As we continue to welcome in the first quarter of 2018 and the new tax bill, let’s take a quick look at what has changed and what remains the same.
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, beginning in 2018, the exemption for Gift, Estate, and Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) tax has increased. The amount that can now be left to heirs, tax free, will be approximately $11.2 million per person and $22.4 million for married couples. Furthermore, the annual gift tax exclusion has been raised from $14,000 to $15,000 beginning in 2018. The 40% tax rate for estate, gift, and GST tax remains the same. In addition, the basis step-up rules, adjusting assets passing from a descendent to fair market value at date of death, does not change.
For descendants dying on or after January 1, 2018, the estate tax threshold will be raised an additional $22,500, changing from $1,515,156 in 2017 to $1,537,656 in 2018.
What is happening in our neighboring states?
On October 31, 2017, Connecticut increased the individual exemption up from $2 million to $2.6 million in 2018. This will increase again to $3.6 million in 2019 and will match the federal Estate, Gift, and GST Tax Exemption in 2020.
Massachusetts’ exemption remains unchanged at $1 million. In fact, Massachusetts and Oregon are now tied for the lowest estate tax exemptions in the nation.