When you're getting older and want to make sure that your estate is not so large that you face taxes, one of the options is to take advantage of the gift tax. The gift tax allows you to give gifts to others up to an allowable amount annually. You don't have to report those gifts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as long as they are under the legal amount.
An estate plan directs where a person wishes their wealth and assets to go, such as to their loved ones, friends and charities after death (also known as, the decedent). However, there is another place the estate assets may be sent depending on the organization and size of an estate -- taxes. New Jersey imposes an estate tax on estates of a certain size, and that cost can be significant for those who pass on.
During the holidays, over loved ones' birthdays and for other special occasions, New Jersey residents may relish in offering to their friends and relatives tokens of their love and appreciation. These gifts may range from modest items of personal meaning to lavish assets with financial growth opportunities. Many gifts may be given without thought to the federal gift tax, but as gifts grow in value they may become relevant to this important financial consideration.
As the saying goes, the only two guarantees in life are death and taxes. And, for some people, receiving an inheritance after a loved one dies means that either Uncle Sam will take his share before the estate is distributed, or the state may ask the heirs to pay up, depending where they live. Therefore, it is important to understand the basics of inheritance taxes and estate taxes, and when these taxes apply.
When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the threshold for the amount of assets a person can hold before they are subjected to the federal estate tax, many people in New Jersey may have cheered. After all, now that a person can hold $11 million in assets as an individual or $22 million in assets as a married couple before being subjected to the federal estate tax, it may seem like most people do not have to worry that the federal government will take a sizable chunk of their estate upon their death.
While New Jersey no longer has an estate tax, as of right now it is one of only a handful of states that still imposes an inheritance tax. This tax applies to any transfers of assets to certain (but not all) heirs once you pass away. And while inheritances worth $500 or less won't be taxed, other inheritances will be subjected to the legally complex inheritance tax.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 will take effect this year, and it means big changes for some New Jersey taxpayers. The jump in the federal estate and gift tax exemption to $11.8 million may be good news to those with a large estate. However, these individuals may want to review their estate plan in light of these tax law changes, so that they can ensure they are utilizing the new laws to their greatest advantage.
New Jersey does not have an estate tax as of January 1, 2018. However, it is one of the remaining states to have an inheritance tax. Also known as a "beneficiary" task, the basis of this tax is on the person who receives an inheritance as well as the amount of the estate that person inherited. An inheritance tax applies to bequests worth at least $500. The tax amounts from 11 percent to 16 percent on inheritances.
Many people in New Jersey have spent a lifetime accumulating a large nest egg. So, as they grow older, they may wish to start thinking about who they want to hand their assets down to. While some people will choose to execute a will or trust to accomplish this goal, others will choose to give gifts to loved ones while they are still alive. However, it is important to recognize when the federal gift tax will apply.
Sometimes, the law changes in a way that might affect a person's estate plan. For example, back in December of last year, Congress passed tax legislation in a way that warrants a review of one's estate plan. With this in mind, there are certain questions a person may want to ask a professional, so they can determine how the new federal estate tax law affects them.