A “gift” is considered any transfer of property (real or personal) without receiving its full value in return. For gifts made in 2010, the maximum gift tax rate is 35 percent and the applicable exclusion amount is $1 million. For gifts made in 2011 and 2012, the Tax Act limits the maximum gift tax rate to 35 percent and increases the applicable exclusion amount to $5 million. As discussed below, this change provides an opportunity to move significant amounts of wealth free of estate and gift taxes.
Donors continue to be able to use the annual gift tax exclusion before having to use any part of their applicable exclusion amount. For 2010 and 2011, the annual exclusion amount is $13,000 per donee (married couples may continue to “split” their gift and may make combined gifts of $26,000 to each donee).
Generation Skipping Transfer (“GST”) Tax
The Act provides a $5 million GST exemption amount for 2010 (equal to the applicable exclusion amount for estate tax purposes) with a GST tax rate of zero percent for 2010. For transfers made after 2010, the GST tax rate would be equal to the highest estate and gift tax rate in effect for the year (35 percent for 2011 and 2012). The Act also extends certain technical provisions under prior law affecting the GST tax.
The Act also extends through 2012 several modifications enacted as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA).
- Expanding the availability of installment payments for estates with interests in qualified lending and finance business;
- Clarifying installment payment provisions, requiring that only the stock of the holding companies, not that of operating subsidiaries be nonreadily tradable. (Estates taking advantage of these two provisions would have to make the required payments over five years rather than fifteen);
- Expanding the availability of estate tax installment payments by broadening the definition of an interest in a closely held business; and
- Allowing a deduction of estate taxes paid to any state or the District of Columbia for decedents dying after December 31, 2009.
The Act further grants extensions of time for the filing of a tax return for certain estates, making tax payments, or making a disclaimer with respect to an interest of property passing by reason of the decedent’s death. In the case of an estate for a decedent dying after December 31, 2009, and before the Act’s date of enactment, the due date for this compliance will be the date nine months after the date of enactment.
Contact our Estate Planning Attorney in Los Angeles to review your estate plan today.
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