Investments, News Articles, Real Estate

2017 Gift Tax Exemption 贈與免稅額度

You may know that Annual gift of $14,000 per person is tax free, meaning anyone can give you $14,000 a year without paying gift tax. This is a good way for parents to transfer their wealth to children start when they are young.

多數人知道美國的年度贈與稅是每人美金一萬四千塊, 這個意思是, 任何一個人每年都可以給你一萬四千塊而不用繳贈與稅, 不論他們是你的祖父母, 父母, 親朋好友, 或是陌生人.

The annual gift tax exclusion is set and stuck at $14,000 since 2013. The $14,000 can be gifted to as many family members/heirs as desired and these gifts do not count toward the lifetime gift exemption.

一萬四千塊的年度贈與免稅金額是在2013年設定, 而這個金額並不與終身贈與免稅算在一起.

But if you need a downpayment help from parents (or anyone), you can use the lifetime exemption that allows for much larger gifts. This is an effective way to receive an inheritance early!

如果你需要一大筆錢當頭期款, 你可以考慮使用終身贈與的金額.

For 2017 the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.49 million per individual. This means a person can leave up to $5.49 million to their family/heirs and they will not be required to pay any federal estate or gift tax.

2017年的終身贈與金額是五百四十九萬美金, 這意思就是你的家人贈與你的金額只要不超過這個數字, 你就不需要負任何聯邦的贈與稅.  這個是比較少人知道的.

Using this method, a donor can give an amount today and declare it against their estate exemption in the future (the donor need to report to IRS but no tax issue for either the donor or you). This allows for receiving an inheritance early to help with Down Payment.

贈與人在年度報稅單上要註明這筆贈與即可. 這對有錢人在生前轉移財產有很大的幫助, 不然等過世了才繼承財產就會有遺產稅 (40%) 要繳.

For 2018, the annual gift tax exclusion is up to $15,000 and the lifetime gift tax exemption is $5.6 million.

Read more: Learning about Gift taxes and What you will need to pay.

News Articles, Real Estate

Microsoft Buys Cilker Family 64.5-Acre Site in San Jose for $73.2MM

By Vladimir Bosanac / The Registry

Landbanking in Silicon Valley is a thing again. In another transaction in San Jose, yet another technology giant is making a big bet and staking a claim in the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley. Redmond-based Microsoft Corporation just acquired the Cilker Family 64.5-acre lot that sits on the corner of State Route 237 and Coyote Creek Trail. The company paid $73.2 million for the property, according to a report by the San Jose Mercury News. Microsoft had been listed as the billing applicant on the proposal to redevelop the project, therefore the ultimate outcome here is of little surprise.

The site today is mostly fallow farmland with some farming structures and three residences. The property’s owner, Cilker Orchards Management Group has submitted a development application to the City of San Jose to potentially construct light industrial and data center facilities on the site.

The project plans propose two development options. The first option is to construct 1.2 million square feet of light industrial space. The second option involves a 436,800 square foot, 49.5 megawatt data center with PG&E energy substation, as well as 738,000 square feet of light industrial. The data center would occupy 26.5 acres while the light industrial use would use the remaining 38 acres. The light industrial component for both options would be similar in terms of use and density. As required by CEQA, proposed alternatives described in the EIR include not pursuing any development, building the data center only, the light industrial only, or a data center with a scaled back light industrial aspect.

Cilker Orchards is a longstanding, family owned commercial real estate developer and property manager with deep roots in the local community. Cilker Orchards was originally founded in 1965 as an agricultural company and is the sole initiator of the present development proposal.

The project is located within the Alviso Master Plan area and is currently designated as Light Industrial under the General Plan and is zoned Agricultural Planned Development. A rezoning to Light Industrial is required for both development options.

The property is just south of the Bay and is surrounded by a mix of office, industrial and commercial uses in other directions, as well as some vacant parcels. Development was initially billed as speculative and no tenants were identified at the time the project was initially proposed to the city, however, Microsoft Corporation was listed as a billing applicant in planning documents.

Phil Mahoney, vice chairman of corporate institutional sales, and John Yandle, executive vice president, who work out of Newmark Cornish & Carey’s Santa Clara office worked on the sale.

New Homes, News Articles, Real Estate

Palo Alto OKs mixed-use project with 17 homes

By KEVIN KELLY | kkelly@bayareanewsgroup.com | Mercury Bay Area News Group  PUBLISHED: September 20, 2017 at 9:19 pm

The Palo Alto City Council approved a mixed-use project Monday night that offers studios and townhouses.

The council unanimously backed a plan to demolish a long-vacant building at 3877 El Camino Real that formerly housed Compadres Bar & Grill and replace it with a 4,027-square-foot commercial building and a mix of 17 two-bedroom townhouses and flats. The vote was 7-0-2; Councilwoman Lydia Kou was absent and Councilman Eric Filseth was away from council chambers when the vote was taken.

The project, by owner Zijin LLC of Saratoga, will offer two deed-restricted affordable units on site that are intended to sell for “no more than 120 percent of median county income,” according to staff.

