New Year-New Numbers

Ha!   And you thought you knew it all.

A number of laws employ formula calculations to determine  base numbers.  The government just announced the calculated amounts for the next calendar year.  Get your pencils out – you will want to keep these 2015 numbers someplace handy.

$5.43 million – the estate, gifts and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exclusion (the 2014 amount was $5.34 million)

40% – maximum rate for estate, gift and GST taxes (no change from 2014)

$14,000 – annual exclusion amount for making gifts without incurring a gift tax or using the lifetime exclusion (no change from 2014)

$147,000 – limit on annual gifts to noncitizen spouses (increase from $145,000)

$12,300 – threshold for imposition of 3.8% Medicare surtax for trusts and estates (increase from 2014)

For Medicaid, new figures for the Spousal Impoverishment Standards:

$23,844 – Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance

$119,220 – Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance

$2,980.50 – Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance

$1,966.25 – Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (remains the same until July 1, 2015, new amount not yet announced)

$552,000 – Minimum Home Equity Limits

$828,000 – Maximum Home Equity Limits

Viewed in the abstract, these figures seem pretty boring.  If you are on either end of the wealth spectrum, however, they start taking on some importance.  On the wealthy end, in 2015 a couple can shield $10,680,000 from estate taxes, and hold back $12,300 from distribution in trust income without incurring the additional surcharge tax.  On the other end of the spectrum, one spouse can qualify for Medicaid and the other spouse can shield up to $119,220 in community assets.