The executives of Gettleson, Witzer & O’Connor are hands on with each client with a program of services tailored to their objectives and needs.
Clients can select options that fit their particular circumstances and vary as their needs change. Every client receives customized reports that are delivered with frequent, in-person meetings. The executives take pride in being available 24/7 and serving as a trusted advisor to clients in order to assist them in achieving their financial goals.
Case studies for established entertainers, young entertainers, multi-generational families and entrepreneurs
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- Create a “Professional Structure” for a Young Actor, Writer, or Director
- Provide “Hands-on” Advice and Resources for All Significant Financial Transactions of Clients
- Family Wealth Planning Strategies to Help Maximize Gift Tax Credit Opportunities and Estate Tax Reduction Alternatives
- Insurance Coverage Planning
- Inbound Foreign Entertainers
- Multi-State Tax Consulting
- In-House CFO Services
- House Renovation / Construction Project
Create a “Professional Structure” for a Young Actor, Writer, or Director
- Advise on the optimum tax and legal structure to take advantage of the latest strategies to minimize taxes, maximize pension contributions, and adequately protect the client from liabilities.
- Select the appropriate time to use a “loan-out” company. Once put in place, arrange for a low-cost banking relationship, obtain the proper insurance coverages at attractive premiums, maximize tax deductions utilizing the best tax strategies available, and maintain all tax, corporate, and regulatory filings to properly implement a loan-out company strategy.
- Select the optimum pension-plan strategy to allow for the maximum available pension contribution. Integrate the plan with the guild benefits, where needed. Create an age-appropriate plan that creates long-term security by creating wealth tax-deferred during peak income earning years with a long-term view of having financial resources during retirement.
Provide “Hands-on” Advice and Resources for All Significant Financial Transactions of Clients
- We actively maintain a thorough contact base for vendors of every product and service our clients need. For example, we assist in the purchase of cars, audio-visual systems, computer networks as well as help with travel needs, home repairs, and the purchase of furniture and artwork.
- The purchase of a primary residence, vacation home, or investment property often is the most important financial decision facing a client. We take a very active role in determining the target price level for the property, assisting in the selection, purchase (or sale) negotiations, financing, insuring, and acquisition structuring for the property. Inspection of the prospective property is a must; we organize a team of property, construction, and engineering inspectors to advise our clients on the soundness of the property.
- Today, private air travel is an attractive “perq” used by many of our clients. We are well-versed in all aspects of private-air travel from airplane ownership, long-term leasing alternatives, fractional-ownership and purchased hours options. Our clients also benefit from our private aviation contacts when opting for occasional private charters whether for business, family or vacation travel.
Family Wealth Planning Strategies to Help Maximize Gift Tax Credit Opportunities and Estate Tax Reduction Alternatives
- We advise our clients on various trust, family partnerships, and business structuring alternatives to “shift” family wealth to younger family members using the most creative and tax-efficient options. Our ideas are implemented in a team-approach with our clients legal, financial and trust advisors.
- Our clients have been able to achieve exceptional results using various trust and partnership vehicles to tax-efficiently transfer property and income in the following situations:
Tax-free transfer of an economic interest in a rental property giving the younger family members a significant income stream from the rental income as well as future appreciation in the value of the building. The senior family members retained management control of the building but were able to transfer wealth at no gift or estate tax cost. Utilization of a single pay life insurance policy to transfer substantial wealth without gift or estate tax to younger family members. A life insurance trust vehicle was used to take advantage of the current $5 million gift tax credit.
Use of a specialized trust to shift ownership and future appreciation of the family’s vacation home to younger family members at no gift or estate tax cost. This strategy allowed the family to keep the vacation home for younger family members rather than be forced to sell it to pay estate taxes when the senior family members who owned the property passed away.
A founder of a super-growth technology company used a trust vehicle to transfer shares in the company to friends at no tax-cost. This structure efficiently transferred $10 million of share value since the founders shares appreciated 20x while the shares were held by the trust.
- Our clients also benefit from our advice in structuring investments in ways that benefit all family members. We routinely structure investment vehicles that shift wealth tax-free among family members. For example, we utilize partnership structures to shift income and appreciation among family members both for tax minimization and wealth accumulation purposes.
Insurance Coverage Planning
- We coordinate every type of insurance coverages ranging from property, liability, auto, and personal article coverages for jewelry, fine art and antiques, as well as medical, disability and life insurance coverages. Most of our clients also require distinct personal and professional coverages to provide adequate protection individually as well as for the income earning activities personally as well as through their business entities.
- Our insurance expertise and services are coordinated with insurance sales professionals. We help select the type of coverages (e.g., term life insurance v. permanent options), the implementation needs once a policy is selected (e.g., the disability definition in a disability policy) or the level of coverages (e.g., the amount of umbrella personal liability coverage).
