Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 1, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page B:4




Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 1, 2014 



Many homeowners are still facing mortgage 
default, and while the best bet is to contact your 
lender directly, there are tempting advertisements 
out there for companies that claim they can solve 
your financial crisis. Fraud is rampant, so look out 
for the following warning signs. 

 First, don’t believe the hype when you hear, 
“We’ll stop the auction!” or, “Debt eliminated, 
guaranteed!” If it sounds too good to be true, it is! 

You should be suspicious of any company that 
tries to gain your trust by imitating a government 
agency. They may (illegally) publish government 
logos and names, or even copy the look of an 
official website, so pay attention to the details. 

 Back out of any deal that requires you to pay 
any fees upfront. There is no need to pay anyone to 
modify your mortgage terms, because your lender, 
and only your lender, can do that. 

 Most importantly, do not make mortgage 
payments to anyone but your lender. If a person 
or company presents you with an official looking 
statement that indicates payments should now be 
made to them, don’t walk – run for the door, and 
call the Better Business Bureau. 

 By working directly with your lender, you may 
be able to modify your loan terms, or agree to a 
pay-off through a “short sale” listing. Please heed 
this advice from an experienced professional.


A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision changes the 
way inherited IRAs are viewed when it comes to 
bankruptcy, which means those who inherit these 
retirement account assets must find new ways to 
protect that inheritance.

 In Clark v. Rameker, Heidi Heffron-Clark 
inherited an IRA from her mother. She received 
distributions from that inherited IRA for several 
years before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ms. 
Heffron-Clark relied on the Bankruptcy Code, 
which states that IRAs are exempt up to $1.245 
million from bankruptcy, to claim her inherited 
IRA qualified for the retirement account 

 In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court 
disagreed, distinguishing inherited IRAs from 
other IRAs established by an individual for his or 
her own retirement. Because the beneficiary of an 
inherited IRA cannot make contributions to that 
IRA, an inherited IRA does not provide any tax 
incentives, which is an important purpose of other 
IRAs. Since the beneficiary of an inherited IRA has 
different rules for taking distributions than other 
IRA owners, this also establishes inherited IRAs 
as different from other IRAs. These differences, 
the Court reasoned, are enough to disqualify an 
inherited IRA from qualifying for the federal 
bankruptcy exemption.

 Even though some states offer protection for 
inherited IRAs in bankruptcy, a move to another 
state that does not offer this protection can 
endanger inherited IRA assets. IRA owners who 
wish to provide their heirs with valuable protection 
should consider naming a trust as beneficiary of 
IRA assets instead of heirs, who could instead be 
designated as beneficiaries of that trust.

 The Court did not address spousal inherited 
IRA beneficiaries; however, since a spouse is 
allowed to roll over an inherited IRA into his 
or her own account, this may qualify a spousal 
inherited IRA for the bankruptcy exemption for 
retirement funds.

 Keep this in mind as you plan for the safe, 
successful transfer of your assets to the next 

 To you family’s health, wealth, 
and happiness,


 A local attorney, father, and CASA volunteer 
(Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children), 
Marc Garlett is on a mission to help parents protect 
what they love most. His office is located at 49 S. 
Baldwin Ave., Ste. G, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. 
Call 626.355.4000 to schedule an appointment 


 Marketing can be tricky. It’s part art and part 
science. A good marketing strategy starts with the 
right questions. Who is the target audience? What 
tools and strategies will reach the right audience? 
What’s the message and what is the call to action? 
How do you measure success? 

 The art of marketing is experimenting, 
creating, reviewing and refining. The science of 
marketing monitors behavior, metrics and proven 
strategies. Where art and science merge is where 
the action is best. It’s where a targeted customer 
takes action on some type of content that caught 
their attention. This concept of marketing hasn’t 
changed much but the tools we use have reshaped 
the delivery method.

 Social Media Tools have revolutionized the 
way we communicate. The problem is that we are 
all competing for eyeballs on these tools. Content 
needs to be simple now so that it can be consumed 
in 2-3 seconds. The creative needs to stop traffic. 
Graphics, photos, videos and headlines are an 
important part of the formula. 

 About MJ: MJ and her brother David own 
HUTdogs, a creative services business that 
specializes in Internet Marketing strategies and 
Social Media. They offer social media management 
services and help their clients build a strong on-line 
presence. “Like” them on Facebook for trending 
news in social media, internet marketing and other 
helpful tips,

Sign up for their upcoming classes, webinars and 
presentations at:




WASHINGTON — For tax year 2015, the 
Internal Revenue Service announced today 
annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax 
provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and 
other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2014-61 
provides details about these annual adjustments. 
The tax items for tax year 2015 of greatest interest 
to most taxpayers include the following dollar 
amounts -

