estate

Take Advantage Of A “Stepped-Up Basis” When You Inherit Property

If you’re planning your estate, or you’ve recently inherited assets, you may be unsure of the “cost” (or “basis”) for tax purposes.

Fair market value rules

Under the fair market value basis rules (also known as the “step-up and step-down” rules), an heir receives a basis in inherited property equal to its date-of-death value. So, for example, if your grandfather bought ABC Corp. stock in 1935 for $500 and it’s worth $5 million at his death, the basis is stepped up to $5 million in the hands of your grandfather’s heirs — and all of that gain escapes federal income tax forever.

The fair market value basis rules apply to inherited property that’s includible in the deceased’s gross estate, and those rules also apply to property inherited from foreign persons who aren’t subject to U.S. estate tax. It doesn’t matter if a federal estate tax return is filed. The rules apply to the inherited portion of property owned by the inheriting taxpayer jointly with the deceased, but not the portion of jointly held property that the inheriting taxpayer […]

By |July 21st, 2020|estate, estate tax, tax implications, tax planning|0 Comments

Age-Related Tax and Financial Milestones

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In an era filled with uncertainty, you can count on one thing: time marches on! This article covers some important age-related tax and financial planning milestones that you should keep in mind for yourself and loved ones.

Ages 0–23

The so-called “Kiddie Tax” rules can potentially apply to your child’s (or grandchild’s) investment income until the year he or she reaches age 24. Specifically, a child’s investment income in excess of the applicable annual threshold is taxed at the parent’s marginal tax rate.

Note: For 2018 and 2019, the unfavorable income tax rates for trusts and estates were used to calculate the Kiddie Tax. Recent legislation changed this for 2020 by once again linking the child’s tax rate to the parent’s marginal tax rate. However, you may elect to apply this change to your 2018 and 2019 tax years. If we feel an election would be beneficial for 2018, we will recommend amending your return.

For 2020, the investment income threshold is $2,200. A child’s investment income below the threshold is usually taxed at benign rates (typically 0% for long-term capital gains and dividends and 0%, 10%, or 12% for ordinary investment income and short-term gains). Note […]

By |February 28th, 2020|estate, irs, New Tax Laws, tax implications|0 Comments

Consider All the Tax Consequences Before Making Gifts to Loved Ones

Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable estate, to help out family members or simply to see their loved ones enjoy the gifts. If you’re considering lifetime gifts, be aware that which assets you give can produce substantially different tax consequences.

Multiple types of taxes

Federal gift and estate taxes generally apply at a rate of 40% to transfers in excess of your available gift and estate tax exemption. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the exemption has approximately doubled through 2025. For 2018, it’s $11.18 million (twice that for married couples with proper estate planning strategies in place).

Even if your estate isn’t large enough for gift and estate taxes to currently be a concern, there are income tax consequences to consider. Plus, the gift and estate tax exemption is scheduled to drop back to an inflation-adjusted $5 million in 2026.

By |October 16th, 2018|estate, estate tax, gift tax, income tax, New Tax Laws|0 Comments

An FLP Can Save Tax in a Family Business Succession

One of the biggest concerns for family business owners is succession planning — transferring ownership and control of the company to the next generation. Often, the best time tax-wise to start transferring ownership is long before the owner is ready to give up control of the business.

A family limited partnership (FLP) can help owners enjoy the tax benefits of gradually transferring ownership yet allow them to retain control of the business.

How it works

To establish an FLP, you transfer your ownership interests to a partnership in exchange for both general and limited partnership interests. You then transfer limited partnership interests to your children.

You retain the general partnership interest, which may be as little as 1% of the assets. But as general partner, you can still run day-to-day operations and make business decisions.

Tax benefits

As you transfer the FLP […]

The Tax Impact of the TCJA on Estate Planning

The massive changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made to income taxes have garnered the most attention. But the new law also made major changes to gift and estate taxes. While the TCJA didn’t repeal these taxes, it did significantly reduce the number of taxpayers who’ll be subject to them, at least for the next several years. Nevertheless, factoring taxes into your estate planning is still important.

Exemption increases

The TCJA more than doubles the combined gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption, from $5.49 million for 2017 to $11.18 million for 2018.

This amount will continue to be annually adjusted for inflation through 2025. Absent further congressional action, however, the exemptions will revert to their 2017 levels (adjusted for inflation) for 2026 and beyond.

The rate for all three taxes remains at 40% — only three percentage points higher than the top income tax rate.

The impact

Even before the TCJA, the vast majority of taxpayers didn’t have to worry about federal gift and estate taxes. While the TCJA protects even more taxpayers from these taxes, those with estates in the roughly $6 million to $11 million range (twice that for married […]

By |June 13th, 2018|estate, New Tax Laws, tax implications|0 Comments

IRS Automatically Extends Filing for Certain Estates Electing Portability

In estate planning, the concept of “portability” of a deceased spouse’s unused exclusion (DSUE) amount is relatively new. For decedents dying after December 31, 2010, if a first-to-die spouse has not fully used the estate tax exclusion, the DSUE amount can be transferred to the surviving spouse. This was originally passed as a two-year temporary provision until it was made permanent in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Estate tax returns are usually required to be filed within 9 months of death to make the deceased spousal unused exclusion election. The IRS released Revenue Procedure 2014-18, providing an automatic extension for certain estates of decedents dying in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to elect portability. The extension applies to estates that would otherwise not have had a filing requirement, and allows the estates to file a return to elect portability until December 31, 2014. It includes the estates of same-sex decedents who were not eligible to elect portability until after the Windsor decision (United States v. Windsor recognized same-sex marriages for purposes of determining marital status of taxpayers under the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS has issued Revenue Procedure 2014-18 to grant limited relief for late elections).

This revenue procedure applies only […]

By |October 28th, 2014|estate, extension, tax|0 Comments

Beware of the 3.8% Medicare Surtax for Estates and Trusts

Ever since the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, most of the focus has been on how this increased tax effects individual taxpayers.  As determined by this decision, individual taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income over $200,000 (or $250,000 for married taxpayers) are subject to an increased 3.8%  Medicare surtax on certain investment income beginning in 2013.


Little focus has been given on how this increased Medicare surtax will increase tax liabilities for trusts and estates.  Income in an irrevocable trust is either taxed to the trust or to the trust beneficiaries.  If income in the trust or estate is accumulated at the trust or estate level, then the trust or estate pays the income tax.  If the income is distributed to the beneficiaries, however, the trust receives an income tax deduction for the amount of the distributable net income (DNI) and the beneficiaries report the taxable income. 


In the case of a trust or estate, the 3.8% Medicare surcharge is imposed on the lesser of either undistributed net investment income or the excess of adjusted gross income over the highest estate or trust income tax bracket.  For 2013, the highest trust income tax bracket begins at $11,950, […]