How the 2021 Estate Tax Exemption will Affect You

| June 02, 2021

Every year the federal government decides how much of your estate isn't subject to taxes when you die. This year, thanks to inflation, it increased to $11.7 million.

This means, when you pass away, the value of your estate is calculated, and any amount more than $11.7 million is subject to the federal estate tax. A married couple has a combined exemption for 2021 of $23.4 million.

The estate tax isn't a simple 40% on your taxable amount. The estate tax rate on anything exceeding $11.7 million is a progressive tax—18% to 39% for the first $1 million, then a flat 40% for anything over that.

It's worth noting that when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the estate tax exemption in 2018, the change came with an expiration date. In this case, on Jan. 1, 2026, the estate tax exemption is set to drop back to what it was before 2018: $5.6 million.

Without going too deep into President Biden's proposed tax changes, he's pushing for an individual taxation plan that would hit those with incomes above $400,00 hardest. The proposed top income tax rate would increase the present law's 37% rate to 39.6%. According to the White House, this increase will affect only the top 1% of taxpayers. Further, his capital gains tax proposal would likely affect taxpayers whose incomes exceed $1 million.

So what might these taxes look like for you going forward? If Biden's tax plan to reduce the exemption to $3.5 million comes to fruition, consider offsetting your numbers by gifting earlier on in retirement or using life insurance as an estate planning tool.

Tax changes are inevitable, so now might be the perfect time to talk through some financial options and review your long-term plans. Taxes are complicated, so you'll want some professional guidance. Contact us today to discuss.

Adapted from IRS1

Adapted from Congress.gov2


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