• The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles 
whose income exceeds $413,200 ($464,850 for 
married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from 
$406,750 and $457,600, respectively. The other 
marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent 
– and the related income tax thresholds are 
described in the revenue procedure. 
• The standard deduction rises to $6,300 
for singles and married persons filing separate 
returns and $12,600 for married couples filing 
jointly, up from $6,200 and $12,400, respectively, 
for tax year 2014. The standard deduction for 
heads of household rises to $9,250, up from $9,100. 
• The limitation for itemized deductions to 
be claimed on tax year 2015 returns of individuals 
begins with incomes of $258,250 or more 
($309,900 for married couples filing jointly). 
• The personal exemption for tax year 
2015 rises to $4,000, up from the 2014 exemption 
of $3,950. However, the exemption is subject to a 
phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes 
of $258,250 ($309,900 for married couples filing 
jointly). It phases out completely at $380,750 
($432,400 for married couples filing jointly.) 
• The Alternative Minimum Tax 
exemption amount for tax year 2015 is $53,600 
($83,400, for married couples filing jointly). The 
2014 exemption amount was $52,800 ($82,100 for 
married couples filing jointly). 
• The 2015 maximum Earned Income 
Credit amount is $6,242 for taxpayers filing jointly 
who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from 
a total of $6,143 for tax year 2014. The revenue 
procedure has a table providing maximum credit 
amounts for other categories, income thresholds 
and phaseouts. 
• Estates of decedents who die during 2015 
have a basic exclusion amount of $5,430,000, up 
from a total of $5,340,000 for estates of decedents 
who died in 2014. 
• For 2015, the exclusion from tax on a gift 
to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen is $147,000, up 
from $145,000 for 2014. 
• For 2015, the foreign earned income 
exclusion breaks the six-figure mark, rising to 
$100,800, up from $99,200 for 2014. 
• The annual exclusion for gifts remains at 
$14,000 for 2015. 
• The annual dollar limit on employee 
contributions to employer-sponsored healthcare 
flexible spending arrangements (FSA) rises to 
$2,550, up $50 dollars from the amount for 2014. 
• Under the small business health care tax 
credit, the maximum credit is phased out based 
on the employer’s number of full-time equivalent 
employees in excess of 10 and the employer’s 
average annual wages in excess of $25,800 for tax 
year 2015, up from $25,400 for 2014. 

 By: Cynthia Kurtz, CEO - SGVEP

It is election season and most voters have heard 
advertisements for or against the ballot measures and 
still have no idea what some of the measures actually do. 
We complain that voter turnout is low yet ads that are 
intended to influence our votes treat us like simpletons.

 The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership has 
studied four important propositions on the November 4 
ballot. Here are our recommendations:

 Proposition 1 - the Water Bond. Because of the 
drought, this may be the best known of the propositions. 
It would provide $7.5 billion for water projects. While it 
doesn’t increase water supplies to address our current 
shortage, it provides much needed resources to relieve 
future droughts. And there will be droughts in the future.

 Proposition 1 will help projects that capture and store 
water when it is available and make better use of sources 
such as recycling, reuse and storm-water. It includes 
money for flood control and Delta levees. Every time a 
levee fails, there is a risk that salt water intrusion will 
make the water supplies for Central Valley famers and 
Southern California unusable. The Partnership urges a 
Yes vote on Proposition 1.

 Proposition 2 - the ”Rainy Day Fund.” Businesses 
and families know they need to have reserves to see 
them through emergencies or dips in revenues. Our 
state budget is heavily dependent on income taxes and 
one-half of income tax revenue comes from one percent 
of the wealthiest Californians. That makes for a volatile 
budget and the need for the state to have reserves too. The 
Partnership urges a Yes vote on Prop 2.

 Proposition 45 - Insurance Company Rates. Prop 45 
would give the state Insurance Commissioner authority 
over health premium rate increases. California recently 
gave the authority to negotiate rates to Covered CA 
- the state’s health insurance pool. There is plenty of 
mudslinging with supporters claiming 35 states require 
an insurance commissioner to approve rate increases. 
Opponents counter we haven’t tried the system we just 

 Everyone agrees that passage of Prop 45 will cost 
consumers money but supporters say it amounts to only a 
few million per year. A million here a million there - you 
know it adds up. If the current system doesn’t work, then 
we can fix it. The Partnership urges a No vote on Prop 45.

 Proposition 46 - Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Cap and 
Drug Testing of Doctors. This proposition is misleading 
in so many ways. You hear ”lawsuit cap” and think that 
is a good thing. Prop 46 INCREASES the malpractice 
payment cap from $250,000 to $1.1 million. That will 
increase malpractice insurance rates and guess who pays 
for that - we do in our health insurance rates.

 The random testing of doctors is included to 
camouflage the goal of increasing law suits. Proposition 
backers - mostly trail lawyers - admit the provision was 
included because it polled well. The Partnership urges a 
No vote on Proposition 46.

 Remember to vote on November 4. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: