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  • Writer's pictureKitsap Community Foundation

Estate tax exemption sunset: A broken record you need to know


broken record

We’re giving you fair warning that the team at Kitsap Community Foundation is not going to stay quiet when it comes to emphasizing the importance of understanding at least the basics of the estate tax exemption sunset. Yes, we will be that broken record! 

 

As a reminder, the estate tax exemption is the total amount a taxpayer can leave to family and other individuals during life and at death before the hefty federal gift and estate tax kicks in. This exemption is scheduled to drop big time after December 25, 2025. For 2024, the estate tax exemption is $13.61 million per individual, or $27.22 million per married couple. (Later this year, the IRS will issue inflation adjustments for 2025.) For 2026, without legislation to prevent it, the exemption is scheduled to fall back to 2017 levels. Adjusted for inflation, this would total roughly $7 million per person. 

 

Of course, no one will know for sure that the estate tax exemption is sunsetting until it actually sunsets. Certainly the upcoming election could impact the likelihood that Congress will intervene and extend the tax cuts from 2017 that increased the estate tax exemption in the first place. 

 

In any event, it is essential that you and your team understand what’s going on here so that you can be prepared to encourage your donors to discuss planning options with their advisors over the coming months while the issue is in limbo. You want your donors to know that you are on top of it! 

 

The net-net here is that a lot more people–including many of your donors–could be subject to estate tax in the not-too-distant future. This, in turn, means that your endowment fundraising strategies could get a shot in the arm as your donors work with their advisors to plan gifts and bequests to decrease their taxable estates through the charitable deduction. 

 

At the very least, the estate tax exemption is a fantastic conversation piece for your donor meetings, regardless of whether the sunset actually occurs at the end of next year. Potential tax increases tend to get donors’ attention, and you want to be right there in the mix to ensure that gifts to your endowment fund are on the radar. 

 

Please reach out to the Kitsap Community Foundation team! We’d love to help you seize this opportunity.

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