Estate Planning Adjustments for Tax Year 2020

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Many estate planning provisions of the Internal Revenue Code contain brackets, exemptions, exclusions, deductions, or other figures that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adjusts annually for inflation.  Recently, the IRS released these inflation adjustments for tax year 2020 in Revenue Procedure 2019-44.

Transfer Tax Provisions

For tax year 2020, taxpayers will see their basic exclusion amount (and GST exemption amount) increase to $11,580,000 from $11,400,000.  This $180,000 increase from 2019 provides additional planning opportunities, including the ability to make additional, larger gifts during one’s lifetime without paying gift tax and to make late allocations of GST exemption.

Other relevant figures will increase slightly in 2020.  The annual exclusion for gifts to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen increases to $157,000, a $2,000 increase from last year, and the gift amount from a foreign person that triggers information reporting obligations by the recipient increases slightly by $261 to $16,649.  The gift tax annual exclusion remains at $15,000 per individual. 

A summary table of relevant gift and estate figures as adjusted for tax year 2020 is provided below. Previous years are added for context.

Adjustment

2018

2019

2020

Basic exclusion amount and GST exemption amount

$11,180,000

$11,400,000

$11,580,000

Gift tax annual exclusion

$15,000

$15,000

$15,000

Annual exclusion for gifts made to spouse who is not a U.S. citizen

$152,000

$155,000

$157,000

Information reporting on large gifts received from a foreign person

$16,076

$16,388

$16,649

“2-Percent Portion” under § 6166

$1,520,000

$1,550,000

$1,570,000

Special valuation under § 2032A

$1,140,000

$1,160,000

$1,180,000

Estate and Trust Income Brackets

Estate and trust income brackets contain minor changes for tax year 2020. The tax rates for estates and trusts will not change in 2020.  What will change, however, is the amount of taxable income that places an estate or trust in a particular bracket.  These changes are highlighted by the table below.  

Tax Year 2019

Tax Year 2020

If Taxable Income is:

The Tax is:

If Taxable Income is:

The Tax is:

Not over $2,600

10% of the taxable income

Not over $2,600

10% of the taxable income

Over $2,600 but not over $9,300

$260 plus 24% of the excess over $2,600

Over $2,600 but not over $9,450

$260 plus 24% of the excess over $2,600

Over $9,300 but not over $12,750

$1,868 plus 35% of excess over $9,300

Over $9,450 but not over $12,950

$1,904 plus 35% of excess over $9,450

Over $12,750

$3,075.50 plus 37% of the excess over $12,750

Over $12,950

$3,129 plus 37% of the excess over $12,950

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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