Recent Publications

Year End Planning Tip: 3.8% Surtax on Investment Income

As the end of 2013 draws near, taxpayers should consider the effect of the new 3.8% surtax on investment income. >>

Reminder to File Gift (and GST) Tax Returns by October 15, 2013

If you made gifts in calendar year 2012 that should be reported on a federal gift tax return (Form 709) and you extended the deadline to file your gift tax return, the deadline to submit a timely-filed return is October 15, 2013. >>



Rebecca E. Whitacre

Associate

Dallas


2323 Victory Avenue
Suite 700
Dallas, Texas 75219
T +1 214.651.5112
F +1 214.200.0404

Areas of Practice

Education

  • J.D., Texas Tech University School of Law, 2007, summa cum laude; Editor in Chief, Texas Tech Law Review; Order of the Coif; Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Delta Phi; ALI-ABA Scholarship & Leadership Award.
  • B.A., English, Baylor University, 2004, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 2007

Languages

  • English
  • Spanish
Rebecca E. Whitacre

Rebecca (Becca) Whitacre is an associate in the Business Planning and Tax Practice Group in the Dallas office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. Her areas of practice include wealth preservation and estate planning, estate and trust administration and taxation, and charitable organizations.

Becca's practice focuses on the following:

  • Planning and drafting estate planning documents and assisting clients in planning for both large and small estates, including wills, trusts, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, family limited partnerships, charitable organizations, and various other estate planning techniques.
  • Family wealth planning and preservation, including the use of strategies to minimize estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
  • Assisting clients with the establishment of tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private family foundations, supporting organizations, performing arts and cultural groups, churches and religious organizations, amateur athletic organizations, social welfare organizations, business leagues, and international aid organizations.
  • Advising clients regarding the administration and taxation of tax-exempt organizations, including issues regarding unrelated business taxable income (or "UBTI"); grant-making and distributions; internal governance; self-dealing, prohibited transactions, and intermediate sanctions; reorganization or merger; international activities; and employer-sponsored scholarship and emergency/disaster relief funds.
  • Administering trusts and estates of decedents.

Recent Publications and Speeches

  • "Estate Planning Issues for Senior Adults," Generations Event at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, July 26, 2013.
  • "Trends in Trust Law," co-presenter with John Collins and Jill Starr, Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, November 14, 2011.
  • "The Carrot and Stick Approach: In Terrorem Clauses in Texas Jurisprudence," 43 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1127 (2011).
  • "Basic Estate Planning Considerations for Senior Adults," Mosaic Conference, Lake Brownwood, Texas, September 19, 2009.
  • "Fiduciary Considerations, Formation, and Operation of 501(c)(3) and (c)(6) Organizations," Texas Alliance of Paralegal Associations, April 4, 2008.
  • "The Heartbeat of Texas Children: The Role of Court-Appointed Special Advocates in the Wake of the 2005 Family Code Amendments," 38 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1065 (2006).

Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas - Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section
  • Dallas Bar Association - Probate, Trusts, and Estates Section
  • Dallas Estate Planning Council
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation Fellows - Lifetime Fellow, Grant Committee
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers - Mentoring Committee
  • Texas Young Lawyers Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Baylor University Women's Council
  • Board of Directors for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Dallas County Affiliate - Member At Large (2012); Board Secretary - Executive Committee (2013)

Online Publications

11/20/2013 - Year End Planning Tip: 3.8% Surtax on Investment Income
As the end of 2013 draws near, taxpayers should consider the effect of the new 3.8% surtax on investment income.

09/16/2013 - Reminder to File Gift (and GST) Tax Returns by October 15, 2013
If you made gifts in calendar year 2012 that should be reported on a federal gift tax return (Form 709) and you extended the deadline to file your gift tax return, the deadline to submit a timely-filed return is October 15, 2013.

04/09/2013 - Transfers in 2012 and Future Years
This alert outlines the gift tax return requirement for 2012 transactions and the use of "defined value" gifts and sales.

