An Update on Developments, or 'lack thereof', on Estate Tax Reform, and a Little Estate Tax Trivia | Monroe Township - Middlesex County
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An Update on Developments, or ‘lack thereof’, on Estate Tax Reform, and a Little Estate Tax Trivia

December 2, 2012

Filed under: Current Events,Estate Planning,Estate Taxes — Neel Shah @ 2:19 pm

Two articles about this week sought to shed some light on the estate tax developments, political positions as it pertains to the estate taxes & the “Fiscal Cliff.”

The Associated Press went the route of detailing the specifics of bills passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate in July and the Republican-led House in August:

Senate: Does not address the estate tax, allowing the top rate to increase from 35 percent to 55 percent. Currently, the first $5.1 million of an estate is exempt from the federal estate tax; the exemption rises to $10.2 million for married couples. If the tax cut expires, the exemption would be reduced to $1 million for individuals and $2 million for couples.

House: Extends the top rate of 35 percent through 2013, with the larger exemption [$5.12 million.]

You can find the article by clicking here

A Yahoo! article speaks a little more specifically about President Obama’s views on the estate tax, divisions among the Democrats within the party and it’s impact on illiquid assets such as farms and ranches (click here for the full article.) A testament to the discord between the two parties is their inability to agree upon a label for the tax:

The divide between the political parties over the tax is so wide that they cannot even agree on a name for it. Democrats call it the estate tax, as it is described in law.

Republicans, who generally want to repeal it, have another, more provocative name. They call it the “death tax” and characterize it as a penalty on being wealthy and successful.

Ever wonder what the highest rate in history has been for the Estate Tax? Although it has fluctuated, the rate hit a high of 77% before World War II.

According to the article:

“It was a Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, that proposed the first permanent inheritance tax, arguing that inheritance of “enormous fortunes” does a society no good.

“No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax,” Roosevelt said.

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