As many estate planners expected, the Internal Revenue Service has raised the limit on tax-free transfers during life or at death. Starting in 2014 that amount, known as the basic exclusion, will go up to $5.34 million per person, from $5.25 million this year. Married couples, together, transfer up to $10.68 million tax-free. Tax geeks call this portability. Still, portability is not automatic. The prerequisite is filing an estate tax return when the first spouse dies, even if no tax is owed. This return is due nine months after death with a six-month extension allowed. If the executor doesn’t file the return or misses the deadline, the spouse loses the right to portability.
Jacobs, Deborah L. (2013, October 31). IRS Raises Limit on Tax-Free Lifetime Gifts. Forbes.com. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com.