The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) significantly increased the federal estate and gift tax exemption available to individuals. In 2020, each individual may gift US$11.58 million (or combined US$23.16 million for married couples). This increase is temporary and is set to sunset on December 31, 2025, at which time the exemptions will revert back to the pre-2018 amount of US$5 million (subject to annual inflation adjustments). Nevertheless, these higher exemption amounts could be reduced as early as 2021, potentially even below pre-2018 levels, depending on the outcome of the 2020 election.
At the state level, neither New York nor New Jersey assess state tax on lifetime gifts, though New York has certain claw back rules for gifts made within three years of death. Connecticut has an estate and gift tax exemption of US$5.1 million in 2020 but does not assess gift tax on assets having a situs outside of the state.
In this environment, clients should consider taking advantage of the increased federal exemption amounts before the end of the calendar year. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions or to discuss gifting strategies tailored to your specific goals.