and brokerage accounts to setting up a will; from changing your withholding to updating retirement account beneficiary forms. If this seems like a lot to consider, it’s important to keep in mind that when a U.S. citizen marries a non-U.S. citizen, the situation gets even more complex.

Among some of the more complex tax considerations of mixed citizenship marriages are gift and estate taxes, which we will dive into below.

Gift and Estate Tax Overview

Before getting into the details on non-citizen spousal situations, here is a recap of the basics on U.S. estate and gift taxes. In the United States, estate and gift taxes are essentially a type of transfer tax, with the tax paid by the giver. Tax rates range between 18 percent and 40 percent of the assets transferred, but there are exemptions (with lifetime limits) that can reduce or even cancel out these taxes. Currently, the lifetime exemption is $13.61 million per person; however, this is set to drop to about $7.5 million starting January 1, 2026.

Gifting – No Free Ride in Marriage

When both spouses are U.S. citizens, there is an unlimited gift tax exemption, meaning no gift tax period. In the case where the recipient spouse is a U.S citizen, this still applies; however, when the spouse receiving the gifts is a non-U.S. citizen, then it’s different.

In the case where the U.S. spouse gifts to the non-citizen spouse, there are annual limits. For 2024, the annual aggregate limit for tax-free gifting is $185,000. Gifting beyond this amount starts to eat into the total lifetime exclusion.

Leaving Assets to Heiring Spouses

Leaving a bequest to a non-citizen spouse is very similar to gifting in that it also does not benefit from the uncapped marriage exemption. When a U.S. citizen dies and leaves assets to the non-citizen spouse, the estate tax can apply. After using up the lifetime limit, taxes on these bequests can be up to 40 percent. While each situation it unique, estate planning maneuvers such as setting-up trusts can prevent or mitigate the tax hit.

Reporting Requirement – It’s About More Than Just Paying Taxes

The concept of not needing to pay tax due to exemption limitations or gift/estate tax strategies is distinct from the reporting requirements. Here, the reverse situation is the tricky one: When the non-U.S. citizen makes a gift or bequest to the U.S. spouse. Despite having no tax implications, the U.S. spouse may need to comply with informational reporting requirements if the gifts or bequests are technically foreign-sourced and more than $100,000 (in any given year). Failure to comply with reporting standards can yield serious penalties.

Gift-Splitting is Different

Gift-splitting is a technique that allows a married couple to pool their individual annual gift limits and give more tax-free money to the same person. For example, each spouse gets an annual gifting limit of $18,000 they can give to any one recipient (per calendar year), without any tax considerations or use of the lifetime limits. Gift-splitting lets each spouse give this amount to the same person, effectively doubling the amount they can give together to any one person to $36,000. This is not allowed when one spouse is a non-U.S. citizen.

Conclusion

In the end, there is almost always an issue when the U.S. citizen spouse gifts or bequests to the non-U.S. citizen spouse (not the other way around). Keep these details in mind when tax planning and you’ll be on the right path. Also, it’s important to remember that these are the U.S. tax rules and regulations. Any tax implications for the non-U.S. citizen spouse in their country is beyond the scope of this article.

How to Develop a Credit Policy

How to Develop a Credit PolicyA credit policy explains how a company will manage lines of credit for client accounts and what procedures to follow for severely outstanding invoices. It helps a business promote a robust foundation for its working capital level.

Defining a Credit Policy

Unlike personal credit scores, business scores range from 0 to 100; the scores from the FICO Small Business Scoring Service range from 0 to 300. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a first step to establishing business credit is to sign up for a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number for each business location.

There are three components to a company’s credit policy. First, develop an effective system of following up on past-due invoices. Second, define when, how much, and the terms of credit extended to customers. Third, establish how the business underwrites a client’s creditworthiness and put guidelines in place to determine when to increase or decrease lines of credit for clients.

Memorializing a Company’s Credit Policy for External and Internal Uses

The reason why it’s so important to have a credit policy in writing is because 6 in 10 workers in large American business workplaces have found it challenging to get information from their fellow co-workers, according to a report by YouGov and Panopto. This same report found that processes that are not documented result in employees wasting an average of 5.3 hours/week either looking for the right person or waiting for a response.

Internally, it enables employees to understand the policy inside and out, creating more efficient workers. Externally, it sets clear ground rules and reduces the likelihood of mismatched customer expectations.

Considerations Before Writing Out a Credit Policy

Depending on the interest rate environment, clients may have a hard time obtaining financing. If they are able to obtain financing in a high-interest rate environment, it will come with a higher cost for the customer. The business may need to have more stringent policies.

Terms of Sale May Not be One-Size-Fits-All

It is imperative to explain how payment terms work before the company engages with clients. Be it net 15, 30, or 60 days, etc., consider how payment timeframes may incentivize pre-payment or early payment discounts. From there, determine when and how the company takes action to deem when payment is “delinquent,” and when it’s considered uncollectable and finally written off and sold to a debt collector.

Depending on the size/revenue/etc. of the company writing the policy, it is not ideal to treat smaller companies the same as larger/more established companies. For example, giving a company a net 45 term versus a net 30 or net 15 has two available outcomes.