Asked by the council why the maximum 22 housing units allowed won’t be built, architect Mark Wommack of Palo Alto-based project designer EID Architects said they would all have to be studios to reach that number.

He said the owner was interested in building two-bedroom units to fit the neighborhood and provide homes for families, and felt the project would have also been less attractive if maxed out. Each flat is just over 1,000 square feet and townhouses are about 1,288 square feet.

“You can’t get much smaller at two-bedroom units,” Wommack said, pointing out the project could have provided even fewer housing units and still have met the city’s zoning requirements. “If you would like to see more smaller units, I would strongly suggest you rewrite your zoning rules to reflect that.”

Vice Mayor Liz Kniss agreed, saying, “If they get a lot smaller, you won’t get families and I think the goal in the area is families.”

The 4,027-square-foot, three-story commercial building will contain 1,700 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and six residential flats, one of which will be priced below-market. The 11 townhouses, two stories each, will be situated in five separate buildings along the L-shaped site bounded by El Camino and Curtner Avenue, situated between a Starbucks and Nine Minute Oil & Lube. All 62 parking spaces will be provided in an underground garage.

The council added some conditions before approving the project. The project must maintain the ground floor for retail and personal service uses; the buildings must provide bird-friendly elements such as window shading; and the owner must allow further historical surveying of the old Compadres building, some of which dates back to 1938. The project wasn’t bound by the city’s retail preservation ordinance because it was submitted prior to March 2, 2015. It was submitted Nov. 20, 2014, according to staff.

The existing building is associated with Gonzalo Slivestre, a master blacksmith of ornamental iron. It was studied for possible historical listing but deemed to have no significant value. The building also suffers from a lack of physical integrity. The owner plans to place a historic plaque in the new commercial building, using small ironwork plates from the existing building.

Becky Sanders, who heads the Ventura Neighborhood Association where the project is situated, and resident Jeff Lewinsky spoke at the meeting in opposition to the project, saying it is short on affordable units and will help to drive up housing costs in the city.

 

Education, News Articles

Equifax Data Breach

美國有三家Credit Bureaus (徵信機構),  Equifax, Experian, Trans Union.  Equifax是全美三大徵信機構之一,它有客戶的貸款和信用卡資料,並有相關的決定信用分數的資訊。這次Equifax的資料被竊, 將近1.43億美國人的個人資訊可能被洩露。網路犯罪者能夠獲得包括姓名、社會安全號碼、出生日期、地址和駕照編號在內的資訊。Equifax稱20.9萬美國信用卡用戶的資訊遭到洩露, 居住在英國和加拿大的人也受到影響。

根據維基百科的資料,美國信用監測機構Equifax在7月29日時就發現資料被竊取,9月7日爆發了資料外洩事件;除了1.43億美國居民的資料外洩外,還有一些加拿大人、以及4400萬名英國居民的資料也遭到竊取。被駭走的1.43億美國人民資料,包括姓名、出生日期、社會安全號碼等資訊;這些資料相當於一個人的「身份」被竊取,可以在被重組之後偽造。 巧合的是,在7月底、8月初訊息尚未爆發時,該公司的三位主管出售了手上的股份。

消費者可以通過提交姓氏和社會安全號的後六位來查詢自己是否受到影響。Equifax也將寄送文件給那些受到影響的客戶。
The best defense is to monitor your credit report frequently to check for any suspicious activity, such as accounts you didn’t open, address changes, or anything else that you don’t recognize.  那三家徵信機構每年都提供一份免費的信用報告, 這樣你可以每四個月從其中一家申請信用報告, 來密集監看你的信用狀況.
Kids, News Articles, Volunteer

Club USA Need Your Help

昨天在臉書上看到世界日報的一篇文章, 有關一位自己是第三代華裔, 由康乃爾大學畢業, 連續30多年幫母校面試申請學生的Andrew Young, 因為看到許多華裔孩子因為來自家庭和課業的壓力, 最後選擇自殘或自殺, 他為了防範華裔孩子自殺,幾年前成立社團「CLUB USA」, 關懷曾自殺或是自殺高危險群孩子。今年暑假, Andrew又在中半島租了一戶兩層樓的公寓, 作為孩子們的聚會中心以及緊急的庇護所, 讓那些一時對生命失去熱情的華裔學生, 能有個地方讓他們可以短暫休息後再出發。

我看到這篇文章後, 馬上寫信給Andrew Young, 問他有什麼我可以幫忙的.  我們今天在電話上聊了一個多小時, 聽完了我很心痛, 尤其當中有一個孩子自殺被救回後在病床上跟Andrew說, 因為他知道用自殺是唯一一種可以讓母親很傷心的方法, 讓我不禁納悶, 父母有多不願意聽孩子說他心裡的話, 孩子才必須選擇用這麼激烈的方式來傳達他的想法啊. 雖然我自己沒小孩, 但是我很清楚在美國的這些小孩從小到大的壓力, 也是因為他們都是很聽話的孩子 (我自己是個大人眼中屬叛逆的孩子).

