Changes To Estate And Gift Taxes For 2015 in Washington State

The “applicable exclusion amount” is the amount of a deceased person’s estate that passes free of estate tax.  This differs from the unlimited marital deduction that applies when one spouse dies and transfers all of his or her interest in property to the surviving spouse.  There is an applicable exclusion amount for federal estate tax purposes and an applicable exclusion amount for the state of Washington’s estate tax purposes.      Under both federal and Washington law, the applicable exclusion amount is subject to adjustment.  For federal estate taxes, the applicable exclusion amount for 2014 is $5,340,000.  That will increase to $5,430,000 for 2015.  Washington’s applicable exclusion amount for 2014 is $2,012,000.  Washington’s Department of Revenue determines the state applicable exclusion amount based on the change in the October consumer price index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton metropolitan area.  When the October consumer price index has been determined, the Department of Revenue will announce the change, if any, in Washington’s applicable exclusion amount.  That is expected to occur in December.

Gifts are subject to federal gift tax, generally payable by the donor of the gift.  However, there is an annual exclusion from gift tax.  A person may give up to $14,000 to each donee of a gift and no gift tax is payable on that gift.  The annual exclusion was $14,000 for 2014 and will remain at that level for 2015.

If you need assistance with your estate planning, contact Per E. Oscarsson or one of the other attorneys in Beresford Booth’s Estate Planning and Probate Group.

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