Virginia Estate Tax Considerations
There is no current Virginia Estate Tax. The 2006 General Assembly House Bill 5018 repealed the state Estate Tax in the Commonwealth of Virginia for estates of decedents whose date of death was on or after July 1, 2007.
Estate Taxes may vary from state to state and may not have the same consequences as Federal Estate Taxes. Additionally, other types of taxes may impact Estate Taxes generally. For example, Federal Estate Taxes and some state Estates Taxes are affected by Gift Taxes. The amount of the exclusion allowable is deducted from the number of living gifts that the decedent made during their lifetime. Therefore, it would be best to consider the gifts a person made during their lifetime when calculating Estate Tax exclusions. During a probate or trust administration, it is essential to locate any gift tax returns that have been filed on the decedent’s behalf within Virginia Estate Tax Considerations.
Virginia Estate Income Tax
Federal Estate Tax
Modern History of the Federal Estate Tax
Federal Estate Taxes are a constantly changing landscape. On December 17, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (“TRUIRJCA”). As far as Federal Estate Taxes are concerned, TRUIRJCA changed the Federal Estate Tax exclusion to $5,000,000 with a top tax rate of 35% for estates exceeding $5,000,000 until December 31, 2012.
Before the ATRA, described below, after December 31, 2012, unless it had been amended, the Federal Estate Tax would have returned to the 2002 Federal Estate Tax rate, which was $1,000,000 exclusion and a top tax rate of 55%. Due to the then uncertainty of the Federal Estate Tax, estate planners learned to be diligent in creating estate plans that prepared for the likelihood that the estate tax would return to the 2002 Federal Estate Tax rate. This should have allowed for more flexibility in their estate plan design.
2013 Federal Estate Tax Law
In early 2013, President Barack Obama and Congress enacted the “American Taxpayer Relief Act” (“ATR ”). As far as federal estate taxes are concerned, the ATRA maintained the $5,000,000 exclusion created by TRUIR CA. With the inflation index, the $5,000,000 exclusion is approximately $5,250,000 in 2013. The top tax rate for 2013 and future years will now be 40%.
The exclusion amount means that an individual can transfer approximately $5,250,000 during their life and at death, without invoking an Estate Tax or Gift Tax on the est te. However, if the estate is worth more than $5,250,000, then the amount over that $5,250,000 is taxed at a top tax rate of 40% for the Federal Estate Tax. For example, if an individual’s estate, at death, is worth $7,250,000, then under ATRA, $5,250,000 is excluded from the Federal Estate Tax, and the remaining $2,000,000 is taxed at a top tax rate of 0%. Without ATRA, only $1,000,000 would have been excluded from the Federal Estate Tax, and the remaining $6,250,000 would have been taxed at a top tax rate of 5%. Therefore, without ATRA, $3,437,500 would have been lost to Federal Estate Taxes instead of $800,000.
The new estate tax laws have a long future ahead, which should allow individuals and families concerned with estate planning and the recent history of an uncertain tax code to take the necessary steps to meet with a skilled and experienced attorney to draft these precious and vital documents for Virginia Estate Tax Considerations.
There is no Virginia Gift Tax. The 2006 General Assembly House Bill 5018 repealed the state Estate Tax in the Commonwealth of Virginia for estates of decedents whose date of death was on or after July 1, 2007. This repeal also repealed the state Gift Taxes in the Commonwealth of Virginia for Virginia Estate Tax Considerations.
In many ways, Gift Taxes and Estate Taxes go hand-in-hand. Much like Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes vary from state to state and change between the state and federal levels. Gift Taxes are imposed on the Donor of a gift, and the recipient of a gift must report it as Income Tax. Additionally, it is essential to note that not all gifts are taxable. For example, gifts below the exclusion limit for that year, gifts to charities and political organizations, and gifts to spouses who are United States Citizens are not taxable as Income Tax.
Federal Gift Taxes Exclusion Limit
The 2013 exclusion amount for Federal Gift Taxes was increased for gifts made on or after January 1, 2013, to an annual amount of $14,000, with inflation, per individual or organization. Federal Gift Taxes are subject to change as illustrated in 2002 ($11,000), 2006 ($12,000), and 2009 ($13,000). This means that you may gift $14,000 to as many different people and organizations as you would like annually, without incurring any Federal Gift Tax up to the Estate Tax exemption limit to be non-taxable. In addition, a married couple may join their annual gift exemptions to allow for a non-taxable gift of $28,000 per individual each year.
Virginia does not collect Inheritance Tax. The 2006 repeal by the General Assembly also repealed state Inheritance Taxes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Whereas Estate Taxes are taxes on the decedent’s estate directly as a whole, Inheritance Taxes are taxes on the beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate. Inheritance Taxes determine how much in income taxes the beneficiaries of an estate will have to pay. If any, they are based on the net value of the portion of the estate they are receiving.
Federal Inheritance Tax
To calculate Federal Inheritance Taxes, you must first add up the fair market value of the entire estate, known as the ‘Gross Estate.’ After the value of the ‘Gross Estate’ is calculated, the estate will remove any deductions and adjustments, including estate costs such as court costs in probate, administration costs, and attorney’s fees. After the deductions are calculated from the ‘Gross Estate,’ the estate’s net value remains and will act as the basis for inheritance taxes. This basis will determine if the beneficiary is subject to any Income Taxes from the estate and how much. This is known as the Inheritance Tax. The amount of Federal Inheritance Taxes can be affected by various factors such as the estate’s net value and the relationship between the decedent and the beneficiary. Therefore, it is essential to speak with an attorney or tax expert to maximize your tax advantage.
Virginia Estate Income Tax
Protect Heirs by Considering Income Taxes When Drafting a Will or Trust
An estate will need to pay the income taxes, federal and state, that the decedent would have had to pay for the year before their death based on the income the decedent had realized at that point. Therefore, the estate’s estate administrator or executor will need to ensure that these taxes are paid out of the estate. Additionally, to benefit an estate with pre-tax dollars, estate planners need to factor income tax elements into constructing an estate plan to maximize the tax advantages of retirement plans such as a 401(k).
Income Taxes on Donations
It is also important to note that the Donor of a gift and the Donee should recognize that the Donees of a gift will be responsible for paying Income Taxes on the amount realized for a gift.
The Spousal Exemption is a tax exemption applicable to Estate Taxes that allow a beneficiary spouse to receive a decedent spouse’s estate tax-free regardless of the estate’s value.
*This exemption applies only to legally married people, and the beneficiary spouse must be a citizen of the United States.*
In early 2013, President Barack Obama and Congress signed into law the “American taxpayer Relief Act” (“ATRA”). As far as the Federal Estate Tax is concerned, this Act changed the Federal Estate Tax exclusion to approximately $5,250,000, with inflation, with a top tax rate of 40% for estates exceeding $5,250,000 in 2013 and future years going forward. In addition, ATRA, in conjunction with the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act” (“TRUIRJCA”), also allowed for spousal portability, meaning that if a decedent spouse leaves their estate to the beneficiary spouse, the beneficiary spouse will receive the Spousal Exemption. However, portability also allows the decedent spouse to pass their estate with their $5,250,000 exclusion. Therefore, the surviving spouse has a potential $10,500,000 exclusion they can use to pass to their heirs and beneficiaries for Virginia Estate Tax Considerations.
*The Spousal Exemption does not apply to beneficiary spouses who are not United States citizens, even if the beneficiary spouse is a permanent U.S. resident. If a Non-U.S. Citizen Spouse is named as the beneficiary of the decedent spouse; they will be subject to the estate tax exclusion amount the same way that a non-spouse beneficiary would be.*