It may seem like you just can’t catch a break when it comes to paying taxes, but according to this article in the Wall Street Journal there are a few little known tax breaks that could end up saving your family money. Some are new—so new, in fact, that it is still before the Senate—such as the tax exemption for employer provided cell phones and smart phones; and some—like the tax free income homeowners can earn if they rent out their home for 14 days or fewer during a year—have been around for a few years.
Of particular interest to our clients is the gift tax exclusion (another lesser known tax break that has been around for a few years.) As stated in the article, “Anyone may give anyone else up to [$13,000] per year in cash or property, free of gift tax. One partner of a married couple can double the gift and the exemption. So a couple with three married children and six grandchildren could give away over $300,000 a year, tax-free.”
We say that this gift tax exclusion may be of particular interest to our clients because if you are looking for a way to lower your estate tax, or anticipate applying for government medical services in the next few years, giving gifts to loved ones right now may help you achieve your goal—if you go about it the right way. One caution: if you make large gifts now, they could prevent you from qualifying for a government subsidy, Medi-Cal, in the event you need long term care in a nursing facility. At the moment, however, there are ways that you can both (1) make tax free gifts to family members AND (2) minimize (or even eliminate) the risk to a long term care subsidy should you need it. However, such gifts must be very carefully managed so as to be compliant with both tax law and with Medi-Cal rules. Expert guidance is essential.
Contact our office if you would like guidance as to how any of these “Robin Hood” tax saving techniques may help your family this year.