Federal Estate and Gift Tax Rates and Exclusions

The following is a chart of the federal estate tax exclusions and the bottom and top tax rates that have been in effect since 1977 (assuming no taxable gifts before 1977). Federal gift tax exclusions were the same as the estate tax exclusions, except for the years 2004 through 2010, when the federal gift tax exclusion amount was limited to $1,000,000.

Year


Estate Tax Exclusion

Estate Tax Initial Rate (Above Exclusion)

Estate Tax Maximum Rate

1977

$120,667

30%

70%

1978

$134,000

30%

70%

1979

$147,333

30%

70%

1980

$161,563

32%

70%

1981

$175,625

32%

70%

1982

$225,000

32%

65%

1983

$275,000

34%

60%

1984

$325,000

34%

55%

1985

$400,000

34%

55%

1986

$500,000

37%

55%

1987-1996

$600,000

37%

55%

1997

$600,000

37%

60%[1]

1998

$625,000

37%

60%[1]

1999

$650,000

37%

60%[1]

2000-2001

$675,000

37%

60%[1]

2002

$1,000,000

41%

50%

2003

$1,000,000

41%

49%

2004

$1,500,000

45%

48%

2005

$1,500,000

45%

47%

2006

$2,000,000

46%

46%

2007-2008

$2,000,000

45%

45%

2009

$3,500,000

45%

45%

2010[2]-2011

$5,000,000

35%

35%

2012

$5,120,000

35%

35%

2013

$5,250,000

40%

40%

2014

$5,340,000

40%

40%

2015

$5,430,000

40%

40%

2016

$5,450,000

40%

40%

2017

$5,490,000

40%

40%

Notes to table:

[1]  The 60% maximum tax rate actually represents an additional 5% that was added to estates of more than $10,000,000 from the years 1997 to 2001 in order to eliminate the benefit of the progressive tax table.  The additional 5% ended at a taxable estate of $17,184,000, which is when the average tax rate reached 55%.  So the top marginal tax rate during those years was 60%, but the top average tax rate was 55%.

[2]  The federal estate tax in 2010 was actually optional, and estates could elect to pay no estate tax and instead accept a limit on the increase in the income tax basis on assets included in the estate.

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