For the week of April 13, 2009
With one less trading day in the week due to the Good Friday holiday, the major markets extended their
rally for a fifth straight week, fueled by Wells Fargo’s announcement that it expected to report a $3 billion
profit for the first quarter. The strength of the rally will be tested this week as quarterly earnings reports
continue, including Dow components JPMorgan, Citigroup and GE, along with Goldman Sachs. In
addition, the Commerce Department will release the March retail sales report on Tuesday, and the Labor
Department will release the March Consumer Price Index on Wednesday. The Dow ended last week up
1.41 percent to 8,083.38. The S&P gained 2.74 percent to close the week at 856.56, and the NASDAQ
rose 3.11 percent to finish the week at 1,652.54.
Source: Morningstar.com. * Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and
cannot be invested into directly. Three and five-year returns are annualized. The S&P, excluding “1 Week”
returns, is a reflection of return to an investor, by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax.
E-filing Jumps – The number of people filing their self-prepared tax returns electronically this year has
jumped 20 percent, according to the IRS. A major driver of e-filing has been the decision by two major
tax preparation software companies to eliminate their $12.95 per return fee for electronic filing.
Congress has set a goal for e-filing of 80 percent of all returns. The IRS predicts e-filing will exceed 60
percent of returns this year. In addition to saving the cost of a stamp, consumers help reduce costs to the
government: It costs the IRS $2.87 on average to process a paper return, compared with 35 cents for an
The Rich Folks – Forty-five percent of the world’s 793 billionaires are Americans. There is one
billionaire worldwide for every 8.5 million people (Source: Forbes, Census Bureau, BTN Research).
Good Month – The S&P 500 gained 8.8 percent (total return) in March 2009, its best monthly
performance since October 2002 when the stock index also gained 8.8 percent. The S&P 500 is an
unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock
market (Source: BTN Research).
Free E-filing for Extensions – Taxpayers wishing to file an extension from their computer can do so at
no cost using the IRS’s FreeFile or FreeFile Fillable Forms. While either FreeFile method for tax returns
is available only to those earning $56,000 or less, free e-filing for extensions is available to anyone,
regardless of income. Taxpayers filing electronically for an extension will receive a confirmation.
Requests, which must be filed by April 15, give the taxpayer until Oct. 15 to file. An estimated 10 million
extension requests are expected during 2009, with about 1.9 million of those made electronically.
WEEKLY FOCUS – The Estate Planning Vortex
Estate planning has never been easy. First, you need to
consider your own situation, including your assets, your
family structure, any special needs your family may have,
any legacy you wish to leave. Second, you need to
account for any number of “what if” scenarios: What if
you die before your spouse, or vice versa? What if you
both die at the same time? What if you die before you
children are grown? Finally, you have to continually
update your plan as your life changes – your family
gains and loses members, your assets grow or suffer
set backs, your career gains momentum or comes to an
A joint House and Senate Committee hopes to remove at
least one uncertainty from the complex estate planning process with revisions to the Economic Growth
and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). Left unchanged, EGTRRA in 2010 repeals both
the federal estate tax and the generation skipping transfer (GST) tax, along with rules that allow those
who inherit assets to set the basis at the current fair market value rather than the value at the date of
purchase. Inherited assets would be valued at the original basis, which is often difficult to determine.
Under the current law, in 2010 estates will receive a $1.3 million credit to increase asset basis generally,
plus $3 million to increase the basis of “qualified spousal property.”
In 2011, the federal estate and GST tax would reset to pre-EGTRRA levels, as would the gift tax. The
maximum estate and gift tax rate would be 55 percent plus a 5 percent surcharge on estates over $10
million, the unified gift and estate tax credit would be $1 million, and the GST would have a flat rate of 55
percent and an exemption of $1,120,000. Should Congress fail to remedy the situation, taxpayers and
tax and estate professionals would face a completely new tax system, including new forms, software and
Now, more than ever, you need to keep close watch on your estate plans. Documents can be structured
to include special provisions in the event that EGTRRA remains intact and the estate tax is repealed in
2010. Strategies such as life insurance or making eligible transfers before the law changes may be
We can work closely with your tax and estate professionals to keep your estate plan in tune with the
changing rules. Call our office to schedule a meeting of your advisor team.
Any tax or legal information provided herein is merely a summary of our understanding and interpretation of some
of the current income tax regulations is not exhaustive, and should not be viewed as tax, legal, or estate planning
advice. Please consult with a qualified tax and/or legal advisor for estate planning information relating to your
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of
the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-
chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common
stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan
Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized
benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies
representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all
dividends. Written by Securities America. SAI# 296736
Copyright © 2010 The Money Alert.com. All rights reserved.
All information herein has been prepared solely for informational purposes, and it is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to
participate in any particular trading strategy. The Money Alert does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any
information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to this web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility. All such information is provided solely for
convenience purposes only. The Money Alert is not affiliated with any of the firms or entities listed unless specifically stated. The Money Alert does not provide investment, tax or legal
advice. Please consult the appropriate professional regarding your personal situation.