by: David M. Frees III, Esquire
This is not a partisan article. I don't really care who moves this issue forward. But, I believe that is essential for the American public to know what Congress wants to do with the estate tax. Right now, there is no tax. It will however, shortly return with a vengance and only 1 million dollars will be sheltered (and, as this includes life insurance) and the value of assets above that will be taxed at 45% to 55%.
Congress has alludeed, to increasing this shelter amount but has taken no action to do so.
This makes rational planning very difficult.
Also, Congress did recently act to eliminate short term GRATs (Grantor retained Annuity Trusts) which will limit an important planning technique used by many tax payers.
Tax planning by families should be rational and predictable. Until now, Congress has failed to make long term tax and estate planning possible.
Here is some video from the Senate floor on this issue.
Again, while the Senator is a republican, I have no politcal bias on this issue. But I feel that Congress owes a definative answer to the American people.