Tag Archives: SALT Deduction

Did Trump’s SALT Deduction Limit Trigger A New Housing Glut In NYC?

In April, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “So Long, California. Sayonara, New York,” published by conservative economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore, warned about a provision within the brand- new tax bill that could trigger a mass migration of roughly 800,000 people — fleeing California and New York for low-tax states over the next several years.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/manhattan-real-estate-market.png?itok=Qn9jr73s

Now that the SALT subsidy is passed, how bad will it get for high-tax blue states, and more specifically New York?

New evidence suggests that New York City could be the first visible region where the mass migration could begin. Take, for example, the number of homes listed for sale in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens had a parabolic spike in May, with inventory across 60 percent of the boroughs reaching all-time highs, according to the latest StreetEasy Market Report. While residential inventory traditionally peaks at the end of May, this year — the supply set new record highs and could continue through summer.

Laffer and Moore’s prophecy (above) of the great migration from New York – triggered by Trump’s new tax bill could be the most logical explanation of why NYC homeowners are rushing all at once to sell their homes.

Housing inventory in Manhattan rose 16.7 percent compared to last year, the largest y/y increase on StreetEasy record. Brooklyn and Queens saw similar spikes, with inventory up 23.4 percent and 42.8 percent, respectively.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screen-Shot-2018-06-22-at-9.07.17-AM.png?itok=N4jLv7Tg

With housing inventory piling up across much of the boroughs, the total number of sales declined for the third consecutive month. StreetEasy said sales plummeted in every submarket across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens; with more significant declines visible in the Upper East Side, Midtown and the Rockaways. Despite the flood of new inventory threatening to stall the market, the StreetEasy Price Index advanced in all three boroughs since last year.

“Sellers are betting on a wave of demand from the peak shopping season, but this summer’s market has turned out to be a crowded one,” says StreetEasy Senior Economist Grant Long.

“However, prices are high and continue to rise. More affordable homes are the hardest to find, and are sure to sell quickly. But higher-end homes, particularly those joining the market from the ongoing stream of new development, will be pressured to lower prices or linger on the market.

This summer is poised to offer an excellent negotiating opportunity for buyers with big budgets.”

As Bloomberg notes, the abnormal amount of supply hitting the NYC residential markets is not sufficiently being met with demand, which could eventually be problematic for prices and serve as a potential turning point. Recently, the mainstream media cleverly changed their narrative and called the ‘housing shortage,’ a ‘housing affordability crisis,’ as it sure seems that the housing bubble, or whatever you want to call it, is in the later innings.

May 2018 Key Findings — Manhattan

  • Sale prices rose in all submarkets but one. The StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index increased 0.6 percent to $1,157,995. Prices rose in four of the five submarkets, led by an increase in the Upper East Side, where the median home price rose 1.9 percent to $1,038,046. Prices in Downtown Manhattan remained flat at $1,691,204.
  • Inventory rose at a record pace. Sales inventory in Manhattan rose 16.7 percent year-over-year. The Upper East Side experienced the largest increase, with inventory up 20.2 percent since last year.
  • One out of every six homes received a discount. Sixteen percent of homes for sale were discounted, an increase of 3.6 percentage points year-over-year.
  • For-sale homes spent less time on the market. Units in the borough spent a median of 55 days on the market, a three-day dip from last year. The Upper East Side and Upper West Side were the only submarkets where homes lingered longer — up 10 days and 17 days, respectively.
  • Rents rose in every Manhattan submarket. The StreetEasy Manhattan Rent Index [iv] rose 1.4 percent to $3,183. Rents in Upper Manhattan rose the most — up 2.5 percent to $2,307.
  • Fewer rentals offered a discount. Sixteen percent of rentals in Manhattan were discounted in May, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from last year.

May 2018 Key Findings — Brooklyn

  • Prices reached new highs in North Brooklyn. The StreetEasy North Brooklyn Price Index increased 11.1 percent to $1,229,838, a record high for the submarket despite the looming L train shutdown. Borough-wide, prices rose by just 1.1. percent since last year, to $720,555.
  • The number of homes with a price cut reached an all-time high. The share of sales with a price cut reached an all-time high of 12.4 percent, a rise of 3.3 percentage points from May 2017.
  • Sales inventory continued to climb, except in North Brooklyn. Sales inventory in the borough reached a record high — up 23.4 percent over last year. Inventory rose the most in South Brooklyn, which saw a 44.7 percent increase over last year. North Brooklyn was the only submarket where inventory dropped, by 6.7 percent since last year.
  • Brooklyn homes spent more time on the market. Homes stayed on the market for a median of 53 days in the borough, 6 more days than last year. North Brooklyn homes are coming off the market after an average of 43 days — 26 days faster than last year.
  • Rents rose in all submarkets except North Brooklyn. The StreetEasy Brooklyn Rent Index increased 1.4 percent year-over-year to $2,562. South Brooklyn experienced the largest spike: up 2.6 percent to a median rent of $1,885. North Brooklyn was the only submarket where rents stagnated, likely because of the L train shutdown starting in April 2019. Rents in the submarket remained flat at $3,062.

