The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, often referred to as tax reform) generally became effective in 2018 and increased the federal estate and gift tax lifetime exclusion amount (LEA) from $5 million per person to $10 million per person. On top of that, the exclusion is annually adjusted for inflation, meaning the LEA for 2020 has been inflation-adjusted to $11.58 million. However, the provisions of TCJA are temporary, and unless Congress makes changes, the exclusion will revert to the pre-TCJA amount of $5 million (estimated to be $6.2 million when adjusted for inflation) beginning in 2026.
When was the last time you or your attorney reviewed or updated your will or trust? If it was before the passage of the 2017 tax reform legislation, or the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), your documents may be out of date.
The tax code places limits on the amounts that individuals can gift to others (as money or property) without paying taxes. This is meant to keep individuals from using gifts to avoid the estate tax that is imposed upon inherited assets. This can be a significant issue for family-operated businesses when the business owner dies; such businesses often have to be sold to pay the resulting inheritance (estate) taxes. This is, in large part, why high-net-worth individuals invest in estate planning.
Individuals with large estates generally want to gift portions of their estate to beneficiaries while they are still living, to avoid or lessen the estate tax when they pass away. That can be done through annual gifts (up to the inflation-adjusted annual limit for each gift recipient each year – $15,000 for 2019) and/or by utilizing the unified gift-estate exclusion for gifts in excess of the annual exclusion amount. The tax reform virtually doubled the unified gift-estate exclusion for years 2018 through 2025, after which – unless further extended by Congress – it will return to its inflation-adjusted former amount. This has caused concerns related to what the tax consequences will be for post-2025 estates if the decedent, while alive, had made gifts during the 2018-through-2025 period utilizing the higher unified gift-estate exclusion. Would that cause a claw back due to the reduced exclusion?
The Treasury Department has proposed taxpayer-friendly regulations to implement changes made by the tax reform, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). As a result, individuals planning to make large gifts between 2018 and 2025 can do so without concern that they will lose the tax benefit of the higher exclusion level for those gifts once the exclusion decreases after 2025.
In general, gift and estate taxes are calculated using a unified rate schedule on taxable transfers of money, property, and other assets. Any tax due is determined after applying a credit based on an applicable exclusion amount.
The applicable exclusion amount is the sum of the basic exclusion amount established in the statute plus other elements (if applicable) described in the proposed regulations. The credit is first used during life to offset gift tax, and any remaining credit is available to reduce or eliminate estate tax.
The TCJA temporarily increased the basic exclusion amount from $5 million to $10 million for tax years 2018 through 2025, with both dollar amounts adjusted for inflation. For 2018, the inflation-adjusted basic exclusion amount is $11.18 million; for 2019, it is $11.4 million. In 2026, the basic exclusion amount will revert to the 2017 level of $5 million, adjusted for inflation.
To address concerns that an estate tax could apply to gifts exempt from gift tax through the increased basic exclusion amount, the proposed regulations provide a special rule that allows the estate to compute its estate tax credit using the higher of the basic exclusion amount applicable to gifts made during life or the basic exclusion amount applicable on the date of death.
If you have any questions related to gifting and estate planning, please give this office a call.
Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler Northwest is to earn our clients trust as their primary business and financial advisors.
1300 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201
Article by Anna Bahney | Found on CNN
Before we deal with the downer of your death, let’s talk about your life.
Does anyone depend on you? Like, financially, depend on you?
Then you’re probably fine without life insurance.
Of course, there are certain circumstances in which a singleHappy New Year Images 2018 person with no one financially dependent upon them would need life insurance.
But, generally, financial advisers say young, single, childless folks can focus on paying down debts and building up savings first. Read more
Article by Cara O’Brien | Found on AccountingToday.com
Estate planning has once again entered the realm of uncertainty.
We do not know if there will be new legislation regarding the estate and gift tax, nor do we know when such possible legislation will take place (if ever). For example, if the estate tax is repealed, will the estate tax cease immediately or as of some future date; or will the estate tax be phased out over a number of years? If there is a repeal, how long will the repeal last (viewed from both the perspective of the text of the new legislation, and the possibility of a political shift that could result in more new legislation)? Read more
Today’s historic Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, affirmed a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states, opening up tax, estate planning and employee benefits opportunities for couples in the 13 states that have not permitted same-sex marriage. For one, same-sex married couples may be able to claim state income tax refunds. They no longer have to worry about state estate taxes at the death of the first spouse. And they may save on health insurance at work.
Same-sex couples in these states have been operating in a “sort of limbo situation,” says Nicole Pearl, an estate lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery in Los Angeles. (The states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.) If they got married out-of-state, they could get the federal benefits of marriage but their home state could still deny them the benefits of marriage under state law. So they could file a joint federal income tax return but not a joint state income tax return, for example. The first to die could leave property to the other, without the survivor needing to pay federal estate taxes, but there was a same-sex state death tax trap.