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.

Real Estate

My new real estate website [Insider Properties] is LIVE!!!

I am so excited to announced my new Real Estate Website [www.InsiderProperties.biz].  It took me awhile to put them together. Please go check it out and let me know what you think!!!

And the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pg/InsiderProperties  Please go click LIKE and Share!!! 🙂

I started my real estate career back in 2006 with my now ex-husband specializing in Eichler Homes with Keller Williams Realty – Silicon Valley office in Campbell which was before the subprime loan crisis and the economy meltdown.  Our partnership was ended in 2015.  So I decided to do something new – worked as a New Homes Sales Host for new builders around the bay area and I learned quite a few things about the new homes developments and the builders.  Meanwhile, I was also doing what I am gifted, the architectural photography, getting assignments from architects, interior designers, magazines and others.  However, I think it’s time to come back to what I know well, the second hand real estate market, and back to the brokerage where I started, the Keller Williams Realty in Campbell.

KWSV treated me well when I was a brand new agent, they provide good education and really help me to become a good and ethical agent.  I really appreciated and I like KW’s culture and philosophy plus it’s a diverse office which is what I feel comfortable. If you just passed your real estate salesperson license and looking for a good brokerage to work, we should talk.

So, if you or you know anyone in your circle who is looking to buy, sell, invest in the Bay Area residential real estate, please contact me and I will make sure they are been taking care of.  I always treat people the way I want to be treated.  Since I am nice, I want to work with nice people too. :p

Keller Williams Realty is an American international real estate franchise with headquarters in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1983 by Gary Keller and Joe Williams, it grew from a single office in Austin to approximately 700 offices and as of November 2016 with over 150,000 associates worldwide.[2] It is the largest real estate franchise by agent count in the World, and one of the largest privately held global residential real estate brokerages.[1] It is an Inc. 5000 company and has been recognized as one of the highest rated real estate companies by numerous publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine[3] and Forbes.[4]

The company published the nationally bestselling Millionaire Real Estate series and The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. They have sold more than a million books worldwide.

Keller Williams Realty is involved in many charitable causes both as a franchisor and with individual franchisee offices. It operates a charitable arm known as KW Cares which is a nonprofit organization set up to assist associates of the company and their families deal with hardships and emergencies.[21] Examples of giving include providing assistance to help fight serious illness or recover from a life altering accident. The organization also donates to various other nonprofits including the Ryan’s Well FoundationHomes For Our Troops, and the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.[22]

Beginning in 2009, Keller Williams Realty began organizing a one-day yearly event where all associates spend a day away from the office donating their time to their local communities.[23] Known among the associates as RED Day (Renew, Energize, and Donate), all Keller Williams offices shut down for the event.[24] Since its inception, associates have been involved with projects that include rebuilding homes, hosting blood drives, giving to local food shelters, and refurbishing local parks.[24][25]

 

Real Estate

Homeowner Insurance Policy and Home Warranty

如果你買房是付現金, 你就不需要買Homeowner Insurance (屋主保險保單), 因為這是貸款公司, 為了保障他們借給你的錢, 所做的要求. 不過貸款公司的最低要求, 也不過是保一個Hazard Insurance, 只是多數的屋主都會加買, 來保護他們最貴的資產和避免可能的風險, 畢竟, 這就是保險的功能啊.

Homeowner Policy 包含二大類: Property (房屋相關) Coverage and Liability (責任相關) Coverage.

[1] Property (房屋相關) Coverage 的理賠項目包括下面幾類,

  • dwelling (主要房屋),
  • attached structures (增建部分或與主屋相連的車庫),
  • detached structures (主屋不相連的車庫, 倉庫, 圍牆, 加建房),
  • personal property (傢俱, 家電, 衣服鞋子, 珠寶, 運動器材等等個人財物), and
  • loss of use of the dwelling (房屋因故暫時無法居住而需要外宿).

Policy coverage for property insurance is written to cover either the Replacement Values or Actual Cash Value of the building.

  • Replacement Values (重建價值) – for the amount it will cost to rebuild or replace lost or damage property with new property of like kind and quality in the local market. 以當時物價蓋一棟類似規模和品質的房子所需要的費用來計算.
  • Actual Cash Value (實質現金價值) – at the depreciated value of the loss which means the amount paid is equal to today’s cost to replace the structure minus depreciation. 以當時實價扣掉折舊貶值的價值.

Trees, plants, and shrubs are also covered besides when demanded by wind or disease.  樹木, 植物和灌木也都理賠, 除了是因風或疾病造成的損失.

[2] Liability (責任相關) Coverage 的理賠項目包括下面幾類,

  • Personal Liability Coverage (個人責任保險): it covers the homeowner’s legal liability for loss or damage to real and personal property of others as the result of his or her negligent act or omissions.  It may also cover injuries or damages done by a member of the family or pets. The loss or damage must be caused by a covered peril (including loss of use).  The homeowner may be held responsible for the damages caused.  Most homeowner’s policy provide a minimum of $100,000 in personal liability coverage. If more protection is needed, a personal liability umbrella policy can be purchased as well.  如果有第三者在你家因故受傷或個人財物受損, 都可理賠, 多數的屋主的保險提供基本十萬塊的賠償金額, 如果需要更高的金額, 可以加保.
  • No-Fault Medical Coverage (Medical Payments to Others) 無過失醫療保險: The homeowners policy provides for the payment of reasonable medical expenses for people who are accidentally injured on the property regardless whether the homeowner is legally responsible  However, it doesn’t cover the people who lives there so it’s not a substitute for health insurance. 第三者在你家因故受傷的合理醫療費用都有給付, 不論是不是你造成的, 但不給付住在屋子裡的人, 所以這不是替代醫療保險的方式.

