Congress is currently proposing to completely eliminate the estate tax by 2024, or significantly increasing the exemption amount. Under both the House and Senate bills, however, the gift tax is kept in place (with a $10 million exclusion). For now, here are some planning points that apply under current law.
Annual gift tax exclusion
Gift up to a total of $14,000 tax free to each of your loved ones in 2017 using the annual gift tax exclusion. If you are making gifts with a spouse, you can gift up to $28,000 per recipient by combining your exclusions. The annual gift tax exclusion is being increased to $15,000 for 2018.
Lifetime gift and estate tax exemption
Consider utilizing your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption, which will increase from $5.49 million in 2017 to $5.6 million in 2018. If you've previously capped-out this exemption, you'll be able to use the additional $110,000 for gifts in 2018.