Successful Use of the Zero Percent Tax Bracket

Business, IRS, Taxes

In the past, you used this strategy with your college student. Today, this strategy does not work with the college student, because the kiddie tax now applies to students up to age 24. But this strategy is a good one, so consider this: Do I give money to my parents or other loved ones to make their lives better?

If the answer is yes, is your loved one in the 0 percent capital gains tax bracket? The 0 percent capital gains tax bracket applies to a single person with less than $39,376 in taxable income and to a married couple with less than $78,751 in taxable income.

If the parent or other loved one is in the 0 percent capital gains tax bracket, you can receive extra benefits by giving this person appreciated stock rather than cash.

Example. You give Aunt Millie shares of stock with a fair market value of $20,000, for which you paid $2,000. Aunt Millie sells the stock and pays zero capital gains taxes. She now has $20,000 in after-tax cash to spend, which should take care of her for a while.

Had you sold the stock, you would have instead paid taxes of $4,284 in your tax bracket (23.8 percent times the $18,000 gain).

Of course, $5,000 of the $20,000 you gifted goes against your $11.4 million estate tax exemption if you are single. But if you’re married and you made the gift together, you each have a $15,000 gift-tax exclusion, for a total of $30,000, and you have no gift-tax concerns other than the requirement to file a gift-tax return that shows you split the gift.

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