What is a gift: In general, a gift is the value of the property transferred in excess of the value of any consideration received therefore.
What is the current gift tax rate: The current federal gift tax rate (similar to the current federal top estate rate) is 40%. However, this rate is only applied after the applicable exclusion amount.
Who is responsible for paying the taxes: The donor who makes the gift is responsible to pay the tax. If the donor fails to pay the tax when due, then the donee is also liable for the tax.
What are the current exclusions:
Federal: In 2015, the federal exclusion amount is $5,430,000. This means that one can gift during one’s lifetime up to $5,430,000 and no federal gift taxes will be due.
Annual: But it gets even better! In addition to the federal exclusion amount, there is also an annual gift tax exclusion of $14,000 per donee per year. This means that if a husband and wife have 3 children, they can gift to them $14,000 x 3 x 2 = $84,000 per year, without filing a federal tax return or paying any gift taxes.
Other: Payments of tuition to a qualifying educational institution (but not for books, room or board), payments for medical care directly to a provider or for medical insurance, or gifts made to political organizations also qualify for an exclusion. No gift tax return needs to be filed for these types of gifts.
Spousal: There is an unlimited marital spousal deduction for all gifts between US citizen or resident spouses. As an alternative to an outright gift, the donor spouse can make a gift to a living trust which meets the Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) requirements to that the gift qualifies for the marital deduction.
Disclaimer: This article only offers general information. Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions. As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING