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Marital Deduction Questions

What is a marital deduction?

The marital deduction is a tax deduction from an estate tax that is technically utilized by the estate or trust into which the assets of a married person is passed when he or she dies. Tax Experts on JustAnswer can help answer your questions concerning marital deductions as well as explain how it is different from gift tax marital deduction, estate tax marital deduction, etc.

Can a marital deduction be claimed against income or through beneficiaries?

In most situations marital deductions cannot be claimed against income or somehow passed through to beneficiaries. A marital deduction is a deduction that is available only against estate tax payable by the estate or trust.

Is there a marital deduction for a spouse married to a non-US citizen?

There is normally no marital deduction for a spouse of a non-US citizen. However, the exemption of the deceased person is the same regardless of the beneficiary, so it's only an issue for an estate that is over the allowable exemption amount. If it is over the exemption amount, tax free lifetime gifts can be made to the non-US citizen spouse ($100,000 per year). This is one way to transfer the property to the non-US citizen spouse and not use up the estate tax exemption available at death.

What is the limit someone can gift before it affects the marital deductions?

Generally a citizen spouse may gift up to $100,000 of assets to a non-citizen spouse free of gift tax. However, for estate tax purposes, any assets left to a non-citizen spouse will not qualify for the marital deduction. Accordingly, to the extent such assets when combined with the rest of the taxable estate exceeds $2,000,000 ( i.e. in 2006-2008) it will be subject to estate tax on the death of the citizen spouse. This situation is normally dealt with through the use of a Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT). Generally, this trust requires at least one trustee to be a U.S. citizen or corporation who will be responsible for ensuring that all taxes due are paid prior to any assets leaving the country.

Is it true that you can give money to a spouse and it is not taxable?

Transfers between spouses are 100% deductible for Gift Tax purposes. This is known as the "unlimited Gift Tax marital deduction". However, the value of the gift, whether it was for a future or present interest, is included in the giver's gross estate on death in order for the deduction to apply. If the gross estate does not include the transfers to the spouse, no marital deduction applies.

Marital deduction is perhaps the best-known estate tax reducer however; it also is among the most misused deduction and can also trigger higher taxes or other headaches. If you are having questions on how to use the marital deduction and are not sure where to turn for credible and expert answers, Tax Experts on JustAnswer can help answer your questions and point you in the right direction.

Ask a Tax Professional

Wallstreet Esq.
Wallstreet Esq., Tax Attorney
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Experience:  10 years experience
16356563
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Tax Professionals are online & ready to help you now

Wallstreet Esq.
Tax Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 570
10 years experience
Wendy Reed
Enrolled Agent
Satisfied Customers: 3052
15+ years tax preparation and tax advice.
Mark D
Enrolled Agent
Satisfied Customers: 985
MBA, EA, Specializing in Business and Individual Tax Returns and Issues

Recent Marital Deduction Questions

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    Hi,
    I'm an importer but spend a lot of time outside the country, incurring expenses for my company. A lot of times the businesses either won't invoice my US company in the foreign country (because its complicated for them) or I share expenses with another company that I work with at origin. I have two questions:
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    My ex-fiance and I bought a house last year and I put down a $150k down payment. The house was $450k and we have a $250k mortgage. Anyway, the house is in her name because I had a business that was not doing very well and she had a stable and sizable income ($120k/year). We are now separated and she is about to marry another man...I am in the house and paying all of the bills. She offered to sell me the house for what we owe ($250k to pay off mortgage) only if I give her $30k in cash. $280k for this house is a steal. The problem is that I had a bankruptcy last year and can't qualify for a mortgage. Now my parents are willing to give me the $250k to pay off the mortgage as a pre-inheritence, but that will be all they could do. I do have a old company pension in the amount of $65k that I would like to cash in and pay her the $30k. I know I will be hit hard with taxes and penalties, but I think I will be left with the $30k to pay her after all is done. Am I missing anything? I am 50 years old if that means anything.
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