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Gift & Estate Tax

Opportunities in Gift and Estate Planning
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was signed into law on January 2, 2013.  ATRA provides for a maximum estate tax of 40%, with an annual exclusion adjusted for inflation. The estate tax exclusion amount for deaths in 2015, adjusted for inflation, is $5.43 million, an increase from $5.34 million in 2014.  The annual exclusion from gift taxes is $14,000 in 2015, the same as the 2014 exclusion.

ATRA allows for an unlimited deduction from estate and gift tax for spouses that postpones the tax on assets inherited from each other until the second spouse dies. This marital deduction applies only if the inheriting spouse is a US citizen. Widows and widowers can add any unused exclusion of the spouse who died most recently to their own, which enables them together to transfer up to $10.86 million, adjusted for inflation, tax-free - this is referred to as “portability”. The prerequisite is filing an estate tax return when the first spouse dies, even if no tax is owed.

The lifetime gift tax exclusion and the estate tax exclusion are expressed as a unified amount, currently $5.43 million per person, and it is possible to use this exclusion to transfer assets at either stage or a combination of the two.  If the limit is exceeded, taxes of up to 40% will be owed.

Special planning may be required for state estate taxes, as most states do not have the state tax exemption portable between married couples and, as a result, there is a difference between the state estate tax exemption and federal estate tax exemption.

The differences between federal and state estate exemptions along with continuation of portability provide an ongoing opportunity to review and explore options for the transition of family wealth and, in conjunction with lower asset values and interest rates, move substantial amounts of wealth out of taxable estates.

The IRS will be keeping a close eye on gift and estate tax plans and corporate donations. Compliance with the adequate disclosure regulations of 1999 is paramount; failure to do so can result in an audit window that never closes. In addition, the 2006 addition of §170 (f)(11)(E) to the Tax Code imposes standards on opinions of value, and noncompliance with these standards can result in time-consuming IRS challenges and costly penalties.

Opportunities for Corporate Noncash Charitable Contributions/Donations
Donation of a noncash asset requires a qualified appraisal.  Under §170 (f)(11)(C), taxpayers are required to obtain a qualified appraisal for donated property for which a deduction of more than $5,000 is claimed.

What We Do
Our valuation services related to the transfer of family wealth and noncash charitable contributions/donations include:

  • Valuation of closely held stock, including common, preferred and convertible-preferred
  • Discount studies, including but not limited to, lack of control, lack of marketability and built-in capital gains
  • Control premium studies
  • Valuation of intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, patents, contracts, technology and more)
  • Real and personal property valuation
  • Testing asset transfers to ensure that the transferor has received fair and adequate compensation for the property rights given up

Why American Appraisal?
Now, more than ever, families and corporations, and their tax advisors, need to engage qualified and trustworthy valuation professionals. With more than 50 years of providing valuation services related to gift and estate tax planning, American Appraisal has the expertise you require.

Our independence of audit or other attest services, rating agencies and investment banks makes us thoroughly objective; we have no conflicts of interest. We are a “Qualified Appraiser” as defined by the IRS, and we provide well-supported analyses that withstand IRS and judicial scrutiny.

Our consultants have the experience needed to value all types of company stock, tangible assets and intangible property that may be transferred or donated to a trust, Family Limited Partnership, charitable organization or other form of business or business entity.



Client Quotes

Excellent work on a very tight schedule.

Estate Principal and Attorney

"Your consultant is an extraordinary technician; patient, and a real team member."

Bluescape Resources Company LLC





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