Print This Article

Estate Tax and Gift Tax Anti-Claw Back Regulations

In 2021, the life-time estate and gift tax exemption is $11.7 million per donee (dead person or giftor). The exemption is scheduled to roll back to pre-2018 levels in 2026 unless extended by Congress. IRS Notice IR-2019-189 accompanied final regulations known as Anti-Claw Back regulations. These regulations essentially state that if you make a gift now and the exemption is reduced later, you still get the benefit of the exemption rate in place at the time of the gift.

The regulation is at 26 C.F.R. § 20.2010-1(c). The language is as follows:

Special rule in the case of a difference between the basic exclusion amount applicable to gifts and that applicable at the donor’s date of death. Changes in the basic exclusion amount that occur between the date of a donor’s gift and the date of the donor’s death may cause the basic exclusion amount allowable on the date of a gift to exceed that allowable on the date of death. If the total of the amounts allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on the decedent’s post-1976 gifts, within the meaning of section 2001(b)(2), to the extent such credits are based solely on the basic exclusion amount as defined and adjusted in section 2010(c)(3), exceeds the credit allowable within the meaning of section 2010(a) in computing the estate tax, again only to the extent such credit is based solely on such basic exclusion amount, in each case by applying the tax rates in effect at the decedent’s death, then the portion of the credit allowable in computing the estate tax on the decedent’s taxable estate that is attributable to the basic exclusion amount is the sum of the amounts attributable to the basic exclusion amount allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on the decedent’s post-1976 gifts.

(1) Computational rules. For purposes of this paragraph (c):

(i) In determining the amounts allowable as a credit:

(A) The amount allowable as a credit in computing gift tax payable for any calendar period may not exceed the tentative tax on the gifts made during that period (section 2505(c)); and

(B) The amount allowable as a credit in computing the estate tax may not exceed the net tentative tax on the taxable estate (section 2010(d)).

(ii) In determining the extent to which an amount allowable as a credit in computing gift tax payable is based solely on the basic exclusion amount:

(A) Any deceased spousal unused exclusion (DSUE) amount available to the decedent is deemed to be applied to gifts made by the decedent before the decedent’s basic exclusion amount is applied to those gifts (see §§ 20.2010-3(b) and 25.2505-2(b));

(B) In a calendar period in which the applicable exclusion amount allowable with regard to gifts made during that period includes amounts other than the basic exclusion amount, the allowable basic exclusion amount may not exceed that necessary to reduce the tentative gift tax to zero; and

(C) In a calendar period in which the applicable exclusion amount allowable with regard to gifts made during that period includes amounts other than the basic exclusion amount, the portion of the credit based solely on the basic exclusion amount is that which corresponds to the result of dividing the basic exclusion amount allocable to those gifts by the applicable exclusion amount allocable to those gifts.

(iii) In determining the extent to which an amount allowable as a credit in computing the estate tax is based solely on the basic exclusion amount, the credit is computed as if the applicable exclusion amount were limited to the basic exclusion amount.

(2) Examples. All basic exclusion amounts include hypothetical inflation adjustments. Unless otherwise stated, in each example the decedent’s date of death is after 2025.

(i) Example 1. Individual A (never married) made cumulative post-1976 taxable gifts of $9 million, all of which were sheltered from gift tax by the cumulative total of $11.4 million in basic exclusion amount allowable on the dates of the gifts. The basic exclusion amount on A’s date of death is $6.8 million. A was not eligible for any restored exclusion amount pursuant to Notice 2017-15. Because the total of the amounts allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on A’s post-1976 gifts (based on the $9 million of basic exclusion amount used to determine those credits) exceeds the credit based on the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount allowable on A’s date of death, this paragraph (c) applies, and the credit for purposes of computing A’s estate tax is based on a basic exclusion amount of $9 million, the amount used to determine the credits allowable in computing the gift tax payable on A’s post-1976 gifts.

(ii) Example 2. Assume that the facts are the same as in Example 1 of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section except that A made cumulative post-1976 taxable gifts of $4 million. Because the total of the amounts allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on A’s post-1976 gifts is less than the credit based on the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount allowable on A’s date of death, this paragraph (c) does not apply. The credit to be applied for purposes of computing A’s estate tax is based on the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount as of A’s date of death, subject to the limitation of section 2010(d).

(iii) Example 3. Individual B’s predeceased spouse, C, died before 2026, at a time when the basic exclusion amount was $11.4 million. C had made no taxable gifts and had no taxable estate. C’s executor elected, pursuant to § 20.2010-2, to allow B to take into account C’s $11.4 million DSUE amount. B made no taxable gifts and did not remarry. The basic exclusion amount on B’s date of death is $6.8 million. Because the total of the amounts allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on B’s post-1976 gifts attributable to the basic exclusion amount (zero) is less than the credit based on the basic exclusion amount allowable on B’s date of death, this paragraph (c) does not apply. The credit to be applied for purposes of computing B’s estate tax is based on B’s $18.2 million applicable exclusion amount, consisting of the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount on B’s date of death plus the $11.4 million DSUE amount, subject to the limitation of section 2010(d).

(iv) Example 4. Assume the facts are the same as in Example 3 of paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section except that, after C’s death and before 2026, B makes taxable gifts of $14 million in a year when the basic exclusion amount is $12 million. B is considered to apply the DSUE amount to the gifts before applying B’s basic exclusion amount. The amount allowable as a credit in computing the gift tax payable on B’s post-1976 gifts for that year ($5,545,800) is the tax on $14 million, consisting of $11.4 million in DSUE amount and $2.6 million in basic exclusion amount. This basic exclusion amount is 18.6 percent of the $14 million exclusion amount allocable to those gifts, with the result that $1,031,519 (0.186 × $5,545,800) of the amount allowable as a credit for that year in computing gift tax payable is based solely on the basic exclusion amount. The amount allowable as a credit based solely on the basic exclusion amount for purposes of computing B’s estate tax ($2,665,800) is the tax on the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount on B’s date of death. Because the portion of the credit allowable in computing the gift tax payable on B’s post-1976 gifts based solely on the basic exclusion amount ($1,031,519) is less than the credit based solely on the basic exclusion amount ($2,665,800) allowable on B’s date of death, this paragraph (c) does not apply. The credit to be applied for purposes of computing B’s estate tax is based on B’s $18.2 million applicable exclusion amount, consisting of the $6.8 million basic exclusion amount on B’s date of death plus the $11.4 million DSUE amount, subject to the limitation of section 2010(d).

(3) [Reserved]

IRS Regulations

Start Here

Enter your name and email address to keep up with what’s new at EZ Elder Law!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

[Return to Top]