Larger companies may be able to pay faster, but if they are given more time to pay, it can negatively impact the receiving company’s cash flow. And while giving small companies similar terms can create more goodwill, it also can cause a company to take it for granted. This presents the potential to never receive payment for outstanding invoices if the small business faces bankruptcy. Similarly, depending on the type of business and/or sector it’s in, risk should be rated appropriately.

Determine Roles/Responsibilities

Ensure each department and person within each department has a defined role within the credit approval process. The sales department can help craft payment terms to reduce late payments and maximize sales. The credit department can handle reviewing to extend, lower, and increase credit limits. The accounts receivable (AR) department should follow up on late invoices, collect payments, and record incoming payments.    

While there’s no boilerplate form for a business’ credit policy, having a policy in place will help a business navigate its internal and external needs more effectively.

Sources

eBook: Valuing Workplace Knowledge

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/establish-business-credit

6 Financial Tips for New Dads

6 Financial Tips for New DadsThere are probably few things as exciting and daunting as becoming a new dad, especially when it comes to finances. But we’ve got you! Here are a few tips to help you turn those challenges into opportunities as you walk this new life path.

Create a Budget

This is probably super obvious, but here’s a way to break it down into sections so you’ll have a roadmap.

  • Look at current finances. This includes income, checking, and savings.
  • Plan for new expenses. Make an exhaustive list of everything you can think of that your baby might need.
  • Prioritize and cut. Identify these areas, then make hard decisions about where you need to change things for your new reality.
  • Launch into the changes. Keep tabs on how you’re doing as your life evolves and adjust as you deem necessary.

Review Your Insurance

First thing, add your baby to your health insurance plan so you’ll be covered for doctor visits, vaccinations, and anything else that comes along. Next up, update your life insurance plan – you’ll likely need to increase your coverage. It’s not just about you anymore. It’s about making sure your family’s financial future is secure. If you don’t have a life insurance policy, it’s time to get one.

Start a Savings Account for Your Child

Opening an account for your baby will help ensure a solid financial future. Look for accounts with good interest rates so you can build a nest egg over time. But wait, there’s more – college! Mind-boggling, yes, but necessary. A 529 plan is a great option because it’s designed specifically for future education and comes with tax advantages. Don’t put this on the back burner!

Set Up an Emergency Fund

Life happens. Unexpected things can pop up at any given moment. A car repair. Your HVAC breaks down. A trip to the ER in the middle of the night. Start small. Set aside a few dollars each month. This way, you won’t have to dip into your savings or use a credit card. Not that this is unwise, of course, but having some non-APR padding in your life provides the peace of mind you’ll undoubtedly need during this amazing, uncertain period of your life.

Plan Your Parental Leave

Make sure you understand all the details about your company’s policies. When you have digested it all, make sure your budget includes resources for your time away. If you’re an entrepreneur, add this to your overall budget. Yes, you’ll have to cut back on spending, but your child’s first few days and months? You can’t put a price on that.

Consult a Professional

If you feel you need extra assistance charting these unknown waters, bring in the pros. Your accountant is a great person to start with. Just talking things out with a human face-to-face might give you the comfort you need to put one foot in front of the other.

Navigating parenthood, specifically as a dad, is one of life’s most important jobs. Make sure you have all the right tools with you as you begin this awesome journey.

Sources

https://www.motherhoodcenter.com/7-financial-planning-tips-for-new-dads

The Role of Data Analytics and Visualization in Modern Auditing

The Role of Data Analytics and Visualization in Modern AuditingModern businesses have become complex mainly due to the exponential growth of data, and traditional auditing methods can no longer keep pace. To cope with today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, data analytics and visualization have become crucial tools. Leveraging these advanced technologies enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of audits and enables auditors to extract valuable insights previously hidden in the vast sea of data.

Understanding the Change

Before the digital age ushered in a new era of auditing, auditors relied solely on manual sampling techniques and paper-based records. Today, data analytics serves as the cornerstone of audit procedures. By utilizing the power of algorithms and statistical models, auditors can analyze large datasets with speed and accuracy. This involves examining data from financial statements, general ledgers, and transactional data. It helps mitigate the risk of overlooking critical information. Data visualization, on the other hand, uses visual elements like graphs, charts, and dashboards that make it easier to interpret data.

Benefits of Data Analytics and Visualization

  1. Enhanced audit quality – Through sophisticated data mining techniques, auditors can identify anomalies, patterns, and trends. This creates audit trails that can help track changes over time and eventually indicate potential risks or irregularities. By scrutinizing entire datasets rather than relying on sampling, auditors can provide stakeholders with a more comprehensive and reliable assessment of financial statements and internal controls.
  2. Detecting fraud and errors – A rise in financial misconduct across various industries has made fraud detection a top priority for auditors in recent years. With the help of data analytics, it becomes possible to flag suspicious transactions, discrepancies, or outliers that may indicate fraudulent activity. By leveraging predictive modeling and anomaly detection algorithms, auditors can proactively identify red flags and conduct targeted investigations, safeguarding stakeholders’ interests and preserving the integrity of financial reporting.
  3. Driving insights through visualization – While data analytics lays the foundation for effective auditing, visualization helps connect raw data to actionable insights. Through charts, graphs,and dashboards, auditors can transform complex datasets into visual narratives that facilitate decision-making and communication. Visualization makes the interpretation of audit findings easy and enables auditors to identify patterns and relationships that may have gone unnoticed in traditional tabular formats.
  4. Improving risk assessment – Risk assessment is crucial in the auditing process and guides auditors in identifying areas of potential concern. Data analytics empowers auditors to conduct more robust risk assessments by analyzing historical data, industry benchmarks, and key performance indicators. By leveraging predictive analytics, auditors can anticipate emerging risks and tailor audit procedures to address specific areas of concern, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of the audit process.

