In addition to the emotional high that giving to those you care about brings, giving can now also be a savvy tax move. That’s because both the present value and any potential growth of the transferred assets are removed from your taxable estate.

Although the IRS generally doesn’t care when you make a major gift, the timing can make a big difference to your heirs. Giving a smaller amount when your heirs need it, and while you’re still alive, can be more meaningful than waiting to pass on a larger amount after you’re gone.

The combined lifetime estate and gift tax exemption are $11.58 million per individual and $23.16 million per couple, and the annual gift exclusion amount is $15,000.

Gift Tax Strategies:

  1. The annual $15,000 gift exclusion is separate from the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. And because annual gifts reduce the size of your estate, they reduce the potential tax liability for your heirs. Further, if you’re married you can “gift split” which means each spouse can gift $15,000 for a total of $30,000.
  2. Pay the medical bills for another individual. Medical care includes expenses incurred for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or for transportation primarily for and essential to medical care. Medical care also includes amounts paid for medical insurance on behalf of any individual.
  3. Pay the tuition bills of a student. Does not include books, supplies, room and board, or other similar expenses that are not direct tuition costs. You’re allowed to bundle five years’ worth of $15,000 gift tax exemptions into an initial $75,000 contribution to one student’s 529.
  4. Donating to a charitable giving vehicle such as a donor-advised fund, private foundation, charitable remainder trust or pooled income fund offers several obvious benefits. The donations are tax-deductible; they can grow tax-free; you can donate appreciated assets and avoid capital gains tax and donations are free of gift and estate taxes.

Gifting is common during the holiday season so now is the time to consider how a giving strategy fits in with your overall investment plan and to determine whether it makes sense for you to give now or later. Want to discuss with us? Contact us today to schedule a time to talk.

“Sharing the Wealth: How Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption Works” Charles Schwab. 2019.