Update from Archstone Law Group

Highlights of the 2010 Tax Relief Act

On December 17, 2010, the President signed The Tax Relief Act of 2010 into law. Some of the highlights of the Act are summarized below; however, one important feature of the Act is its short duration – the provisions only last for two years. Therefore, all of these provisions are subject to further Congressional debate and future changes.

  • Estate and Gift Tax Provisions (effective through 2012):
    • Increases the federal estate tax exemption to $5 million per person with a maximum estate tax rate of 35%.
    • Introduces portability which allows a surviving spouse to take advantage of any portion of the exemption unused by their predeceased spouse, with the effect being that a married couple has $10 million of federal estate tax exemption.
    • Reunifies the gift tax and the estate tax which allows individuals to make up to $5 million in taxable gifts in 2011 and 2012 without the imposition of federal gift tax.
    • Gives estates of those who died in 2010 a choice of whether to be taxed under the new law or the law that was in effect for 2010.
  • Individual Provisions:
    • Individual income tax rates, including rates on dividends and capital gains, extended for 2 additional years (2011 and 2012).
    • A 2% reduction in the employee’s portion of Social Security payroll tax is effective for 2011 and applies to self-employed individuals as well.
    • Marriage penalty relief extended through 2012.
    • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) “patch” included for 2010 and 2011 tax years.
  • Business Provisions:
    • Bonus depreciation is increased to 100% for qualifying assets placed in service after September 8, 2010, and before January 1, 2012, with 50% bonus depreciation available for 2012.
    • Section 179 expensing enhanced for 2012, with a $125,000 dollar limit and a $500,000 investment limit.
    • Provides a 100% exclusion of future capital gains from qualified small business stock acquired on or before December 31, 2011, and also extends the research tax credit and the work opportunity tax credit through 2011.
  • Other Provisions:
    • Unemployment benefits extended through 2011.
    • Extension of many energy tax breaks for businesses and to a lesser extent for individuals.
    • Many education tax incentives extended through 2012.


Homestead Protection Expanded

A recently enacted amendment to the Massachusetts homestead law provides significant new benefits to homeowners in the Commonwealth. The highlights of the bill include automatic homestead protection up to $125,000 without having to file a homestead document at the local registry, a homestead remaining valid if the home is transferred to another family member, a homestead remaining in force under a refinancing, as well as providing additional protection for homeowners who receive insurance proceeds from fire or other damages. The homestead protection act also now provides coverage for those who have put their home in a trust. Lastly, closing attorneys in mortgage transactions must now provide borrowers with a notice of availability of a homestead.

Carol Phillips Presents at MCLE Seminar

Attorney Carol Phillips recently presented at a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program on Health Law. Carol was a co-presenter during the segment on physicians, and she spoke about the various aspects in the life cycle of a medical practice.
Archstone Attorneys Named Massachusetts Super Lawyers

Attorneys Eve Horwitz and Andrew Butler were named as 2010 Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the November issue of Boston Magazine. Eve and Andrew were selected by an independent blue ribbon panel of their peers who were asked to vote for those lawyers who represent the best of the legal profession. Only five percent of all lawyers in Massachusetts are listed as Super Lawyers.