以前科技不發達, 學歷也許是出頭天的唯一方式, 但現今網路發達, 想學什麼有網路就可以學, 就看你想不想學而已, 那學歷還真的是唯一的一條路嗎? 你可以逼孩子唸書, 但這一逼, 到底失去多少珍貴的東西? 遠見這篇 雇人不再看學歷, 希望可以讓大人們好好思考一下.

就像嚴長壽先生在演講上(Youtube 從1:46開始看)直接點出未來教育的趨勢,希望灣區華人社會家長打破用學歷評斷孩子未來的迷思。他說未來世界變化快速,人工智慧發展已是不可逆的現實,未來只有有溫度的服務業,才有可能在未來找到立足的機會。(註 : 這個廣義的服務業, 包括醫生到速食店的服務員都屬服務業。)

嚴先生認為過去的社會讓孩子學習過於專注於「做事」,但是「學習做人」、「懂得生活」同等重要,學做人指的是自己的涵養與面對事情的態度,在自由民主時代更要具備思辨能力,不被龐雜的資訊牽引;嚴董事長同時引用胡適的話,有三個指標可以辨別一個社會是否成熟,包括看他們怎麼「對待女人」、怎麼「教育孩子」、怎麼「規劃下班後的時間」,如果下班後能夠欣賞音樂、舞蹈、戲劇、美術,才叫做懂得生活。

嚴董事長期許年輕人了解未來世界的四個趨勢 :

1. 不要做Me, too 的產品,要找到自己的特色,成為「唯一」、成為「獨一」。也因此年輕人不可以再用現有的方式學習,現有的方式思考。

2. 學好中文與英文很重要,因爲中國與美國是未來兩個重要的經濟體。英文尤其重要,因為很多重要的文獻都是用英文發表,年輕人不要讓語言成為學習的障礙。

3. 除了「學術」能力外,還需要具備「藝術」與「技術」兩項能力,缺一不可,同時具備也可避免思考單一。

4. 培養自己4C能力 (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking),因為真實的社會沒有一件事是依靠個人之力即可完成,因此要懂得與人合作、懂得溝通並表達自己、懂得思考與辯證不被他人駕馭、並多多透過親身參以豐富自己的體驗並激發創意。

最後,嚴先生分享成功秘訣,他認為投入工作時要有「Vision」、「Mission」 與 「Passion」。視野是要靠很多成功與失敗經驗的累積而養成,在找到自己的方向後,就要以無比救藥的熱忱、鍥而不捨的決心向前邁進,最終定能走向成功 。

– – – – –

Andrew Young說他需要錢, 他打算透過幾個方式, 試圖從政府那裡得來一些經費, 才有辦法多成立幾個Club USA, 因為美國其他州也有幾個城市是華裔移民集中的區, 也有許多華裔學生有相同的問題; 我則建議不要低估民間私人的捐款, 平常我就常見朋友間各式各樣的募款活動, 每個人有能力多少捐一些, 積少成多也不無幫助, 所以我提議幫他做一個影片.

他跟我說, 那些高危險群的華裔孩子的父母不會願意讓他們上鏡頭, 因為這在華人文化裡是一個丟臉的事, 我說, 那就找同樣是華裔, 歷經過那種壓力, 但並沒有自殘或自殺的孩子, 一樣可以提供一些心路歷程, 可以讓影片更有說服力.

如果你, 或是你的孩子, 是正在Cupertino or Palo Alto 高中唸書或已經從Cupertino or Palo Alto 高中畢業的嗎? 我想看看灣區朋友們有沒有人願意談談他們的經驗, 也許他們可以站在他們的角度來幫助, 鼓勵正在經歷的人.  不想露臉沒關係, 我可以模糊你們的臉或者只拍你的下半身, 因為說話的聲音才是主角.

如果大家都選擇默不作聲, 只因為不想找麻煩, 或者認為這是丟臉的事, 難道要一直看自己的孩子, 或朋友的孩子 一直自殘和自殺嗎?  別忘了, 我沒有小孩, 這件事我可以不要參與, 我只是在乎, 每一條生命都應該被尊重和珍惜.

有沒有華人教會願意讓Andrew Young去做說明和募款? 我聽說教會朋友都很熱心??

請跟我聯絡!!!! 也請幫我 “轉貼/Share” 出去, 讓更多人知道這些華裔孩子需要幫助. 有錢的出錢, 有力的出力. 一起幫助我們的下一代.

如果你的孩子需要Andrew Young的幫助, 請直接聯絡他 415.258.2872.

在台灣的孩子的自殺率, 似乎也在增加中, 剛好看到這篇遠見的文章 “想自殺的孩子怎麼了?”  是由一位美國認證心理諮商師的台灣人所寫, 文章中說, 在美國與台灣,自殺都是青少年前三大死因之一。在美國,每一年約有三十多個12歲以下的孩子自殺,目前年紀最輕的個案,是在2009年,佛羅里達州一位6歲的小女孩,在房間裡上吊結束自己的生命。