01/09/2013 - The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: Congress Finally Acts - Good News/Bad News for Estate Planning
After all of the sand had run out of the hourglass, Congress finally passed (and the President signed) a compromise tax bill to avoid very substantial income tax increases on taxpayers with income under $400,000 ($450,000 for joint filers).

02/16/2012 - Effective Ways to Use Gift Tax Exemption
Most of our clients are aware that Congress dramatically increased the individual gift tax exemption from $1,000,000 to $5,120,000 in 2012, and that the exemption is scheduled to revert to $1,000,000 on January 1, 2013 unless Congress takes some action. If this reduction in the gift tax exemption occurs, clients may lose an opportunity to remove a substantial amount of assets from their estates, and, with it, the opportunity to reduce estate taxes payable by their children.

12/19/2011 - ’Tis the Season for LP/LLC Year-End Planning
This alert includes a list of year-end administrative issues for Texas limited partnerships and limited liability companies (“LP/LLC”).

12/15/2011 - Tax Planning for a Happy Holiday Season
As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to consider actions that may lower your tax bill this year and possibly next year.

11/15/2011 - Rumor Has It: Speculation on Changes to Federal Gift Tax Exemptions
The Congressional Super Committee (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) continues to meet in Washington, D.C., with the goal of reducing the country’s deficit through program cuts and revenue increases. There have been several unsubstantiated rumors regarding proposed changes to the estate and gift tax laws.

06/08/2011 - Increased Gift Exemption - New Opportunities?
This alert outlines opportunities for maximizing the gift tax exemption in 2011 and 2012.

06/02/2011 - IRS Focusing on Unrelated Business Taxable Income
The IRS has apparently increased its focus on unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) of tax-exempt organizations. At a conference last month, IRS officials indicated they are looking closely at UBTI in all contexts with respect to exempt organizations, including conducting a long-term study on college and university treatment of UBTI.

03/07/2011 - IRS Initiatives on the Horizon for Tax-Exempt Organizations in 2011
The Exempt Organizations Office (“EO”) of the IRS recently released a list of 2011 initiatives, including international activities and compliance. This alert outlines some of these items.

02/08/2011 - Estate and Gift Taxes in 2011 - New Planning Opportunities
The last minute compromise which averted the expiration of the Bush tax cuts included a two-year modification of the estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. 

01/24/2011 - Increased Filing Threshold for Form 990-N
In prior years, certain tax-exempt organizations whose gross receipts did not normally exceed $25,000 were exempt from filing the standard Form 990. Now, this threshold is $50,000, and for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2010, such organizations must submit a Form 990-N “e-Postcard” annually (rather than the Form 990-EZ or Form 990 required of larger organizations).

01/19/2011 - Long-Term Residents - Taxed for Going Home
Marriage has become as globalized as business today. When one spouse is a non-citizen, moving the couple's residence outside the U.S. or losing permanent resident status can have significant income tax and gift tax consequences.

12/13/2010 - FLASH - December 9 Senate Estate Tax Proposal, Part II
If the generation-skipping transfer tax (“GST tax”) provisions of the proposed Tax Bill remain unchanged, the most significant year-end tax planning opportunity is the ability to make gifts to trusts for grandchildren and great-grandchildren without imposition of the GST tax and without utilizing any of your GST tax exemption.

12/10/2010 - FLASH - December 9 Senate Estate Tax Proposal
The Senate introduced an amendment to the House Tax Bill on December 9, 2010 that makes significant changes in estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax rules for this year (2010), and for the next two years. This alert outlines the most significant estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax features of the Tax Bill.

12/09/2010 - Year-End Limited Partnership/Limited Liability Company Administrative Considerations
This alert lists a number of administrative and compliance issues for Texas limited partnerships or limited liability companies (“LP/LLC”) that you might consider as December 31 approaches.

12/08/2010 - Do You Know Which 990 to File for 2010…And Will You Have the Necessary Information?
Those who have filed – or at least reviewed – the “new” Form 990 since it was revised in 2008 are well aware of its comprehensive nature.

