In an effort to keep taxpayers from transferring wealth from one generation to the next tax-free, there are specific limits to the amount of gifts one may give to any one person each year. Amounts in excess of this limit are subject to filing an annual gift tax form. For most of us, this is not something we need to worry about, but if handled incorrectly it can create quite a surprise when the tax bill is due.
The Gift Giving Rule
You may give up to $17,000 (up $1,000) to any individual (donee) within the calendar year 2023 and avoid any gift tax filing requirements. If married you and your spouse may transfer up to $34,000 per donee. If you provide a gift to your spouse who is not a U.S. citizen, the annual exclusion amount is $175,000 for 2023.
Gift Tax Reporting
Amounts given in excess of this annual amount are subject to potential gift tax reporting. The amount of tax is currently unified with estate taxes with a maximum rate of 40%. The donor of the gift is responsible for paying any associated tax. When you exceed the annual gift giving amount, this triggers the need to file a gift tax form with your individual tax return. The excess gift amounts are netted against your lifetime unified credit. If your lifetime gifts do not exceed the credit you may not have additional taxes owed. Here are some instances when a gift tax problem may occur and ways to manage the problem:
Gifts for college. Grandparents like to help out with the tremendous expense of funding a college degree and amounts donated can quickly surpass the annual gift threshold. To avoid the gift tax problem consider making payments directly to the college as this form of payment can be excluded from the annual gift giving limit AS LONG AS the funds are not used to pay for books, room or board on behalf of the donee.
Qualified tuition plans (QTPs) provide a means for family members and others to save for the future educational needs of children. Investment earnings within a QTP account are tax deferred and not taxable when withdrawn if used to pay qualified tuition and certain other expenses.
Each individual’s contribution to a QTP (also sometimes referred to as a “Section 529 plan”) on behalf of a designated beneficiary is treated as a gift subject to the normal gift tax rules. Thus, no gift tax return is required for any contributor if the contribution is equal to or less than the amount of the gift tax annual exclusion for the year of the gift, which for 2019 is $15,000.
Special Election – When a donor’s total contribution to a QTP for the year exceeds the annual exclusion amount, the donor may make a special election treating the contributed funds as if they had been contributed ratably over a five-year period starting with the year of the contribution.
With its ruling n. 975 issued on January 18, 2018 Italy’s Supreme Court held that the transfer of an asset (real estate property) to an irrevocable trust falls outside the scope of Italy’s registration, cadastral and mortgage taxes (transfer taxes), charged at the aggregate rate of 10 percent, on the theory that it is a transitory step before the final transfer of the property to the beneficiaries of the trust actually occurs, at which time the transfer taxes should apply.
The ruling is consistent with a previous decision of the Supreme Court on the same issue, that is, ruling n. 21614 of October 26, 2016 (which we also commented upon on this blog). Read More
The key to transferring large amounts of wealth was discussed 2000 years ago by the patron saint of estate planning attorneys, Archimedes.
Regarding leverage he observed, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.” Using leverage to move the earth—or to move your wealth—is the key to achieving noteworthy results. Each U.S. resident can give away, during lifetime, $5 million as well as the current annual gift exclusion.
If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $14,000, it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift.
The person who received your gift does not have to report the gift to the IRS or pay either gift or income tax on its value.
You make a gift when you give property, including money, or the Read More
U.S. citizens or long term residents who are covered expatriates who gift property during their lifetime or have bequeathed property upon their death, to a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident will cause the recipient of the gift to pay gift tax to the extent that the taxable gift exceeds the annual exemption. For 2015, the annual exemption is $14K. For this purpose, resident is one who is domiciled in the United States.
There are also similar rules or application where the recipient is a U.S. trust. Recipients of a “covered gift” or of a “covered bequest” who are charities are exempt from paying the gift tax.
Therefore any U.S. citizen or long-term resident who has expatriated under S877 of the IRS Code AND who is classified as a “covered expatriate” under S877A of the IRS Code will cause the recipient to pay this tax. The tax Read More
If you gave money or property to someone as a gift, you may wonder about the federal gift tax. Many gifts are not subject to the gift tax.
Here are seven tax tips about gifts and the gift tax.
1. Nontaxable Gifts. The general rule is that any gift is a taxable gift. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The following are not taxable gifts:
• Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion for the calendar year,
• Tuition or medical expenses you paid directly to a medical or educational institution for someone, Read More
Tax Code Changes Create Challenges
Inheritance taxes and estate planning are a growing concern for affluent baby boomers. What are some of the major issues?
In addition to the double step-up in basis on community property discussed above, the baby boom generation will benefit from some of the most generous estate tax loopholes in history. For example, married couples have complete spousal exemption from estate and gift tax when transferring property to each other. This has not always been the case.
For 2015, every person has a lifetime net gift and estate tax exemption up to $5.43 million. Considering that the top gift and estate tax rate is 40%, this exemption represents an Read More
Someone recently asked me what federal tax issues are still outstanding regarding DOMA and the effect of the June 2013 Windsor decision. There are still a few income tax issues that come to mind (there are also estate and gift and state tax issues as well), that were not covered in the initial guidance (Rev. Rul. 2013-17). Here is my list. Do you have any input or additional ones to add?
Will the IRS issue guidance to assist in the filing of amended returns? The current version of Form 1040X is not conducive to showing how two prior separate returns will now be treated as one MFJ return. Read More
Evaluation of Senator Suggestions for the Blank Slate Project
As noted in my 9/9/13 post, I’m going to summarize and analyze proposals senators offered to the Senate Finance Committee, and that the senator made public. Despite falling behind on my project, as tax reform likely heats up in 2014, I’m back at it as I’d like to look at and share what might be a broader array of proposals and issues. In no particular order, the second set of suggestions I’m commenting on are from Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) (7/26/13 letter). Senator Rockefeller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
a. How the Federal Gift and Estate Tax Work Together
The federal gift tax is part of what’s called the “unified” federal gift and estate tax. Gift tax applies to lifetime gifts; estate tax applies to assets left at death. The idea is that whether you give assets away while you’re alive, or leave them at your death, they’re taxed the same way, at the same rate. After all, if there were no gift tax, then anyone could completely avoid the estate tax by giving everything away just before death.
Very few Americans need to worry about federal estate tax or the federal gift tax. Why? Because under current law, each of us has a lifetime gift and estate tax exemption of $ 5.25 million, which means that you can leave or give away up to $ 5.25 million without owing any Read More
It’s the proverbial time of the year when there are a lot of gifts exchanged. Some are store bought, some gift cards & there are those who just get plain ol’ cash.
What constitutes a “gift” in the eyes of the IRS?
• You make a gift if you give property, including money, or the use of or income from property, without expecting anything of equal value in return.
• You also make a gift if you sell something at less than its full value
• There’s a gift made if you give an interest-free loan or reduced interest loan Read More