By Devon Sharpe, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Have you filed your taxes? I haven’t, but I am more prepared to file them after this week’s topics. This blog will discuss the final week’s topics briefly by sharing a takeaway from each lecture and two tips.
Please, share any key takeaways that you have discovered in taking these courses or in practice.
THIS WEEK’S TOPICS
The IndyBar Review course wrapped up this week by discussing four topics that are extremely related. Since I had never interacted with the topics, I thought it would be a good idea to step back and think about the key takeaways from each lecture, which I have shared below:
- Federal Income Tax – Gross income is the starting point for computing a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability. Gross income is broadly defined, so nearly everything comes into the calculation. Also, keep in mind that this could be subtly mentioned in a criminal law question (i.e. embezzlement or drug dealing).
- Estate & Gift Tax – There is a federal transfer tax imposed upon certain transfers taking effect during a taxpayer’s lifetime and at death. This is governed by a unified tax system, which means a single tax rate schedule applies to lifetime transfers by gift and transfers by death. This is important because it will make your life easier when reviewing the various limits and caps.
- Wills, Trusts & Probate – There is a strong presumption that a will was created and that the person wanting the will (or the testator) was sane. Also, a written will must comply with the formal execution requirements, which is simply the testator and two witnesses sign the will. The creation of a trust does NOT require the formal execution requirements.
- Indiana State Tax – There are basically three Indiana tax sections: Income, Sales & Use, and Property. Property tax is assessed as of March 1st of each year. So, if a taxpayer’s house burns down on February 28th, then the property is assessed at $0. However, if the taxpayer’s house burns down on March 3rd, then the property will be given an assessed value and the taxpayer will be responsible for those taxes.
- Do NOT lose your nerve – The bar exam is testing a large amount of material, but the IndyBar Review course provides you with the necessary information. Take some deep breaths, review the outlines and do practice problems.
- Focus on your schedule – It is important that your mind is focused on the topic that you are reviewing. So, eliminate the stress of thinking about what you should be doing by planning your day and choosing the topics ahead of time.
This is the final blog before the Bar Exam. This week, the IndyBar Review course will be taking a mock exam and receiving final tips out at the testing site on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, we will be taking a full mock MBE portion of the exam with 200 questions. It's the final stretch - study hard and good luck everyone!