Articles Posted in Gift Tax

With colleges starting the fall semester around the country, worries about paying for higher education and making ends meet often come to students’ minds. Family members, like parents and grandparents, will often want to help their loved one pay for college if they are able to; however, at the same time, they do not want to do so at a detriment to their own financial future. One popular method to help a student with their college costs is a qualified tuition plan. A qualified tuition plan is a type of Houston estate planning tool that allows a person to contribute to another’s higher education expenses without having to pay taxes on these contributions.

What is a Qualified Tuition Plan?

A qualified tuition plan lets a loved one, called a contributor, to either prepay their student’s qualified expenses at an educational institution or to contribute to a designated account to pay these costs. A contributor can put their funds toward tuition as well as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required to participate in the educational program. However, contributions to a qualified tuition plan cannot exceed the amount necessary to provide for the beneficiary’s expenses.

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The Internal Revenue Service is postponing the date for filing gift tax and generation-skipping transfer tax returns and making payments until July 15, 2020, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The IRS has expanded the list of deadline extensions for federal taxes and tax returns to include gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax returns. An earlier notice had applied only to federal income tax returns and payments (including self-employment tax payments) due April 15, 2020, for 2019 tax years, and to estimated income tax payments due April 15, 2020, for 2020 tax years.

Notice 2020-20 updates earlier guidance to include the gift and GST deadline extensions.

8.10.19Wealth transfer occurs in a number of different ways, and sometimes there are too many choices. How do you decide which strategy to use? Start by educating yourself about some of the fundamentals of lifetime gifting.

Gifting strategies are used to minimize the tax burden on estates and preserve assets, since they promote the transfer of wealth across generations. There are five frequently used lifetime gifting strategies outlined in a recent article from Forbes, “5 Lifetime Gift Strategies For You And Your Family To Consider.” For families with significant assets, these need to be discussed with their estate planning attorney to see how they will fit with the family’s overall estate plan.

A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an irrevocable trust that can be a good choice, if you want to transfer hard-to-value assets. A GRAT also lets you keep your income stream, divide property interests and make discounted gifts to future generations. With a GRAT, the grantor transfers assets to a trust but maintains a right to an annual income stream, or annuity payment, for a specific period of time. The income stream’s value is deducted from the value of the transferred assets when determining the gift’s full taxable value. Anything left in the GRAT after the annuity period expires, is given to the trust’s beneficiaries without any more gift or estate taxes. However, if the grantor dies before the end of the trust term, the whole value of the trust will be included in the taxable estate (like the trust had never been created). Therefore, you can see how important it can be to carefully choose the term of the trust, so the grantor is likely to live beyond its termination.

6.14.19Estate tax, death tax, income tax and inheritance tax: what do they mean for your estate and your heirs? You’ll want to be sure to know the difference between them, as you create your estate plan.

Most people don’t have to worry about the federal estate tax, which is often referred to as the death tax. Unless your estate is valued at more than $11.4 million ($22.8 for couples), you won’t be paying this tax. However, says Forbes in a recent article, “Eight Things You Need To Know About The Death Tax Before You Die,” that doesn’t mean your estate and your heirs won’t have to pay income taxes or inheritance taxes.

Assets in your name only and everything else you had control over will be added into your gross estate. For example, all stocks, bonds, bank accounts and life insurance death benefits are included, as well as any real estate, business interests, jewelry, household furnishings and artwork.

2.6.19While there’s a time limit on this great opportunity for tax-free giving—2025, unless Congress makes some changes—this is a good time to take advantage of minimizing your tax liability through generosity. There’s a new big break for top-dollar wealth transfers, thanks to the new tax law.

Basic rule: the more you give away, the smaller your estate and, therefore, the smaller your tax liability. If you’ve got a lot of wealth, this is a good time for you and those you want to make gifts to. The sooner you exploit this, the more you can give. It means that there’s less of a chance your estate will have to write a check to the IRS.

The Street’s recent article, “This Is the Golden Age of Tax-Free Gift Giving,” says the federal government has taxed estates since 1924, and as recently as 2001, the threshold when taxes kicked in was $675,000. This exemption level from taxation has been increased ever since. However, a large increase came from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect in 2018. The Act doubled the exemption level and indexed it to inflation. Anything above the new limits is taxed at 40%. It is $11.4 million for singles and $22.8 million for married couples in 2019.

1.3.19Single with a net worth less than $11.4 million in 2019? You’re in luck—you can die knowing that all of your money will pass free of any federal estate tax to your heirs.

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.

12.22.18An end-of-year decision from the IRS about the new tax law and gifting has given people with generous spirits and hefty bank accounts reasons to be cheerful about gifting.

Increases to basic estate and gift tax exemptions were welcome by many, when the new tax law details were unveiled. However, questions were raised: how long will those exemptions be in place? What happens when they expire?

The changes increased the exemption to $10 million per person from $5 million. When you account for inflation adjustments, that exemption is currently at $11,180,000 for 2018, increasing to $11,400,000 for 2019.

1.22.18First, say thank you. Then, learn more about the rules about paying taxes on a financial gift.

Couples whose families are generous enough to give them help towards buying their first home are often concerned with what, if any, tax liability may be created. Do they have to pay taxes on the gift? Do their parents or in-laws pay taxes?

The tax laws on gifts can be pretty confusing, says nj.com in an article, “Are taxes owed on gift from in-laws?”

5.19.17Some states are cheaper to die in than others, that is, when it comes to death taxes.

The average American doesn’t have to worry too much about paying a federal estate tax, as the current federal estate tax exemption is a generous $5.49 million for 2017 and twice that if you are married. But that’s not the only death tax you and your heirs may encounter, depending on where you live or, more accurately, where you die.

MarketWatch’s article, “Here are the 20 most expensive places in America to die,” reminds us that about 20 states and DC have their own estate or inheritance taxes, or both. Some have exemption thresholds below the federal amount. Therefore, if you live in one of these states, you may be exempt from the federal estate tax, but still exposed to a significant state death tax bill.

5.17.17With many tech companies, universities and businesses, North Carolina has become home to many resident aliens who contribute greatly to the state’s growth. Estate planning requires special knowledge of non-citizen tax rules.

More than $1 billion in annual foreign direct investment gives North Carolina’s private sector employment a huge boost, as reported in Trust Advisor’s recent article, Foreign Spouses Need Strong Trust Planning.” That includes hundreds of thousands of workers, individuals who are not U.S. citizens but who establish residence here.

They’re known as “resident aliens” under U.S. tax law. There are also nonresident, non-U.S. citizens (“nonresident aliens”) who will invest in real and personal property situated in the state. This can include a wide variety of real and personal property, from vacation homes to ownership interests in a holding or operating company.

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