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April 3, 2012
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Brought to you by the American Institute of CPAs

  Top Story 
  • CPAs can help clients form wealth-management teams
    CPAs can develop new business opportunities by advising their clients on the formation of wealth-management teams, write Lewis Altfest, CPA/PFS, and Walter Primoff, CPA/PFS. CPAs are well-situated to assist clients in assembling a personal-financial team consisting of lawyers, insurance experts and others. Clients who understand the value of the service will also be willing to pay for it. Primoff and Altfest also provide information on billing for these services and due-diligence questions to ask other professionals. Journal of Accountancy (4/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why CPAs make excellent financial advisers
    Scott Floersheim, CPA/PFS, writes about how CPAs can build long-lasting relationships with their clients by offering financial-planning services. "There are a multitude of financial planning decisions where you can bring unique value to the client relationship" by optimizing tax decisions, he writes. If you are unable to provide financial planning yourself, you can still assist your clients in finding a planner who will serve their best interests. CPA Insider (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry News and Trends 
  • Health care mandates include Medicare tax, provider requirements
    As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of requiring individuals to buy insurance, it also must consider whether that mandate differs from others that already exist, experts say. Taxpayers must pay a Medicare tax even if they don't have insurance, and hospitals must pay for indigent emergency care. Other mandates pertain to what insurers must cover. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (4/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Do clients really need a single fiduciary duty?
    Clients shouldn't go to a stockbroker for financial advice for the same reason shoppers shouldn't seek diet advice from a butcher, Michael Kitces writes. Holding brokers to a fiduciary standard would miss the point because brokers serve a different role than advisers do. The solution is to "draw a clearer distinction between who is a fiduciary advice-giver and who is a product salesperson," he writes. Advisers -- not salespeople -- should be "the only people who hold themselves out as advice-givers." Nerd's Eye View blog (3/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Estate & Elder Planning 
  • Domestic asset-protection trusts come with risks, lawyer says
    Some high-net-worth clients are turning to domestic asset-protection trusts to shield assets from creditors. However, advisers should be aware of the legal complexity of DAPTs and the risk they pose in some situations, says Jim Duggan. Advisers need to be aware of criteria necessary for these structures to be valid and understand five principal concerns before implementing a DAPT. AdvisorOne (3/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Life changes give boomers a reason to reflect on estate plans
    Baby boomers should take the time to review their estate plans to ensure they've taken into account significant life changes, Deborah Jacobs writes. New relationships, new property and an empty nest are just some of the factors that could come into play when rethinking an estate plan. Boomers should also start thinking about their legacies, and how they can use their financial resources to achieve certain meaningful goals. Forbes (3/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Retirement, Investment & Insurance Planning 
  • 4 things to consider when choosing between IRAs
    Michael Kitces provides four factors that can help determine whether a client should choose a traditional or a Roth IRA. One of the most important considerations is future tax rates. A Roth IRA can turn into a "wealth destroyer" if tax rates fall significantly, Kitces writes. The AICPA PFP Division has compiled resources to assist PFP/PFS members with Roth IRA conversion planning at Nerd's Eye View blog (3/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Tax Topix 
  • Tax case illustrates intricacies of 529 distributions
    A recent tax case demonstrates why clients should consult with an adviser before making decisions about distributions or rollovers from their 529 plans. An individual who withdrew funds from his children's 529 accounts incurred a tax liability, even though he returned the funds to the accounts without cashing or depositing the distribution checks. The Tax Court held that the withdrawals were nonqualified distributions and that returning the checks did not constitute a rollover, even if they weren't cashed or deposited. Morningstar Advisor (3/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Republicans mull pre-election tax battle
    House Republicans are considering scheduling a pending battle over tax cuts before Election Day. GOP leaders want to extend Bush-era tax cuts and prevent the lapse of capital gains, stock dividend and estate tax provisions. An election-season tax fight would allow the party to underscore its commitment to lower taxes, leaders say. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (3/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  You and Your Practice 
  • What advisers should know about partner buyouts
    Having a self-funding buyout plan can be critical for ensuring a smooth transition when a partner retires from a firm, this article states. Failing to plan for a buyout can lead to higher costs, lower payouts and a decrease in business. In some situations it can even force a firm into a merger. Firms that are facing the retirement of multiple partners may also consider placing a cap on payments to safeguard finances. Journal of Accountancy (4/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Survey: Performance and job satisfaction go hand in hand
    A firm's performance has a big effect on advisers' job satisfaction, according to a survey by J.D. Power. Firm performance was the No. 1 factor contributing to how advisers felt about their jobs. Advisers whose firms provided administrative and technological support were also more satisfied because they could spend more time with clients, the survey found. Financial Advisor online (3/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  • March/April Planner available
    The March/April 2012 issue of Planner is now available. Don't miss this issue's articles, including: New Cost Basis Rules for Mutual Funds, What You Need to Know About Your Client's Homeowners Policies, Discover the Best Practice Management Ideas, CPA/PFS Profile: Karen Goodfriend, Presentation of 2011 PFP Distinguished Service Award, and PFP News and Calendar of Events. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • PFS Exam Review Web Class -- PFP Section members save $100!
    In six segments, the PFS Exam Review Web Class will help you understand the technical foundation of the personal financial planning discipline and prepare you for the Personal Financial Specialist Examination. For your convenience, these six segments will be broadcast live two times. You have the option to select the time that's most convenient for you. Plus, you'll have access to the archive -- after the event is broadcast -- so you can use these video segments as a reference tool to help you study for the PFS Exam. Watch all six segments and receive 15 hours of CPE. Purchase the PFS Exam in the same order, and receive a 10% discount on your order. Additionally, qualify for a PFS Exam Sponsorship to further offset the cost. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AICPA Conference on Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual
    The AICPA Conference on Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual (April 30 and May 1 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas) features two intensive days of interaction led by an all-star cast of experts and thought leaders offering the most up-to-date tax strategies, tips and solutions to successfully manage your high-income client's planning needs. Register today and reserve your spot at the premier nationwide event! PFP/PFS members save an additional $100 off the AICPA member price. Purchase the conference and four preconference workshops together online and save 5% automatically at checkout. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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One is never more on trial than in the moment of excessive good fortune."
--Lew Wallace,
American general, statesman, lawyer and author

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About the PFP Section
The AICPA's Personal Financial Planning Section is the premier provider of information, tools, advocacy and guidance for CPAs who specialize in providing estate, tax, retirement, risk management and investment planning and advice to their individuals and closely held entities. The PFP Section’s primary objective is to support its members by providing resources that enable them to perform valuable personal financial planning services in the highest professional manner. Members of this section broaden their technical expertise, improve their professional competence and receive resources to deliver high-quality, profitable PFP services. All AICPA members, generally, are eligible to join the PFP Section.
About the PFS Credential
The Personal Financial Specialist credential distinguishes CPAs as having demonstrated that they have the subject matter expertise and experience necessary to deliver financial planning services of the highest, as well as the CPA's traditional hallmarks of uncompromising objectivity, integrity and adherence to the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct. CPA/PFS credential holders demonstrate their expertise through financial planning education, experience and testing.

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