The Gift Tax Made Simple

UPDATE: The Treasury recently announced tax changes and updates in response to COVID-19, updates include an extension of the first installment of tax year 2020 quarterly estimated taxes to July 15, 2020. Some information in this post however requires additional IRS guidance and may require updating. We will update as soon as we receive additional guidance. Please see the latest information on tax deadlines and updates related to COVID-19 here.


Friends giving gifts at a baby shower.

The gift tax only kicks in after lifetime gifts exceed $11.400 million in 2019

The first thing to know about the federal gift tax is that gift givers—not gift recipients—have to pay it. Thankfully, you won’t owe the tax until you’ve given away more than $11 million in cash or other assets during your lifetime.

The lifetime exclusion was raised to $11.400 million in 2019. If you’re married, your spouse is entitled to a separate $11.400 million in 2019. So actually owing the gift tax is not a concern for most folks. But you may still have to file gift tax returns even though you don’t owe any tax. So please keep reading.

The annual gift tax exclusion provides additional shelter

The annual federal gift tax exclusion allows you to give away up to $15,000 in 2019 to as many people as you wish without those gifts counting against your $11.400 million lifetime exemption.  (After 2019, the $15,000 exclusion may be increased for inflation.)

Say you give two favored relatives $20,000 each in 2019 and give another relative $10,000. The $20,000 gifts are called taxable gifts because they exceed the $15,000 annual exclusion. But you won’t actually owe any gift tax unless you’ve exhausted your lifetime exemption amount.

Assuming you haven’t, the two taxable gifts simply reduce your lifetime exemption by $10,000 [($20,000 – $15,000) x 2 = $10,000]. The other gift of $10,000 is ignored, because it’s below the $15,000 annual exclusion for 2019.

If you give three individuals $15,000 each in 2019, these gifts are ignored because they don’t exceed the annual exclusion.

Gift taxes and estate taxes are connected

You have a $11.400 million federal estate tax exemption for 2019. You can leave up to that amount to relatives or friends free of any federal estate tax. If you’re married, your spouse is entitled to a separate $11.40 million exemption.

Gifts made during your lifetime will reduce your taxable estate. However, gifts in excess of the annual exclusion also reduce your estate tax exemption. In the earlier example, the two $20,000 taxable gifts made in 2019 would reduce your estate tax exemption by $10,000 to $11,390,000 ($11,400,000- $10,000), based on the recently enacted changes in estate law. The $10,000 gift in 2019 and the three $15,000 gifts in 2019 would not reduce your estate tax exemption.

Bottom line: Making annual gifts up to the exclusion ($15,000 in 2019) is a good way to reduce your taxable estate without any negative side effects.

Special rule for 529 plan contributions

Contributions to a 529 college savings plan are

How to Buy Jewelry for Your Girlfriend: A Simple Guide


When you’ve got a special woman in your life, it’s only natural to want to buy her nice things. Men love showing their affection to their girlfriend by showering her with gifts, especially jewelry.

However, while your girlfriend may be too polite to tell you, the jewelry arena is where most men screw up. Women are quite precise about the type of jewelry they like, more importantly, the type of jewelry they want to wear.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Keep reading for our top tips for picking out jewelry for your girlfriend.

How to Find Jewelry for Your Girlfriend

Remember, it’s not about you. What you like or think is pretty is irrelevant. What’s important is whether or not the jewelry you pick out for your special lady is something she’ll actually want to wear (and not just to make you feel better).

Observe Her Style

Start by paying attention to her. More specifically, spend a few days or weeks observing her style. If she typically only wears jewelry on special occasions, give her a reason to dress up by taking her to a nice restaurant. Take note of the style of jewelry she wears (colors, metals, design, flash, etc.).

Know Her Favorite Colors or Gemstones

It also helps to pay attention to her favorite colors or gemstones. Gemstones can have a lot of hidden meanings behind them.

For some people, gemstones have certain energies or powers they believe in. If your girlfriend is into spirituality, she may have certain gemstones she’s drawn to.

Alternatively, different gemstones represent different birthday months. For example, Jyotish Gemstones have stunning sapphires for September and all other months of the year.

Be Careful With Rings

When picking out jewelry for your girlfriend, we should also warn you to execute caution when it comes to buying her a ring. She may get the wrong impression, even if just initially. If she thinks you’re popping the big question (and you aren’t), it could lead to a major let down.

It can also be difficult to get the right-sized ring. However, this would be good practice for when it comes time to buy an engagement ring that fits on the first try.

Pay Attention to Quality

While it truly is the thought that counts, a well-intentioned thought backed up with a high-quality piece of jewelry is even better. You don’t have to break the bank, but if you want to buy something special for your girlfriend (and want her to know it), be willing to spend a little more. Save up for a few weeks or months if you must.

Get Help

Finally, be willing to ask for help. Men aren’t always blessed with the best sense of awareness, especially when it comes to things like picking out jewelry for your girlfriend. It’s okay, but know when to ask for help.

Talk to the people who have a better idea of her style, such as her best friends, sisters, etc.

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Fashion design – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fashion house poster from Budapest

Fashion design is the art and profession of designing clothes and related items like hats, purses, bags and shoes.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as attractive. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a range of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from.

Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture or bespoke tailoring. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Fashion design started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth, who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments he created. Worth’s success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 is considered fashion design.

During this period many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs began as an economy.

The garments produced by clothing manufacturers fall into three main categories, although these may be split up into additional, more specific categories

Haute couture[change | change source]

Until the 1950s, fashion clothing was predominately designed and manufactured on a made-to-measure or haute couture basis. Each garment was made for a specific client. A couture garment is made to order for an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Look and fit take priority over the cost of materials and the time it takes to make.[1][2] Due to the high cost of each garment, haute couture makes little direct profit for the fashion houses, but is important for prestige and publicity.[3]

Ready-to-wear (pret-a-porter)[change | change source]

Ready-to-wear clothes have elements of haute couture and mass market. They are not made for individual customers, but great care is taken in the choice and cut of the fabric. Clothes are made in small quantities to guarantee exclusivity, so they are rather expensive. Ready-to-wear collections are usually presented by fashion houses each season during a period known as Fashion Week. This takes place on a city-wide basis and occurs twice a year. The main seasons of Fashion Week include, spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, swim, and bridal.

Mass market[change | change source]

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