Estate & Gift Tax Basics: Estate Values that Require Estate Tax Planning

Estate and Gift taxes are "transfer taxes" charged to the estates of people who leave assets that are worth more than the state and Federal Exclusion Amounts on this chart. Current tax law gives a surviving spouse the right to take advantage of any federal estate and gift tax exemption left unused by the predeceased spouse. So, the estates of decedents who are survived by a spouse may elect to pass any of the decedent’s unused exclusion to the surviving spouse. This election is made on a timely filed estate tax return for the decedent with a surviving spouse. Call me if you are planning or managing an estate that is affected by these state and federal estate tax thresholds:

Estate & Gift Tax Threshold Amounts
Year of Death
Maximum Federal
Estate & Gift Tax Rate
Federal Estate Tax Exclusion Amount  
Lifetime Gift
Exemption
Annual Gift Exclusion
MA Estate Tax Threshold
CT Estate Tax Threshold
2017
$5,490,000
This unified credit includes taxable gifts made during a person's lifetime
40% $5.49 mil combined with value of estate $14,000
(unchanged)
$1 million
(unchanged)
$2 million
(unchanged)
Historical Data for Past Years
2016
$5,450,000
40%
$5.45 mil
$14,000

$1 million

$2 million
2015
$5,430,000
40%
$5.43 mil
$14,000
$1 million
$2 million
2014
$5,340,000
40%
$5.34 mil
$14,000
$1 million
$2 million
2013
$5,250,000
40%
$5.25 mil
$14,000
$1 million
$2 million
2012
$5.12 million per person
35%
$5.12 mil
$13,000
$1 million
$2 million
2011

$5 million/person
This is a unified credit, which covers taxable gifts during a person's lifetime

35%
$5 million, combined with value of estate
$13,000
$1 million
$2 million

2010
Option 1

Modified Carry over basis
$1.3 million, plus $3 million for qualified property of surviving spouse.

 
$1 mil.
$13,000.00
$1 million
$3.5 million
2010 Option 2
$5 million per person
35%
$5 million, combined with value of estate
$13,000
$1 million
$3.5 million
2009
$3.5 million
45%
$1 mil.
$13,000
$1 million
$ 2 million
2008
$2 million
45%
$1 mil.
$12,000
$1 million
$ 2 million
2007
$2 million
45%
$1 mil.
$12,000
$1 million
$ 2 million
2006
$2 million
46%
$1 mil.
$12,000
$1 million
$ 2 million
2005
$1.5 million
47%
$1 mil.
$11,000
$950,000
$ 2 million
2004
$1.5 million
48%
$1 mil.
$11,000
$850,000
 
2003
$1 million
49%
$1 mil.
$11,000
$700,000
 
2002
$1 million
50%
$1 mil.
$11,000
$1 million
 

Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Estate Taxation