The IRS has issued the Applicable Federal Rate (“AFR”) for September, keeping the AFR rate under Code §7520 unchanged from August at 3.4%. What this means is that GRATs are still very attractive estate planning devices for taxpayers. The AFR rate is the interest rate the IRS requires taxpayers to apply to the amount gifted to the GRAT to value the gift at zero. If the gifted assets appreciate at an amount greater than 3.4%, then notwithstanding any valuation discounts attributable to the gifted assets, the appreciation in excess of 3.4% would pass gift tax-free to the GRAT’s beneficiaries. Thus, the lower the AFR rate, the more attractive GRATs are to taxpayers.
In light of proposed legislation in Congress requiring only long term GRATs and limiting valuation discounts, now may be the time to implement a GRAT.