Gift Tax

What Is the Gift Tax?

The federal gift tax applies to gifts of property or money while the donor is living. The federal estate tax, on the other hand, applies to property conveyed to others (with the exception of a spouse) after a person’s death.

The gift tax applies only to the donor. The recipient is under no obligation to pay the gift tax, although other taxes, such as income tax, may apply. The federal estate tax affects the estate of the deceased and can reduce the amount available to heirs.

In theory, any gift is taxable, but there are several notable exceptions. For example, gifts of tuition or medical expenses that you pay directly to a medical or educational institution for someone else are not considered taxable. Gifts to a spouse who is a U.S. citizen, gifts to a qualified charitable organization, and gifts to a political organization are also not subject to the gift tax.

You are not required to file a gift tax return unless any single gift exceeds the annual gift tax exclusion for that calendar year. The exclusion amount ($14,000 in 2014) is indexed annually for inflation. A separate exclusion is applied for each recipient. In addition, gifts from spouses are treated separately; so together, each spouse can gift an amount up to the annual exclusion amount to the same person.

Gift taxes are determined by calculating the tax on all gifts made during the tax year that exceed the annual exclusion amount, and then adding that amount to all the gift taxes from gifts above the exclusion limit from previous years. This number is then applied toward an individual’s lifetime applicable exclusion amount. If the cumulative sum exceeds the lifetime exclusion, you may owe gift taxes.

The 2010 Tax Relief Act reunified the estate and gift tax exclusions at $5 million (indexed for inflation), and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made the higher exemption amount permanent while increasing the estate and gift tax rate to 40% (up from 35% in 2012). Because of inflation, the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.34 million in 2014. This enables individuals to make lifetime gifts up to $5.34 million in 2014 before the gift tax is imposed.

 

The information in this article is not intended to be tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Emerald. © 2014 Emerald Connect, LLC

Strategic Asset Management Group
1990 North California Boulevard
8th Floor
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Phone: 925-942-9400
800-765-0561
Fax: 925-942-9401
bill@strategicasset.net
Registered Representative offering securities and advisory services through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., a registered broker-dealer an registered investment advisor, Member FINRA, SIPC.  Advisory services offered through NWF Advisory Services, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  NWF Advisory Services, Inc. and Strategic Asset Management Group are not affiliated with Royal Alliance.

 

Important Consumer Information:
This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of CA, HI, NV, OH, OR, PA, WA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.
 
A broker-dealer, an investment adviser, a BD agent, or IA Representative may only transact business in a state if first registered in that state, or is excluded or exempt from registration in that state as a broker-dealer, investment adviser, BD agent or IA Representative, as appropriate. Follow-up, individualized responses to persons in a state by such a firm or individual that involve either affecting or attempting to affect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made without first complying with appropriate registration requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. For information concerning the licensing status or disciplinary history of a broker-dealer, investment adviser, BD agent, or IA rep, a consumer should contact his or her state securities law administrator.