Sontag Advisory Blog

Basics of Federal Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer (“GST”) Tax

Posted by Nicole Hart on 18 Apr 2018

The bad news is that there is a Federal tax on assets that you give away during life, at death, and to individuals two or more generations below you. The good news is that this tax will only apply to the wealthiest Americans and, even so, there are strategies you can use to minimize or avoid its application. The Federal estate, gift and GST tax only kicks in above a…


An Unconventional College Savings Account

Posted by Zachary Gering on 18 Apr 2018

If you are looking to set money aside for your child or grandchild’s education you are likely considering a 529 plan, a custodial account, or possibly a trust. Each of those accounts have positive and negative qualities, which my colleague, Eric Dostal, highlighted in a previous blog post. However, there is another account that is a bit unconventional for college expenses – a Roth IRA.

I…


2018 Q1 Investment Letter

Posted by Michael Moriarty on 18 Apr 2018

Key Takeaways 

  • Equity and fixed income markets were both slightly negative in Q1 2018, while alternative managers were slightly positive.
  • Risk and volatility are increasing, so are fixed income yields as the US Treasury issues significantly more debt.

Performance Recap

What a difference a (new) year makes.  With a rise in volatility and headlines about macro and market…


Understanding New York’s Estate Tax “Cliff”

Posted by Nicole Hart on 26 Mar 2018

Understanding New York’s Estate Tax “Cliff”- Revised March 2018

It has been over three years since some dramatic changes were made to New York’s gift and estate tax law. For many clients, the subject of the New York estate tax “cliff” continues to remain a source of confusion. This is for good reason. The New York cliff is not easy to understand, nor is it easy to…


Estate Planning in Light of Tax Reform: Your Questions and Our Answers UPDATED March 2018

Posted by Nicole Hart on 26 Mar 2018

This post will help you unpack some of the estate and gift tax provisions of the 2017 Tax Reform Act, as well as answer some of the most pressing questions raised by the changes.

In a nutshell, what stayed the same and what changed?

One major item that stayed the same is the simple existence of an estate tax. The initial tax reform bill…


CEO Note: 2018 Priorities

Posted by Michael Delgass on 02 Feb 2018

CEO Note: 2018 Priorities

Dear Clients and Friends of the Firm:

I am pleased to report that our firm grew at a healthy, consistent pace in 2017. This was partially driven by the markets, but mainly thanks to a steady stream of client referrals.  We appreciate your trust in us, and there is truly no higher compliment than a referral, so:  Thank You!


2017 Year-End Investment Letter

Posted by Michael Moriarty on 02 Feb 2018

2017 saw a remarkable juxtaposition between 1) headlines around the globe and here in the US presaging very significant political, social and geopolitical risks and 2) investment markets which were universally positive. The schematic in the Appendix provides a nice trip down memory lane for just the political headlines.

Yet despite the above, 2017 marks the first year in memory that the S&P 500 (total return) was…


A Look at the New 20% Pass-Through Income Deduction in Action

Posted by Natalie Truty on 01 Feb 2018

Imagine a successful paper sales company, Dunder Mifflin, Inc. (a C corporation). In 2017, Dunder Mifflin had taxable income of $3MM, resulting in an effective federal corporate tax rate of 34%. In addition, since corporations are double-taxed, distributions will be subject to another layer of tax in the hands of individual shareholders.

Dunder Mifflin’s local competitor, Prince Paper LLC, is a family business owned equally by Mr….


After Tax Reform: What Will Your 1040 Look Like?

Posted by Eric Dostal & Jonathan Berhane on 01 Feb 2018

One of the most extensive tax code overhauls in decades is now law. Below is a brief outline of some of the major changes you may see on your Form 1040 for 2018 (remember these changes have almost no impact on your 2017 return):

Income Tax Rates and Brackets:

The number of income tax brackets remains steady at seven, although some income shifted into…


Tax Reform Update - Considerations Before Year End

Posted by Nicole Hart on 20 Dec 2017

On December 15th, the House and Senate Conference Committee released a Conference Agreement that lays out the final terms of the tax reform bill. The Senate passed a final version of the bill on December 19th, and the House is expected to approve the updated terms sometime today. Once the bill has been finalized, President Trump will sign the bill into law – a move that is expected to happen…