Embracing Technology-Driven Auditing

As technology continues to evolve, auditors must embrace innovation and adapt to the changing auditing landscape. From machine learning algorithms to artificial intelligence-powered tools, the possibilities for enhancing audit effectiveness are limitless. By investing in training and adopting cutting-edge technologies, auditors can stay ahead of the curve and deliver greater value to their clients and stakeholders.

It is worth noting that while the benefits of data analytics and visualization in auditing are undeniable, its implementation does come with some challenges. Data quality, privacy concerns, and regulatory compliance remain key considerations for auditors when leveraging data analytics. Additionally, the shortage of skilled professionals proficient in both auditing and data analytics poses a significant barrier to widespread adoption. However, by addressing these challenges proactively and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, auditors can harness the full potential of data analytics and visualization in modern auditing.

Conclusion

The integration of data analytics and visualization has revolutionized the field of auditing, enabling auditors to conduct more efficient, effective, and insightful audits. By leveraging advanced technologies and analytical techniques, auditors can enhance audit quality, detect fraud and errors, drive actionable insights, improve risk assessment, and embrace a technology-driven approach to auditing. Although there are some challenges, the benefits far outweigh the obstacles, making data analytics and visualization indispensable tools for auditors in the digital age. As businesses continue to generate massive amounts of data, auditors must embrace innovation and harness the power of data analytics and visualization to navigate the complexities of modern auditing successfully.

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern Value

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern ValueWhether it’s a company firing on all cylinders or a company on the verge of liquidation, determining correct valuations is not a cut-and-dry process. Understanding the importance of going-concern values and liquidation values is essential when determining a business’ worth.

Quantifying Going-Concern Value

When it comes to defining this type of value, it factors in the likelihood of a business operating indefinitely with continued profitability. With a company’s demonstrated ability to maintain profitability comes inherent value, reducing the likelihood of a business going bankrupt. 

In contrast to a business’ liquidation value basis, which might only be $20 million due to unsold goods, real property and associated physical assets, the going-concern value might be worth $120 million. The difference and increase in value are due to the additional equity embedded in its competitive position in its industry, its projected future cash flows, goodwill, etc. Goodwill consists of the company’s name, its intellectual property (IP) patent, trademarks, customer loyalty, etc.

When one company looks to acquire another, the company bases its valuation on the calculated going-concern value of the acquiree. When formulating its offer to purchase the other, it will factor in its future profitability, intangible assets, customer loyalty, and goodwill.

Liquidation Value Defined

Liquidation value is determined by establishing the net value of a company’s physical or tangible assets if they were to go out of business. It’s important to distinguish that intangible assets (intellectual property, brand significance, and goodwill) are not included in liquidation sales. Assets are often sold at a loss because the seller must turn the assets into cash quickly. Generally, liquidation valuation is higher than salvage value but less than book value. Though, to contrast with a traditional, non-acquisition sale, intangible assets are considered part of the sale/offer price.

One important concept for determining liquidation value is the recovery rate. Cash is naturally the highest level, usually at 100 percent. From there, assets such as accounts receivable (AR), inventory, property, plant, and equipment (PPE) have progressively lower recovery values. Determining these values will accordingly govern the success of a liquidation sale.

Comparing Values: Market vs. Book vs. Liquidation vs. Salvage

It’s important to highlight the hierarchy of values to illustrate why these types of valuations differ so much. Market value is the highest, though market conditions can temporarily lower them below normal valuations. Book value is the second highest, also known as historical, and it is what’s listed on the company’s balance sheet. Book values must be looked at through the lens of history and relative to inflation, etc. Salvage value is the second lowest valuation, which is also referred to as scrap value, or when an item is “at the end of its useful life.” Liquidation is the lowest value because tangible assets must be sold quickly, lessening the chance to find a buyer at a fair price.

How Liquidation Works

Liquidation is the difference between a company’s tangible asset value and liabilities. For example:

  1. Liabilities of a business are $750,000

  2. Balance sheet assets show a book value of $1.5 million

  3. Salvage value of assets is $250,000

  4. Auction sale estimate value is $1.2 million, or 80 percent

Liquidation Value = Auction Value – Liabilities ($1.2 million – $750,000 = $450,000)

Many variables must be studied to effectively determine a company’s value, regardless of what spectrum is being evaluated. Employees and consultants who have a better grasp of these methods will provide everyone involved with a fair assessment.