May 2018 Key Findings — Queens

  • Price cuts rose to an all-time high. The share of homes with a price cut reached a new high in Queens at 11.1 percent, an increase of 3.5 percentage points over last year.
  • Sales inventory swelled. Queens saw the largest year-over-year increase in inventory, rising 42.8 percent. All five submarkets in the borough saw a surge in inventory.
  • Queens homes are selling slightly faster than last year. The median number of days on market for Queens homes was 56, down 2 days from last year. Homes in Northeast Queens and Northwest Queens took longer to sell than last year, with an increase of 12 days and 6 days on the market, respectively.
  • Rents remained flat. The StreetEasy Queens Rent Index held at $2,113. But rents in South Queens rose 6.9 percent year-over-year, to a median of $1,775.
  • Queens was the only borough with an increase in the share of discounted rentals. Seventeen percent of Queens rentals offered discounts: up 2.9 percentage points over last year, and the highest share of the three boroughs analyzed.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Wealthy Blue-Staters Are Using Shady Alaskan Trusts To Dodge SALT-Deduction Caps

Wealthy Americans living in blue states are scrambling to find tax loopholes that will help them get around one of the most controversial (and for some, infuriating) provisions in President Trump’s tax plan: The capping of the so-called SALT deduction. Enter real-estate planner Jonathan Blattmachr, who this week made the mistake of explaining to a Bloomberg reporter about a plan he’s devised for his clients who are trying to get out of paying the additional taxes on their summer homes in the Hamptons or Cape Cod. According to the Bloomberg story, Blattmachr is planning on transferring the interest in his two New York residences – one in Garden City and one in Southampton – into LLCs, which he will then divide up into five separate trusts that will be based in Alaska. He can then use the trusts to take the maximum $10,000 deduction five separate times. In this way, he can deduct $50,000 in mortgage taxes from his federal tax bill instead of $10,000.

“This is an under-the-radar thing and it’s novel,” said Blattmachr. (Or at least it was under-the-radar until you went blabbing to the media). The trusts that Blattmachr and other savvy estate planners are using to take advantage of this loophole are called non-grantor trusts. While trusts are typically used by the wealthiest Americans to preserve their wealth as it’s handed down from generation to generation, the tax law is giving the merely wealthy an incentive to explore setting up these trusts to pay taxes at rates found in low-tax red states. The trusts can help property owners avoid paying an additional $100,000 in taxes across their properties.

However, the plan isn’t practical for everybody, and even those who can reap the benefits over the long term must take an up-front risk because they must pay the maintenance costs for the trusts – which can be as high as $20,000 – up front. If the IRS ever issues guidance invalidating the loophole, there’s no way to recover those costs.

Setting up dozens of non-grantor trusts for those with six-figure plus property taxes can be impractical and burdensome. Plus, those whose taxes are under six figures feel the new cap most acutely, according to Steffi Hafen, a tax and estate planning lawyer at Snell & Wilmer in Orange County, California. Those clients often have monthly mortgage payments that eat up a big chunk of their take-home pay, Hafen said.

More than 10 percent of taxpayers in New Jersey will see a tax hike under the new law – the highest percentage in the U.S. – followed by Maryland and the District of Columbia at 9.4 percent, 8.6 percent in California and 8.3 percent in New York, according to an analysis earlier this year by the Tax Policy Center. Those who’ll pay more are mostly being affected by the state and local tax deduction limit.

Mark Germain, founder of Beacon Wealth Management in Hackensack, New Jersey, said the strategy is “absolutely viable,” adding that he has about a dozen clients who want to create non-grantor trusts.

Building and administering the trusts could cost about $20,000, according to Brad Dillon, a senior wealth planner at Brown Brothers Harriman. But those expenses would be justified after a few years, said Scott Testa, a lawyer who leads the estates and trusts tax practice at Friedman LLP in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Already, it’s unclear just how much longer individuals will be able to take advantage of the loophole. As Bloomberg explains, an existing provision in the US tax code could easily be revived to prohibit Americans from using trusts to avoid paying SALT taxes. Though it would take effort on the IRS’s part.

Still, the Internal Revenue Service could issue guidance that would prevent taxpayers from using the trusts to get around the SALT cap. An existing provision says that multiple non-grantor trusts with identical beneficiaries and identical grantors – and whose primary purpose is to avoid taxes – can potentially be considered a single entity, with just one $10,000 SALT deduction. But the measure has never been bolstered by regulations, leaving it vague.

That IRS provision could potentially derail the whole strategy, Dillon said. But compared to the other workarounds that have been proposed by high-tax states, the non-grantor trust “is the only one that’s come out of the fray that seems like a viable structure,” Dillon said.

