Category Archives: Non-Traditional Families

Estate and Gift Tax 2014

Starting January 1, 2014, the individual lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is $5,340,000, adjusted for inflation from 2013’s $5,250,000 exemption. In addition, the maximum estate/gift tax rate is 40% for an estate and/or gift(s) exceeding the lifetime exemption amount (the same maximum rate as 2013, and increased from the 2012 maximum rate of 35%)

Estate and Gift Tax 2013

After 2 years of “what ifs” and “then whats,” we finally have resolution regarding the estate and gift tax exemptions. As a result of the last minute “Fiscal Cliff” legislation, starting January 1, 2013, the individual lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is $5,250,000, adjusted for inflation from 2012’s $5,120,000 exemption. In addition, the maximum estate/gift tax rate is 40% for an estate and/or gift(s) exceeding the lifetime exemption amount (increased from the 2012 maximum rate of 35%).

Although unrelated to the “Fiscal Cliff” legislation, the annual gift tax exemption is now $14,000 (increased from $13,000 in 2012).

U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on Gay Marriage

The United States Supreme Court stated today that it will review lower court rulings finding California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Arguments are expected to be heard before the Court March 25-27, 2013, and a decision is expected around June 27, 2013. While there is hope that such decision will address the constitutional issues surrounding non-recognition of same-sex marriage, it is possible that the Court may rule on legal procedural issues and side-step the constitutional questions all-together.

According to CNN.com, there are approximately 120,000 legally married same-sex couples in the United States.

IRS Pronouncements – Community Property Treatment for RDPs and Same-Sex Spouses

The IRS recently has made significant pronouncements with respect to community property treatment for Registered Domestic Partners and same-sex spouses. In summary, the IRS:

  1. stated that community property is now to be reported by both spouses on their federal income tax returns; and
  2. confirmed there is no taxable gift upon creation of community property.

Up to this point, although same-sex RDP’s and same-sex spouses had to report 1/2 of community property earnings on each partner’s/spouse’s state income tax return, the “earning” partner/spouse had to report such individual’s entire earnings on his/her federal income tax return. However, on a moving forward basis, income reporting on the federal and state income tax returns will now be consistent – with 1/2 of the community property earnings being reported on each partner’s/spouse’s income tax return.

Although many practioners believed that creation of community property at the moment it is earned could not be viewed as a taxable