What will happen if a different president is elected?
Due to the Trump Administration, the estate tax exemption was increased as of 1/1/2018 – up to $10,000,000 per taxpayer. This goes up annually and for 2019, the estate tax exemption is $11,400,000. So, a married couple would get a combined total of $28,000,000. Any estates above this amount are taxed at a Federal tax rate of 40%. This is a LARGE amount, and one should seriously focus on utilizing the estate tax exemption before it changes. The estate tax exemption amount is scheduled to expire at the end of 2025, after which it would be reduced to $5MM per taxpayer.
Consider that even though the estate tax exemption is high, it expires AND it could change. There seems to be more and more conversation about increasing tax on the wealthy, but we also have the United States national debt to consider. If political parties change in power, there could be a push to increase taxes on the wealthy and thus lower the estate tax exemption. Recently, the IRS issued the following Proposed Regulation https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/23/2018-25538/estate-and-gift-taxes-difference-in-the-basic-exclusion-amount, which explains that if a taxpayer uses the larger estate tax exemption rules and when they die the estate tax exemption is lower, the estate tax calculation will not claw back or recalculate to the lower estate tax at death. Thus, we recommend that wealthy individuals review using the larger estate tax exemption while it is still law.
As always, income tax and estate tax can be very complex and individual taxpayers need to work with their tax adviser to customize an approach that will work for them. There are many different strategies to consider, and each strategy should be reviewed in detail with the proper professionals.
Vertical Advisors is a boutique CPA, Accounting, and Business Advisory firm that focuses primarily on privately held businesses and their owners.