GiftLaw Pro Description
GiftLaw Pro is a comprehensive charitable giving and tax information service. It is included with Crescendo Pro, Crescendo Estate and Crescendo Lite. Just one click moves the user into an extraordinarily comprehensive, yet user-friendly gift planning reference.
GiftLaw Pro is updated each quarter. The many changes that occur in gift planning are updated. All of the latest private letter rulings, revenue rulings, code and regulations, Tax Court cases and other key gift planning materials are included. As donors continue to make larger gifts and both financial professionals and gift planners acquire greater expertise, it is essential to be up to date on these latest changes coming from Washington. GiftLaw Pro, the GiftLaw weekly eNewsletter and the semiannual GiftLaw Satellite Teleconferences are redefining the definition of service to philanthropy by providing timely and current gift planning tax updates.
GiftLaw Pro includes several chapters, with over 100 subchapters on all of the important gift planning topics. Each subchapter includes links to the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, private letter rulings, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, Tax Court cases, Court of Appeals cases and Supreme Court cases. Over 4,000 links enable the user to quickly move anywhere within the thousands of pages of documents. A comprehensive index and a full text search capability provide unparalleled power to find any information quickly and easily.
Chapters and Subchapters
The principal text material in GiftLaw Pro is divided into chapters and subchapters. Each subchapter has seven basic sections. These are the table of contents, a text explanation, examples, case studies, private letter rulings, related topics and a quiz.
Table of Contents
At the beginning of each chapter is a Table of Contents. This Table of Contents is in a blue box and highlights the paragraph headings for the subchapter. If the cursor is placed over a title, that title changes color to deep red. This indicates that the title is a link. By clicking on that title, it is then possible to jump to the selected topic.
The body of each subchapter includes several paragraphs of text explanation. The text discusses the specific topics for that chapter. Within the text explanation are references to the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, private letter rulings and Tax Court cases. These will appear in light blue. Once again, when the cursor is placed over one of these light blue tax references, the color changes to a deep red. This indicates that the link may be selected by clicking on it. Merely click on the selected code, regulation, Tax Court case or other document and GiftLaw Pro will immediately load the selected document.
Many of the topics relate to specific gift plans, such as a gift annuity, unitrust or annuity trust. Examples are in a yellow box within the body of text. The examples explain how an individual might use a particular gift plan to achieve his or her objectives. The examples may all be further studied by running similar information in the current version of Crescendo software.
At the lower portion of each subchapter is a tan box with one or more case studies. Titles for the case studies are in blue and there is also explanatory text for each case study. Once again, if the mouse is placed over the title, it changes to a deep red. Clicking on the title will load the selected case study.
Private Letter Rulings
At the lower portion of the subchapter is a yellow box that may make reference to one or more private letter rulings. If any private letter rulings are relevant to the subchapter topic, they are included in this yellow box. Once again, the blue highlighted title is a link to the ruling. Click on the blue highlighted title to view the private letter ruling.
A helpful characteristic of GiftLaw Pro is the ability to view other topics and materials that are related to this subchapter. Related topics will normally include other subchapters. They also may include various cases and tax documents that discuss the content of the subchapter. To move to a related subchapter or document, click on the blue highlighted title.
It is always good to test your understanding of the gift planning topics in the subchapter. There is a quiz button to the left of the related topics box or a quiz label in the yellow oval just below the related topics box. By selecting the quiz button or oval, the user may take a ten-question true/false test on the material in the subchapter.
GiftLaw Pro contains over 150 case studies covering a wide range of charitable gift planning topics.
Each case starts with the background, which typically describes a hypothetical individual and the circumstances surrounding his or her planning issue. While the names and circumstances have been changed, the cases are all based on actual donors and the challenges they faced.
The second section of each case study poses the question. Each donor has one or more goals. How can we help that person reach his or her objectives?
The third section of the case study gives the solution, which includes a discussion of the method and the relevant tax sections to reach the donor's objectives.
Finally, there is a related topics box. This may direct the user back to one or more GiftLaw Pro subchapters that offer further guidance in the area.
Private Letter Rulings
Private letter rulings may not be used as a precedent in a court of law. However, they are helpful indications of the position of the Internal Revenue Service on different tax issues. GiftLaw Pro features over 200 private letter rulings that are useful in understanding the operation of charitable tax law.
Each private letter ruling starts with a GiftLaw note that discusses the issues and rationale of the ruling. It is an explanation, in more readable English, of the Treasury language within the private letter ruling.
The body of the letter ruling as issued by the Internal Revenue Service follows, usually in a fairly typical format. The Service states the facts, quotes both the Internal Revenue Code and the Treasury Regulations, and then determines the issue for or against the taxpayer. At the end of each private letter ruling is a blue box with the related topics. Merely click on the blue title for each related topic to load that document.
Many Tax Court cases, Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court cases define aspects of charitable tax law. GiftLaw Pro includes cases that are helpful in understanding charitable tax issues.
At the top of each case is a GiftLaw note with a description of the issues and the holding of the case. It is generally a concise analysis of the case and the impact of charitable tax law on this particular decision.
The body of the case follows. Depending upon the court and the judge, the case may be rather lengthy. At the end of the case are footnotes for that case. Following the footnotes is a blue related topics box listing the GiftLaw Pro subchapters that relate to the case. Click on any blue title to load the related document.
A quiz is an excellent way to check your understanding of a GiftLaw Pro subchapter. After reading the topics and paragraphs in the subchapter, select the quiz button at the lower left or base of the subchapter to load a 10-question true/false quiz.
Read each question carefully and select true or false. After selecting all of your answers, click the "Show Answers" button at the bottom of the 10-question form. The answers will appear under each question in a yellow box. In addition, the number that you have correctly answered will be displayed at the bottom of the exam. By the way, the information is not recorded or sent to anyone else. This score is merely for your personal review.
Internal Revenue Code and Regulations
Many sections of the Internal Revenue Code and Regulations apply to charitable gift planning. When the user clicks on a blue "sec." or "reg." to select the desired section of the Code or Regulations, the document will be loaded. Since there are many subsections to both the code and regulations, the program may jump to the applicable paragraph as soon as the document is loaded. After the document is loaded, the user may use the scroll bar on the right to move within the document.
The top section of the Code and Regulations includes a blue table of contents box listing the key sections and their titles. If the GiftLaw Pro user clicks on one of these titles, GiftLaw Pro will move to the appropriate subparagraph.
The many examples within the regulations will be displayed in a yellow box. In addition, the various subsections of the regulations are indented, so that the regulations are easier to read.