CLOSING PERCEIVED LOOPHOLE
Congress created the generation skipping tax almost 40 years ago in 1976 and ushered in an age of increasing complexity for the tax code, always complicated and cumbersome, to fix a problem perceived at the time (and since) of avoiding taxable events by transferring assets to “several generations while avoiding the Federal Estate Tax” via use of trusts and other transfers of property rights. At the time, Congress saw how wealthy families were creating life estates in their kids, followed by a life estate in their grandkids and followed by a life estate of their great grandkids.
Life estates are not subject to federal estate tax. This meant that wealthy families who had the inclination to create these arrangements and the money to pay an attorney to do so avoided paying large amounts of taxes and smaller families and estates were paying more in taxes than wealthier ones. As such, Congress decided to tax any transfer of property or assets from an individual to another individual that is more than one generation away from the grantor, in the case of family members, or from one person to another who is at least 37 1/2 years younger than the grantor, in the case of nonfamily members. The tax applies even if the transfer is via a trust