Crypto Estate Planning • Ivy League Tax • Amazon Merchants

This is a weekend roundup of Bloomberg Tax Insights, which are written by practitioners featuring expert analysis on current issues in tax practice and policy. The articles featured here represent just a handful of the many Insights published each week. For a full archive of articles, browse by jurisdiction at Daily Tax Report, Daily Tax Report: State, and Daily Tax Report: International.

This week we hear about the OECD and investment managers; how to include cryptocurrency in an estate plan; the differences between qualified opportunity funds and traditional investment funds; the excise tax on some private colleges and universities; and Amazon’s South Carolina sales tax bill. We’ll hear from:

  • Ceinwen Rees and Rhiannon Kinghall Were of Macfarlanes on how the OECD’s digital economy work program affects investment managers
  • Michelle Gitlitz, Mark Shayne, Sean Weissbart, and Jennifer Zegel on how to pass on cryptocurrency after death and what to do if there isn’t a plan
  • Lisa Zarlenga and John Cobb from Steptoe & Johnson LLP on how to navigate the qualified opportunity zone rules
  • Preston Quesenberry and Randall Thomas of KPMG LLP on the hard questions left unanswered in the college endowment excise tax guidance
  • Robert Willens on Amazon’s liability for South Carolina sales tax on products sold by its third-party merchants

Photographer: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

In a two-part article, Ceinwen Rees and Rhiannon Kinghall Were of Macfarlanes look at the proposals in the OECD program for taxation in the digital economy, with particular focus on the implications for investment managers, and respond to some of the most frequently asked questions. Read: OECD Work Programme—the Wider Implications (Part 1) and OECD Work Programme—the Wider Implications (Part 2)

Traditional estate planning and administration must be revised and adapted to the digital age. Michelle Gitlitz of Crowell & Moring LLP, Mark Shayne of Empire Valuation Consultants LLC, Sean Weissbart of Blank Rome LLP, and Jennifer Zegel of Kleinbard LLC walk through how to include digital assets in an estate plan and what can be done when the holder of such assets dies without making any provisions. Read: What To Know About Estate Planning for Digital Assets

The opportunity zone program continues to generate both excitement and consternation for investors and their advisers. Lisa Zarlenga and John Cobb of Steptoe & Johnson LLP provide an overview of the requirements under the program rules and look at some of the solutions to work within the requirements of the statute and proposed regulations. Read: Navigating Opportunity Zones—Making the Myriad of Legal Requirements Work in Practice

The 2017 tax law added an excise tax on certain private colleges and universities with large endowments. With the first payment due in November, the institutions and their advisers have been hoping for guidance on how to calculate the tax. In a two-part article Preston Quesenberry and Randall Thomas of KPMG LLP analyze proposed regulations but find they provide little guidance. Read: The University Excise Tax and Net Investment Income—Proposed Regulations Dodge the Hard Questions (Part 1) and The University Excise Tax and Net Investment Income—Proposed Regulations Dodge the Hard Questions (Part 2)

Amazon failed to convince a South Carolina court that it wasn’t obligated to collect sales tax on products sold on its site by third-party merchants during a three-month period prior to the Wayfair decision. Robert Willens walks through Amazon’s arguments and the court’s reasoning. Read: Amazon Owes South Carolina Sales Tax on ‘Merchant’ Sales

From the Archive

Bloomberg Tax contributors have been keeping up with the developments in the opportunity zone program and highlighting the positive aspects of the program along with the unanswered questions.

After two rounds of proposed opportunity zone regulations, investors and their advisers had a better idea—but not a full picture—of how the program will work. Trey Webb of Bennett Thrasher walked through what was explained and the remaining uncertainties.

The opportunity zone program continues to present challenges in addition to opportunities for would-be investors. Bradley Borden of Brooklyn Law School and Duval & Stachenfeld LLP highlighted the difficulties in investing gain from property used in a trade or business in a qualified opportunity fund under the latest round of proposed regulations.

Beyond Tax

What’s happening outside the world of tax?

The Business Roundtable, responding to cultural changes, has broadened its statement of what the purpose of a corporation should be. Tucker Ellis attorneys Tod Northman and Savannah Fox explain that this won’t require directors to disregard their legal duties owed to shareholders, only that the path to profit will change. Read: Shareholders to Stakeholders—The Business Roundtable Wants to Expand a Corporation’s Purpose

Gift cards are popular gifts, but retailers and banks alike seek legal advice on the myriad of rules and regulations surrounding their use. Katten attorneys say keeping up with it all is like a game of “whack-a-mole” and offer pointers for compliance. Read: Gift Cards—The Gift That Keeps Giving … to Lawyers

Exclusive Content for Bloomberg Tax Subscribers

(*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax log in will be required to read the following content.)

While many of the dangers of international commerce—such as shipwrecks and pirates—have diminished, the constant risk of taxation (and the related thrill of sneaking past tax collectors) has continued throughout the years. Still, there is a lot more cross-border commerce these days, and that means more instances of taxation and more individuals and companies potentially exposed to it. John Harrington of Dentons provides some guidance as to how taxpayers should approach cross-border tax disputes and the options and choices they face in resolving such disputes.

Bloomberg Tax Insights articles are written by experienced practitioners, academics, and policy experts discussing developments and current issues in taxation. To contribute please contact Erin McManus at

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