Furthermore, people with large mortgages might have difficulty convincing their lender to allow them to transfer ownership over to an LLC.

The strategy isn’t for everybody: People with large mortgages on their homes might not be able to win approval from the bank to transfer ownership to an LLC. Also taxpayers with a primary residence in Florida, which like Alaska doesn’t have an income tax, can’t take advantage of the scheme because of complex rules surrounding the state’s homestead exemption.

But for those who are curious, here’s an in-depth explanation of how the process works:

Here’s how it works: First, you set up an LLC in a no-tax state such as Alaska or Delaware. Then, you transfer fractions of that LLC into multiple non-grantor trusts, which are trusts that are treated as independent taxpayers (unlike grantor trusts, where the person who creates them are generally taxed on the trust income). Each trust can take a deduction up to $10,000 for state and local taxes.

If a spouse is designated as the beneficiary, another “adverse” party – meaning someone who may want the money also — has to approve any distributions.

Keep in mind that you no longer control or can benefit from anything placed in the trust. And you have to put investment assets in the trust that will generate enough income to balance out the $10,000 deduction. One option would be a vacation home that generates rental income, according to Steve Akers, chair of the estate planning committee at Bessemer Trust. Marketable securities could also work.

Some caveats: If the home placed in the non-grantor trust is sold, the trust recognizes the gains on the sale and has to pay taxes on it – and it won’t be able to take advantage of a special home sale exclusion that’s available under a separate tax rule. For those with New York residences, putting the home in the LLC or the trust could potentially trigger the state’s 1 percent mansion tax, which is levied on sales of homes of at least $1 million.

As we pointed out earlier this year (citing research from BAML), the Northeast and West coast – traditionally liberal bastions and, according to some, explicitly targeted by the Trump administration – generally have higher average amounts and will feel most of the pain. The chart below shows a heat map for average amount claimed under SALT deductions, with redder states farther above $10k and greener states below.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018.06.15salt.jpg?itok=I0kc76vc

For those who are still getting up to speed on the new tax law, Goldman offered this guide earlier in the year to the most important provisions. Of course, estate planners aren’t the only ones searching for loopholes. Several blue-state governors have threatened “economic civil war” on Washington by devising loopholes for their residents that will allow them to take advantage of a “charitable” fund being set up by certain states that will essentially allow them to convert some of their taxes into charitable contributions that can still be deducted from their federal tax bill. However, the IRS has already warned states not to try and circumvent the SALT deduction caps. The retaliation has sent state lawmakers scrambling for an alternate solution. As next year’s tax deadline draws closer, expect the conflict between blue states and the federal government to intensify.

Source: ZeroHedge

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The Sources Of Tax Revenue For Every US State, In One Chart

In the aftermath of Trump’s tax reform, which many mostly coastal states complained would cripple state income tax receipts and hurt property prices, S&P offered some good news: in a May 30 report, the rating agency said that “[s]tate policymakers have a lot to cheer,” noting the current slowdown in Medicaid signups and dramatically higher revenue collections, to the tune of 9.4%, are significantly boosting state fiscal positions.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/S%26P%20states.jpg?itok=b_rsP1fm

Still, the agency’s view is that current conditions are “most likely only a temporary respite” (very much the same as what is going on at the federal level) means that the agency is likely to focus on “a state’s financial management and budgetary performance during these ‘good’ times” to determine its “resilience to stress when the economy eventually softens” according to BofA.

To that end, S&P warns that:

“For those [states] that either stumble into political dysfunction or – out of expedience – assume recent trends will persist, this moment of fiscal quiescence could prove to be a mirage.”

For now, however, let the good times roll, and with real GDP growth tracking at 3.8% for 2Q18, state tax receipts should grow at a rate of over 10% based on historical correlation patterns, with the growth continuing at 9% and 8% in Q3 and Q4.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/state%20taxes.jpg?itok=lpbVNyfL

This is good news for states that had expected a sharp decline in receipts, and is especially important for states heavily skewed to the personal income tax since revenue from that source should rise by over 14%, according to BofA calculations.

Finally, the BofA chart below is useful for two reasons, first, it shows the states most reliant on individual income taxes from the Census Bureau’s most recent annual survey of tax statistics. Oregon – at 69.4% of total tax collections – is most reliant on individual income taxes, followed by Virginia (57.7%), New York (57.2%), Massachusetts (52.9%) and California (52.0%). More notably, it shows the full relative breakdown of how states collect revenues, from the Individual income tax-free states such as Florida, Texas, Washington, Tennessee, and Nevada, to the sales tax-free Alaska, Vermont and Oregon, to the severance-tax heavy Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska, and everyone in between: this is how America’s states fund themselves.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/state%20revenue.jpg?itok=PBD-1Mn5
(click here for larger image)

Source: ZeroHedge