Beating the Transfer Tax Trap

If you are facing a potentially large estate tax liability, you may already be aware of the annual gift tax exclusion that allows you to reduce the size of your taxable estate by making gifts up to $14,000 per year to an unlimited number of individuals (married couples can make gifts up to $28,000). But did you know that you can also make “qualified transfers” that are not considered gifts for gift tax purposes? A “qualified transfer” applies to any amount paid on behalf of another individual to a qualified educational institution as tuition or to any qualified provider of medical services for the care of that individual. However, when making such transfers, be sure that payments are made directly to the school or medical provider on an individual’s behalf, and not to the individuals themselves, in order to qualify for this exclusion.


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