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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 38132
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Please allow Socrateaser to respond to this question. In a

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Please allow Socrateaser to respond to this question. In a previous answer you provided with regards XXXXX XXXXX trusts you said, "Land trusts were common during an era before the information age. Holding property in the name of a trust made it very difficult to ascertain the beneficiaries, which could permit property to avoid scrutiny from tax authorities. Modernly, the IRS will find your proporty, wherever it is." With that, was there a window of time where LT trustees were not required to disclose the identities of the beneficiaries to taxing authorities for transfer, property or even income tax purposes. Or, please expand upon your above answer as to the difficulty involved in tax authorities ascertaining the identities of LT beneficiaries. In this, I'm merely looking for an historic perspective.
With that, was there a window of time where LT trustees were not required to disclose the identities of the beneficiaries to taxing authorities for transfer, property or even income tax purposes.

A: I'm not aware of any period of time when the IRS was ever prohibited from discovering anything about anyone, as long as they could be reached by U.S. law enforcement. If someone told you otherwise, then consider asking them to cite the legal authority for their contention. More than likely, you will hear crickets chirping in the forest.

I don't know what you're trying to accomplish from an asset protection strategy. But, when it comes to real estate, since you can't pick it up and take it with you, it's impossible to protect that asset or the discovery of its owners, from application of a court order, because ultimately, the court can start imposing sanctions against the party until they reveal themselves, and given enough sanctions the subject property could be forfeit.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
"Land trusts were common during an era before the information age. Holding property in the name of a trust made it very difficult to ascertain the beneficiaries, which could permit property to avoid scrutiny from tax authorities(Uncle Sam). Modernly, the IRS will find your property, wherever it is." This is a response you gave me, verbatim, on July 20, 2009 at 3:43 p.m. Please clarify what you meant by this.
I mean that the cost of discovering tax cheats in an era when information was decentralized in counties throughout the USA was prohibitive. IRS auditors have to weigh the cost of enforcement against the likely recovery of unpaid taxes.

Modernly, the IRS can download data from every county in the USA, collate it all and search for discrepancies via computer. A single laptop with a large hard disc can today do what would have requied thousands of employee-hours 50 years ago.
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