News

Are Gift Tax Changes Coming?

News, Quarterly Market Perspectives
gift tax changes may affect your financial gifting strategies

Some tax advisers are worried that the “golden age of gifting” may be ending soon after 2020. The phrase “tax exempt gifting” refers to the different tax status of lifetime gifts (gift taxes are only based on the gift amount received) compared to inheritances (where the full value of the transfer at death is subject to the estate tax, if any, including the funds which will be used to pay the estate tax). The three tiers of tax-exempt gifting, in order of importance, begin with the $15,000 annual exclusion gift to anyone, which is always tax free and also paperwork free, if the spousal consent is not sought.

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Nonprofit Benefits African Women

News, Quarterly Market Perspectives
Julie Phippen begins nonprofit that benefits African women

Julie Phippen, an Executive Administrative Assistant at Agawam Trust and Management Company (an affiliate providing estate and trust administration services for Woodstock), noticed a need while traveling in Zimbabwe and ended up establishing a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to meet that need. Sewpportive Friends began in 2016 with the mission of empowering women in Africa by providing healthy, handmade feminine care products and the education to enable women to produce their own. Just as a small pebble tossed into a pond sends out far-reaching ripples, Sewpportive Friends has expanded to touch more lives in the US and Africa.

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Woodstock Welcomes Ben Dawson

News
Strong analytics drive my investment decisions

Woodstock Corporation, a private wealth management and financial services firm based in Boston, MA, welcomes Benjamin G. Dawson as a senior vice president and portfolio manager. Dawson is rejoining Woodstock after 22 years as a co-founder and managing director of the registered investment advisory firm Alpha Windward LLC, where he led the Blue Chip Growth investment strategy, which focused on building portfolios of growth-oriented companies with sustainable growth rates, strategic competitive advantages, and leadership positions. “Ben’s approach very much echoes the Woodstock philosophy. We’re looking forward to comparing notes and working together for the benefit of all our clients,” says Adrian G. Davies, President, Woodstock Corporation.

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A Perspective on Volatility

Evergreen Q4 2020, News
volatility is something that long-term investors can weather and survive

We feel we should be clear: there is volatility to be worried about. An article on “accounting for survivorship”[1] sought to explain the survivorship bias in looking at US international dominance when measuring “country-specific real equity market returns” from 1900 to 2019. As the Morningstar article points out, in 1900 the United Kingdom dominated the world equity market with a 25% share, while Germany, France and the United States held roughly 15% shares each. As we pointed out last quarter (see QMP Summer 2020), by 2020 the United States accounted for almost 55% of the world equity market itself. The authors of the article rightly point out that for equity markets in Germany, Russia and Japan, “being on the losing side of a world war or two, the overthrowing of capitalism or just prolonged poor market performance would have wiped out the capital investors.” Certainly.

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Pandemic Ripple Effects & Covid

Evergreen Q4 2020, News
Pandemic Ripple Effects & Covid - consumers with adequate resources felt empowered to spend

US equity markets had a good third quarter (+8.9%) despite a rough (-3.8%) month of September. July and August were strong, driven primarily by the notion that much of our economy can function even with part of it disabled by a pandemic. Many of the same stocks that drove the market in April, May and June continued their strong performance, though the highest flyers suffered more in September. Volatility was up in September, with 17 of the 21 trading days showing a spread between the daily high and low of greater than 1%; two of those days had a spread in excess of 3 percent.

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Tax Update Fall 2020 Considerations

Evergreen Q4 2020, News
tax deductions, tax credits and other benefits

Will the Tax Bite Ease?

The day-to-day quest to lower the bite of taxes continues. Examination rates for the IRS now defy logic. For all individual returns the examination rate for tax year 2018 was 0.15 percent.[1]  For income over $100,000, progressing by categories to income over $10 million, the examination rate varied from 0.05% to 0.03% annually. This is where the money is. For incomes of zero, yes, that’s right, zero, the examination rate was 0.31 percent. Fraud, particularly regarding the earned income tax credit (EITC), causes the focus. Using the tax code for social engineering rather than collecting money does skew the system. Some other things require attention, but don’t get it.

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US Shines in World Market

Evergreen Q3 2020, News
US share of world market cap has climbed back to 50 percent

Sometimes investment professionals offer this rather generic description of how they work: “we’re not market timers.” The kernel of truth is that it is very hard to make two good decisions regarding first, when to get out of the market and then second, when to get back in. Some stocks in the growth category are secular growth stocks, where “innovation can carry companies to growth almost independently of the economic or business cycle.”[1] On the other hand, value stocks, besides needing those two above-mentioned good decisions, “need an economic outlook conceptual framework over a multi-year forward time period to begin positing economic growth.”[2]

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One Part of Growth Investing

Evergreen Q3 2020, News
put good companies with a growth bias into client portfolios

Sometimes investment professionals offer this rather generic description of how they work: “we’re not market timers.” The kernel of truth is that it is very hard to make two good decisions regarding first, when to get out of the market and then second, when to get back in. Some stocks in the growth category are secular growth stocks, where “innovation can carry companies to growth almost independently of the economic or business cycle.”[1] On the other hand, value stocks, besides needing those two above-mentioned good decisions, “need an economic outlook conceptual framework over a multi-year forward time period to begin positing economic growth.”[2]

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How Will the Recovery Look?

Evergreen Q3 2020, News
economically sensitive stocks are likely to rebound the most

The S&P 500 Index performed a most spectacular “V” in the first half of 2020, first falling 33.9% through its March 23rd low, then rallying 38.6% through mid-year. This performance included the steepest plunge and the fastest rally in 90 years.[1] The wild ride left the market still down 8.4% from its February all-time high and down 4% from the beginning of the year. The index returned 20% in the second quarter. Stocks rallied, anticipating a treatment for COVID-19 and an economic recovery turbocharged by both fiscal and monetary stimulus.

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Tax Update Summer 2020 Considerations

Evergreen Q3 2020, News
Tax Update summer 2020 working from home

Remote Work and “Domicile”

If you and your family are handling estate tax planning by living in a low-tax state, then you’re familiar with “domicile,” the determination of a taxpayer’s true “home.” If your business operates in more than one state, then you are familiar with the term “nexus,” which can trigger state taxes depending on an evaluation of sales, physical location of offices, or even location of employees (“payroll”).

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