The Benefits of Gifting
The obvious manner to minimize estate taxation is simply to reduce the size of your estate. It is also permissible by the Internal Revenue Service for couples to “split” gifts to a third party; this is accomplished by having the spouse “join” in the gift.
Also, remember each person has a $ 5,430,000.00 estate and gift tax exemption which is in addition to each person’s individual $ 14,000.00 ANNUAL gift tax exclusion for a gift to any third party notwithstanding the relationship of the donor. Therefore, in addition to the gift that a couple may bestow upon a beneficiary in the amount of $ 28,000.00 per year per recipient, a couple may take advantage of a split gift by one spouse consenting to the gift made by the other partner to the marriage. This is a fantastic approach to reduce the taxable estate and also permits tax free transfers to family members or other beneficiary.
Splitting gifts (exclusive of gifts which qualify for the annual exclusion) requires that you meet Internal Revenue Service compliance: (a) you must be married at the time of the gift; (b) each spouse must be U.S. citizens at the time of the gift, and (c) the “nongifting” spouse must demonstrate the gifting intent by consenting to the act of the gift on the Gift Tax Return (IRS Form 709); this is accomplished by the nongifting spouse executing the gift tax return. This election will apply to all gifts made by both spouses during the year in which the election is declared.
Therefore, if a spouse elects to split a gift made (which is in excess of $ 28,000.00 transferred to one person this calendar year) the other spouse may “consent: ” to the gift by signing the gift tax return of the transferor. The non donor spouse of a split gift will not be considered the grantor of the property for estate tax considerations; therefore, if a gift is returned to the estate because it was made within three years of the death of the Grantor
(that is another discussion for another date) the gifted property will be included in the estate of the spouse who initiated same.