It was good news for the wealthy—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) amped up the unified federal estate and gift tax exemption to $11.4 million for 2019 (and up to $11.18 million in 2018). If that wasn’t generous enough, those exemptions will be increased annually for inflation from 2020 to 2025. As comedian Mel Brooks would say, “It’s good to be the king.”
MarketWatch’s recent article, “How single folks should handle estate-tax planning under the new tax law,” explains that taxable estates above the exemption will have the excess taxed at a flat 40% rate. An individual’s cumulative lifetime taxable gifts in excess of the exemption are taxed at the 40% rate. Likewise, taxable gifts are those that are more than the annual federal gift tax exclusion of $15,000 for 2018 and 2019.