On November 15, the IRS announced the official estate and gift exclusion amounts for 2019 in Revenue Procedure 2018-57.
For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2019, the applicable exclusion is increased from $11.18 million to $11.4 million. This change increases not only the applicable exclusion amount available at death, but also a taxpayer’s lifetime gift applicable exclusion amount and generation skipping transfer exclusion amount. This means a husband and wife with proper planning could transfer $22.8 million estate, gift and GST tax free to their children and grandchildren in 2019. If no new tax law is passed, the increased exclusion amounts are scheduled to expire on December 31, 2025, which would mean a reduction in the exclusion amounts to $5 million plus adjustments for inflation.
The estate, gift and GST tax rate remains the same at 40% and the gift tax annual exclusion remains at $15,000.
The gift tax annual exclusion to a non-citizen spouse has been increased from $152,000 to $155,000. While gifts between spouses are unlimited if the donee spouse is a United States citizen, there are restrictions when the donee spouse is not a United States citizen.
The New York exclusion amount was changed as of April 1, 2014, and does not match the federal exclusion amount. In 2018, the New York exclusion amount is $5.25 million. Beginning in 2019, the exclusion is scheduled to increase to $5.49 million, and then will increase with inflation each year thereafter. It is important to note that, unlike the Federal exclusion amount, the New York exclusion amount is not portable, meaning if the first spouse to die fails to utilize his or her full exclusion amount, the surviving spouse will not be able to utilize the first spouse to die’s unused exclusion amount.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.