Recently, the IRS released the 2016 annually adjusted amount for the unified gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption: $5.45 million (up from $5.43 million in 2015).
But even with the rising exemptions, annual exclusion gifts offer a valuable tax-saving opportunity.
The 2015 gift tax annual exclusion allows you to give up to $14,000 per recipient tax-free — without using up any of your gift and estate or GST tax exemption. (The exclusion remains the same for 2016.)
The gifted assets are removed from your taxable estate, which can be especially advantageous if you expect them to appreciate. That’s because the future appreciation can avoid gift and estate taxes.
But you need to use your 2015 exclusion by December 31. The exclusion doesn’t carry over from year to year.
For example, if you and your spouse don’t make annual exclusion gifts to your grandson this year, you can’t add $28,000 to your 2016 exclusions to make a $56,000 tax-free gift to him next year.