11/29/2010 - 2010 Tax Planning - to Gift or not to Gift
As 2010 is nearing an end, there are several gift options to consider. Lower interest rates, depressed values and lower gift tax risk make gifts or sales to younger generations more attractive in 2010.

10/06/2010 - Traps for the Unwary - The Risks of Fundraising
Charitable fundraising activities in multiple states - and even in multiple cities, municipalities, and counties within Texas - can potentially create a compliance risk. Although not regulated by the IRS, many state and/or local authorities have adopted charitable solicitation registration and reporting requirements. In addition, the revised Form 990 requires a disclosure regarding compliance with state rules.

08/25/2010 - Traps for the Unwary - Tips to Ensure Enforceability of Charitable Pledges
When a donor attempts to cancel or withdraw from a charitable pledge, many organizations choose not to enforce the pledge in the spirit of donor and public relations. However, it is important to understand that charitable pledges can be legally enforceable obligations. This alert provides a summary of Texas law regarding enforceability of pledges.

07/29/2010 - One-Time Filing Relief for Failure to File Forms 990
Small organizations at risk of losing their tax-exempt status for failure to file annual returns for 2007-2009 (including the Form 990-N or “e-Postcard,” required for organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less) can maintain their tax-exempt status by filing returns by October 15, 2010.

05/03/2010 - Traps for the Unwary - Loans to Directors and Officers
With increased scrutiny and regulation by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service, it is becoming more important for non-profits to focus on compliance with both federal and state rules.

04/01/2010 - Elimination of Advance Ruling Process for Public Charities
Although the regulations eliminating the advance ruling process have been in place since the end of 2008, we continue to receive questions from public charity clients regarding the need to prove public support after an organization’s first five tax years.

03/18/2010 - Warning: Trusts in Texas May Be Subject To Texas Franchise Tax!
The Texas franchise tax (also known as the “margin tax”) is so expansive that it can apply to private trusts administered in Texas.

03/09/2010 - Texas Business Organizations Code Now Applicable to Non-Profit Corporations
The Texas Business Organizations Code (the “TBOC”) – enacted in 2003 and generally effective January 1, 2006 – combined the laws found in a number of Texas statutes (including the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act and the Texas Unincorporated Non-Profit Association Act), standardized filing requirements and fees for Texas entities, made other substantive changes, and implemented new terminology.

02/17/2010 - Issues on the IRS Horizon for Tax-Exempt Organizations in 2010
As the tax-exempt environment continues to become increasingly complex and focused on compliance and governance, it becomes more important to be aware of issues significant to the IRS. We have highlighted below a few of the issues on the IRS’ radar for 2010.

01/11/2010 - Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Tax Confusion
The transfer tax situation for 2010 could hardly be more confusing. This alert summarizes issues related to making transfers to children or grandchildren in the current tax environment.

12/22/2009 - Year-End Limited Partnership/Limited Liability Company Administrative Considerations
Here is a compiled list of administrative issues for owners of Texas limited partnerships or limited liability companies (“LP/LLC”) to consider as December 31 approaches. Although some of these issues are not necessarily time-sensitive, year-end is a good time to consider whether your entity is in compliance with state and federal requirements.

12/17/2009 - Tax Planning for a Happy New Year
As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to consider actions that may lower your tax bill this year and possibly next year as well. Year-end tax planning could be especially beneficial this year because several tax breaks will not be around next year unless Congress acts to extend them.

11/03/2009 - 2010 Conversion of a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA
Currently, only taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less (who are not married filing separately) may convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Beginning January 1, 2010, the $100,000 limitation will be eliminated, and all taxpayers (including married taxpayers filing a separate return) may make such a conversion.

10/29/2009 - Estate Tax Uncertainty Continues
With nine weeks left in 2009, the fate of the federal estate tax remains unsettled. If Congress does not act before 2010, the estate tax will be repealed for one year (the gift tax continues in effect with the current $1,000,000 exemption), then the estate tax will be restored on January 1, 2011 with a $1,000,000 per taxpayer exemption and a top marginal rate of 55% (except for estates between $10,000,000 and about $20,000,000, with a top marginal rate of 60%).