- Clients’ insurance payments are maintained through our office so they are made timely and properly. We also assist with claims when the need arises.
Inbound Foreign Entertainers
- Advise on the optimum tax and legal structure to minimize taxes, adequately protect the client from liabilities, and minimize costs
- Assist in establishing a banking relationship for not only a checking account but also in obtaining ATM/Debit card and credit card
- Assist in obtaining the proper insurance coverage at attractive premiums
- Provide tax consultation advice on what expenses are tax deductible and assist in establishing a method of proper documentation
- Provide tax compliance services for all local, state and federal regulatory and tax filings
- Assist in obtaining a social security number or tax identification number when appropriate
- Assist in setting up and establishing a “loan-out” company in the jurisdiction that will help minimize state tax costs
Knowing the various tax treaties that exist is critical to minimizing US taxation for inbound foreign entertainers. For example, for one inbound foreign entertainer we were able to establish a “closer ties and connection” to the entertainer’s home country and treat the person as a non-resident for US tax purposes and therefore not subject the person to tax in the U.S. on their worldwide income.
Multi-State Tax Consulting
- Each state taxes individuals and entities, such as corporations, differently. States also have different rates of tax. It is important to know how each state taxes not only its residents but how the state taxes non-residents.
- We have extensive experience in multi-state taxation as throughout the years our clients have performed services in all 50 states.
- Varying states also have different rules on how they tax athletes. Some states use the "duty days" method and some states use the "games played" method. Knowing the proper method for the particular state can provide a substantial tax savings for an athlete.
- For US persons, depending on your state of residence, state credits may be available for taxes paid to a non-resident state.
- Proper multi-state tax planning can provide substantial tax savings to individuals and entities. This includes the determination of state of residency for tax purposes. For example, we were able to assist an entertainer client in establishing residency in a state with no tax on individuals. The client was scheduled to film outside the US for an extended period of time. By establishing residency in a non-tax state, the client was able to save over $1M in state taxes over the period of time they were filming outside the US.
In-House CFO Services
Many small businesses face significant challenges in reaching the proper cost and staffing model for their accounting needs. Entertainment production companies and venture backed start-up entities often lack the resources to properly maintain the check-writing, record keeping and tax compliance functions in a small company environment.
We have created a program to serve as the in-house CFO for firms seeking a solution to their accounting needs. The company relies on our firm to serve as its accounting department.
- Through our in-house CFO program, we assist with preparing company budgets, billing for services, preparing payroll, review and monitoring of insurance, designing medical insurance plans, administering and reporting of pension plans, etc.
- For entertainment production companies, we apply our many years of experience in specialized accounting needs for operating film and television production entities. We understand and facilitate project financing, production budgeting and most importantly navigating the complex revenue collection sources when the projects are released. Many of our clients prefer the off-site confidential manner that our in-house CFO services maintain accounting information.
- The company receives monthly reports comparing budgeted to actual results and we meet regularly with clients so that we may assist them in using timely accounting information in running their businesses.
- We also prepare look forward projections and budgets that allow the company to plan out up to five years. We refine these each year as circumstances change, but this gives our clients a proactive view of their current landscape and how it will affect them going forward.
- Many outside investors favor the use of outside advisors for accounting in a start-up scenario. Management receives accurate, timely, and customized accounting information with less interference in their daily business. Investors are better assured of accounting quality and procedures used to protect their investment. The company has a dependable accounting system at a cost lower than hiring staff for an internal accounting function.
House Renovation / Construction Project
The construction or renovation of your home is often an extremely rewarding yet frustrating experience. We ease the pain for our clients by using our years of experience with project oversight.
- We assist in building and coordinating a qualified team of professionals (i.e., architects, engineers, designers, contractors, construction managers, etc.) to meet our clients goals and objectives to ultimately ensure that the project is a success.
- Our clients are guided through a complete budget process that identifies all of the costs involved so that we can appropriately plan and manage the cash needs for the project. Our services track the budget by reviewing each pay application and invoice to ensure accuracy and appropriateness in terms of timing and percentage/quality of billing. The goal is to keep the project on-time and on-budget.
- During construction, we serve as the liaison to the general contractor and the other professionals on the project. Periodic construction meetings are coordinated by us to identify issues that may impact the project. From these meetings, we keep our clients apprised of project progress and new details of issues that could cause cost-changes or time delays as they become available.
- Changes are an inevitable reality of any construction project. We help our clients analyze the scope, the cost and options that are available before a change is implemented.
- Further, we work with the contractor to set reasonable timing for completion of the changes, as well as to dig into the pricing for the change to make sure the change is at a fair cost.