Gould Cooksey Fennell

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Gifting Opportunities in 2012

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Act) created a two-year gift tax “applicable exclusion amount” of $5 million, indexed for inflation to $5,120,000 for the year 2012.  Unless Congress takes further action, the provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, as amended by the 2010 Act, will sunset at the end of 2012, lowering the gift tax exclusion amount to $1 million and raising the maximum gift tax rate to 55% for 2013.  This presents a unique, albeit brief, opportunity for someone to reduce her estate tax base, without paying gift tax, by a $4 million margin.  The transfer of appropriate assets today removes the future appreciation of those assets from her taxable estate.  She may decide to put another family member in a position to pay off a mortgage or start a new business.  But giving it away doesn’t always have to mean losing control over the gifted asset as a client may wish to capitalize on this unusual time by making gifts of minority interests in her business to children or other beneficiaries, a technique which can be further leveraged through discounts supported by appraisals.  Whatever it may be, 2012 represents a time of unique gifting opportunities.

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