Given the uncertainty surrounding next
year's taxes, here is a reassuring thought: One of Uncle Sam's most useful tax
benefits isn't expiring, shrinking or otherwise under threat after 2012.
Experts call it the "annual gift exclusion."
Been following the news about
the uncertainty of estate taxes. Pretty gloomy, yes? Cheer up! That old
planning stalwart, the annual gift exclusion, continues to be a safe bet for
wealth transfer planners.
The Wall Street Journal recently took up the praises of the annual gift
exclusion in an article aptly titled “The Gift That Keeps Giving.” Indeed,
gifts will keep giving, and it’s
important to know how they work and how to give them appropriately.
Currently you can give up to
your annual exclusion to as many parties as you wish each calendar year,
without any corresponding reduction in your lifetime gift/estate tax exemption.
The current annual gift exemption is set to $13,000 and will expand with
Don’t forget, if you are
married, “gift splitting” is a way to give $26,000 to your loved ones. This is
especially important in blended families when the entire $26,000 will be coming
from separate resources of one spouse to his or her own children. Note: there
is some simple IRS paperwork required to make this work.
Depending on the number of
family members (or other loved ones) you may have and the extent of your resources,
maximizing the annual gift exclusion truly is a simple but significant
technique for wealth transfers.
Reference: The Wall Street
Journal (August 17, 2012) “The Gift That Keeps Giving”