Estate Tax Legislation – Down to the Wire

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Although Congress has been focused on health care and two wars, virtually everyone agrees that there will be estate tax legislation in the final 30 days of 2009, and the repeal scheduled for January 1, 2010, is not going to happen.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is expected to bring a bill to the floor this week that would make permanent the 2009 estate tax levels ($3.5 million exemption, 45% rate), though a one-year patch also remains a possibility. This bill does not include other features like reunification, portability and indexing for inflation, due to concerns that these features increase the “cost” of the bill and make it less likely to pass given the limited time for consideration.

The Senate will take up the legislation toward the middle of December. Several lobbying groups feel that there is greater support in the Senate for reunification, portability and indexing.

If some or all of these features are included in the Senate bill, but not the House bill, they will get resolved in conference. Lobbying groups predict it will be down to the wire, with any agreement occurring between December 23 and December 30.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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