10/27/2009 - Rollovers of 2009 Required Minimum Distributions
This alert provides updated information on requirements for 2009 required minimum distributions (RMDs) from IRAs and qualified defined contribution plans, including 401(k) plans.

07/31/2009 - Traps for the Unwary in the Non-Profit Sector - Fundraising
With increased scrutiny and regulation by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service, it is becoming more important for non-profits to focus on compliance with both federal and state rules, including those regulating fundraising and solicitation. Whether conducting a raffle, holding galas or other events, or soliciting corporate sponsorships, seemingly ordinary fundraising activities can raise a number of tax and legal issues.

06/18/2009 - Congressional Climate: Estate Tax Rates, Short-Term GRATs, and FLP Discounts
While we still have not seen a serious proposal to make major changes to the federal estate tax exemption and rates, pending proposals would prohibit short-term grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRATs”) and reduce or eliminate certain valuation discounts on transfers of minority interests in closely-held entities, such as family limited partnerships (“FLPs”).

04/16/2009 - Proposed Changes to Federal Estate Tax Laws
This alert from Haynes and Boone's Private Client Group lawyers provides an overview of two proposed changes to federal estate tax laws: the Baucus Bill and an amendment to President Obama's budget plan.

02/18/2009 - House Bill Attacks Valuation Discounts for Family Entities
Under current law, when an individual transfers a minority interest in a closely-held entity, appraisers often apply significant discounts to the value of the business because there is no readily available market to sell the interest and the owner has no control over the entity (including when and if distributions are made). An estate tax bill was recently introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 436, Pomeroy (D-ND)) that would restrict estate and gift tax benefits associated with closely-held entities, including family limited partnerships (“FLPs”).

02/13/2009 - Required Minimum Distributions Suspended for 2009
Congress has temporarily suspended the law requiring minimum distributions from IRAs and qualified defined contribution plans, including 401(k) plans (the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (the “Act”)). The Act suspends for one year (2009) the tax on individuals age 70½ and older who do not take the required minimum distributions from these retirement accounts.

12/15/2008 - Year End Tax Planning for a Happy Holiday Season
As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to consider actions that may lower your income tax bill this year and possibly next year as well. 2008 year-end tax planning is a bigger challenge than usual due to the substantial declines in the stock market, the difficult economic climate, and the possibility of tax legislation next year. However, Congress has enacted a series of tax laws that could benefit most taxpayers in 2008.

10/27/2008 - Charitable Contributions from IRAs Under the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008
Congress finally acted to extend a number of individual tax benefits that expired at the end of 2007, including the opportunity to make direct, non-taxable transfers from an individual retirement account (“IRA”) to certain charities.

10/07/2008 - Deferred Compensation Elections & Refund of Taxes Paid on Sale of Demutualized Insurance Company Stock
This Alert discusses several issues which may be of interest to you. First, the Alert discusses a rule permitting employees who previously made deferred compensation elections to change their elections prior to January 1, 2009. The Alert also discusses the receipt of insurance company stock due to demutualization of a "mutually owned" insurance company.

04/01/2008 - Estate Tax Reform Update
It is only 21 months until the federal estate tax is repealed – for one year – and 33 months from reduction of the estate tax exemption and a 22-33% increase in the estate tax rate. Unless Congress takes action soon, planning for most families with assets exceeding $2 million will continue to be challenging. Below is a brief summary of the current law and a recent update on possible congressional action.

10/31/2007 - New Beneficiary Notice Requirements - How Does This Affect Your Planning?
Prompted by an executor’s alleged misappropriation of funds from several estates, the Texas Legislature recently adopted a requirement that beneficiaries receive notice that a Will has been probated. Previously, only charities and governmental entities were required to receive notice. Now, new Section 128A of the Probate Code directors an executor to notify all Will beneficiaries and, in some cases, Living Trust beneficiaries.