Dec
10
Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Amounts for 2015--and Why You Should Plan Now.
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The estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (or GST--yes, another acronym) exclusion amounts have stayed relatively static, thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012. Initially set at $5 million and indexed for inflation, the current applicable exclusion amount is $5.34 million, set to increase to $5.43 million in 2015. Annual exclusion gifts will remain at $14,000 per donee. ATRA also allowed for portability provisions, wherein a surviving spouse, under certain circumstances, can apply a deceased spouse's unused portion of their applicable exclusion amount to their own total that can be gifted or transferred at death. The high exclusion amounts and the portability provisions create opportunities for estate planning and wealth transfer now, especially since the President has called for a reduction to applicable exclusion amounts in his 2015 budget proposal. This would set caps back to 2009 levels beginning in 2018, with a GST applicable exclusion of $3.5 million and a gift tax exclusion of $1 million, with no inflation indexing. However, there are no "clawback" taxes for those who take advantage of higher exclusions, so gifting while the caps are still high can is advantageous.

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