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The estate tax is not “dead”. It has been repealed, but, without action by Congress, will come back in 2011 with only a $1 million exemption and a top 55% tax rate. The Obama administration attempted to permanently fix the exemption at $3.5 million, but Congress balked.

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The Estate Tax is Not Dead


Blog Category:
6/19/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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The estate tax is “dead”! Or is it?

Greg Turza is a fellow estate planning attorney who practices in Skokie, Illinois.   He reResurrection of Death Taxad a recent article on the estate tax situation, and what follows is his summary.  His post also includes a link to the more detailed article.  And you are welcome to contact me with any of your questions.

The good news is the estate tax is repealed! The bad news is, not for long. Since Bush's 2001 tax cuts went into effect the exemption from estate taxes climbed year by year from $1 million to a high of $3.5 million in 2009.

This year, 2010, is the repeal year but the Bush administration could never garner the 60 votes he needed in the senate to make the repeal permanent.

The consequence is the so-called "sunset" rule. As of January 1, 2011 the law automatically goes back to the way it was in 2001. In the case of the estate tax that means only a $1 million exemption and a top 55% tax rate.

The Obama administration advocates extending the 2009 exemption of $3.5 million on a permanent basis. This appeared to be where the Senate was headed on May 18th when an agreement was reached that had the support of more than 60 senators.

But the deal fell apart when the Democratic leadership decided that it will not allow the legislation to come to the floor for a vote unless the legislation has the support of more than half of the Democrat's 59 votes. Since the Democrats lack 50% support within their party the legislation failed.

Regardless of what happens there will be an estate tax next year. The only question is whether the exemption will be $3.5 million or $1 million –and $ 2.5 million is a huge difference in the plans for millions of taxpayers.

For the full story click
here.

The “up-in-the-air” situation with the estate tax is of great concern, particularly for family farmers - many of whom are economically depressed, even though their land may look valuable on paper to an outside observer. Often several generations are dependent on the income that can be generate off the land, supplemented with income from other sources.

It is best to have a plan of action that you can execute quickly once the direction is finally established.  If you’d like to discuss ways to assemble a plan in advance, either comment on this blog with your questions or call me at 618-549-4529 or, toll-free, at 800-336-4529 to meet in person.



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