Gift Giving Can Help Family and Friends Now, Save on Taxes Later

With many people reeling from the recent financial turmoil of the last 12 months, tax-free gift giving offers a way for individuals to provide immediate and longer-term financial stability of friends and family.

Raleigh, NC, March 12, 2009 --( Preserving multigenerational wealth for loved ones is a common goal among most Americans, but recent economic turmoil has people concerned about how best to make this happen. Dale Merritt, wealth strategist for Banyan Rock & Talent, a Raleigh-based insurance and financial service provider, believes that seniors exercising tax-free gift giving can improve the entire family's financial stability while reducing future tax liabilities.

Many seniors with investments have experienced reductions in net worth over the past 12 months. Some are looking for alternatives that can extend the value of their remaining assets. Tax-free gift giving is one way to provide for immediate and longer-term financial stability of friends and family.

"If used to pay down a mortgage or to pay off other consumer debt, monies distributed today, which would be subject to estate and inheritance taxes later, can extend the value and usefulness of multigenerational wealth," says Merritt. "When doing so, people do need to be aware of the associated gift tax rules set forth by the government."

Individuals are allowed to give a gift of money or property to another person up to $13,000 without having to file a report to the government. If a person's spouse joins in giving the gift, the amount increases to $26,000. A person can give a gift to as many people as they want and avoid the gift tax as long as the amount is less than the annual limit established by the government.

If the gift amount is more than $13,000, then the donor will have to report the gift to the Internal Revenue Service. Although reporting is required, taxes may not need to be paid. The government allows an individual to give up to $1 million in gifts that exceed the annual limit in their lifetime before they have to start paying taxes. Additional gift tax information is available at

An example of gift tax rules in action would be: if an individual gave $25,000 to each of their four children in a given year, they would need to report the transactions, but not be required to pay a gift tax. The person would use up $48,000 of their $1 million lifetime tax-free limit (four times the $12,000 that exceeds the $13,000 per-person annual limit for 2009).

Some exceptions do not count toward the annual limit on gift tax. They include:
• Tuition or medical expenses that you pay directly to an educational or medical institution or health care provider for another person's benefit
• Gifts to a spouse
• Gifts to a political organization for its use
• Gifts to charities

About Dale Merritt:
Dale Merritt is a wealth strategist with Banyan Rock & Talent. Having grown up in Zebulon, Dale is eager to provide financial opportunities to the community in which he was raised, offering real estate and retirement planning as well as other financial services to eastern Wake County. Merritt has several securities registrations including Series 6, 7, 63 and 66, as well as a Long-Term Care Insurance license and a Life Insurance license. Merritt believes in remaining active in the community. In addition to being part of the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce and the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce, he maintains active membership in the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association and the Appalachian State University Triangle Alumni Chapter. He and his wife, Katie, also volunteer with the Paw Prints Animal Rescue in Garner. For more information, call (919) 782-0033 or visit

About Banyan Rock & Talent:
Based in Raleigh, Banyan Rock & Talent is a collaboration of registered reps with FSC Securities Corporation. Founded in 1986 on the philosophy that strength, growth and the diversification of their client's hard-earned money is made possible through knowledge, diligence and years of experience, Banyan Rock & Talent specializes in areas including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities, retirement strategies, market timers, life insurance, disability insurance and applied real estate. All strategists are registered representatives offering securities through FSC Securities Corporation, a registered broker-dealer, and member of FINRA/SIPC. For further information, visit 3356 Six Forks Road Raleigh, NC 27609, or call (919) 782-0033.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC. Banyan, Rock & Talent is not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation or registered as a broker/dealer or investment adviser.

Investors should be aware that there are risks inherent in all investments, such as fluctuations in investment principal. With any investment vehicle, past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Material discussed herewith is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice.

Banyan Rock & Talent
Cindy Stranad