哪些情況發生會理賠? 哪些情況則不理賠呢?

“Peril” is a cause of loss.  An insurance policy uses the term “peril” to explain what risks the insurance contract will cover or exclude.

通常會理賠的情況如下,

  • Fire 火災
  • Lighting 打雷閃電
  • Smoke damage 煙霧
  • Windstorm or hail 刮大風或下冰雹
  • Explosion 爆炸
  • Breakage of glass 玻璃破碎
  • Falling objects 東西墜落
  • Theft, vandalism, and malicious mischief 竊盜, 破壞行為和惡意的惡作劇
  • Damage from or within vehicles 汽車造成的損失
  • Aircraft 飛行器
  • Sudden & accidental water damage (exclude water backup, foundation or slow leaks) 突然和意外的水損失,, 但不包括因堵塞造成的水位回升, 或緩慢的漏水
  • Weight of ice, snow, sleet 冰, 雪, 雨夾雪的重量
  • Riot or civil commotion 騷亂或內亂
  • Volcanic eruption 火山爆發

不理賠的情況如下,

  • Mold 霉
  • Flood 淹水
  • Water damage cause by seepage or leaks 因水滲漏引起的損失
  • Neglect, wear and tear, or maintenance 忽視, 磨損或維護
  • Termites, insects, rats or mice 白蟻, 昆蟲或老鼠
  • Tidal wave 海嘯
  • Losses to house vacant for 60 days or more 房屋空置六十天以上所造成的損失
  • Insurrection, war or nuclear hazard 叛亂, 戰爭或核災
  • Earthquake or earth movement 地震

Endorsements (背書): is a rider attached to a lender’s or an owner’s policy to expand or limit the policy coverage. 是附加在解款銀行或屋主保單上, 以加大或縮小保單的承保範圍.

  • Inflation Guard Endorsement (通貨膨脹)
  • Building Code Upgrade Endorsement 建築代碼升級
  • Water Damage (to include water backup, foundation or slow leaks)  包括因堵塞造成的水位回升, 或緩慢的漏水的損失
  • Flood Insurance* (註一)  (水災險) – covers structural damage, damage to furnace, water heater, and AC; flood debris clean up and the replacement of floor surfaces.
  • Earthquake Insurance (地震險) – usually doesn’t not cover anything that the homeowners policy already covers.

Home Warranty is NOT an insurance policy.  It’s a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company that provides repairs and replacement services for things like plumbing, heating, electrical systems, and malfunctions of major appliances 房屋保固不是一個保險單. 它是一個屋主和房屋保固公司之間 提供有關排水管線, 暖氣, 電線系統和主要電器故障的維修合約.

 

註一: 2017年8月25日德州歷經颱風哈維 (Hurricane Harvey) 嚴重淹水所造成的損失慘重, 70%的住家因為沒有洪災險而無法得到保險理賠.

 

 

Investments

Income Tax vs Capital Gain Tax

在美國的稅法上, 我們有二種所得來源:

  1. 普通收入 (Ordinary Income) – 包括工作得來的工資, 從生意上得到的盈餘, 租金, 來自定存, 政府或公司債卷的利息. 多數市政債卷的利息收入是免繳聯邦所得稅.
  2. 實現資本收益 (Realized capital gain) – 來自房地產或股票/基金, 因買賣所賺得的獲利. 如果持有時間短於一年, 則視為短期資本收益; 若超過一年, 則視為長期資本收益. 短期資本收益的稅率使用與普通收入同樣的稅率徵稅, 而長期收益則得到較低稅率的優惠. 股息則使用長期資本收益的較低稅率來徵稅.

而這二種所得來源的稅率並不一樣.

普通收入的聯邦稅率為10% to 39.6%, 相較於長期實現資本收益的聯邦稅率為0 to 20%. 這也是為什麼巴菲特有一次公開說到, 他付的稅率比他的秘書還低, 因為所得來源不同, 用的稅率也不同.

所以各位要想辦法減少普通收入, 增加投資收入 (投資股票/基金/房地產), 開設退休帳戶和Health Saving Account, 或使用1031 Exchange的方式, 來合法節稅.

另外, 美國國稅局允許納稅人每年每人可贈與$13000給不同人, 而不用繳贈與稅, 如果你不想繳資本收益的稅, 可以考慮將已增值的資產, 贈與所得稅率較低的家人, 若被贈與的人選擇在當年將資產售出, 將以被贈與人的稅率打稅, 而不是贈與人. 但這方法不適用24歲以下的小孩或學生.

Deal of the week

[Fixer upper] 1067 Mango Ave, Sunnyvale, 94087


(Google Map photo)

(ML81670788) 三房一衛, 1161 sqft living space on 6000 sqft lot, Cherry Chase neighborhood in Sunnyvale, 在屋況不錯的情況下, 市價大概起碼有$1.5M, 但因為屋況不甚理想 (看Listing上面agent用的照片就可以知道), 可以住人啦, 因為裡面之前是有住人的, 但是可能不是你我願意住進去的屋況就是了. 之所以起價低 ($1.3M), 也是希望能拿到Multiple Offers, 藉此推高最後的成交價.  房子對面是個學校和公園, 這點有利有弊, 上下課的時候車子很多, 但是視野景觀不錯.  我覺得是一個Fixer Upper的好機會, 因為你可以按照自己的風格下去裝潢, 弄好後的市價馬上就抬高, 但是地價稅可以維持在你的買價, 馬上就有增值, 也挺好的啊.  好像明天收Offers耶??!!

Sold for $1.6M.