On September 11, 2009, I attended an all day seminar on estate planning put on by the Arizona Wealthcounsel users group of which I am a member. Each member of the group was asked for an opinion (guess) about when and what Congress will do to the estate tax exemption amount. The guesses varied widely.
I said I thought that late in 2010, Congress will pass a law that is retroactive to January 1, 2010, that taxes the estates of people who die in 2010 with estates exceeding $1,000,000 and that the $1,000,000 exemption amount scheduled to begin in 2011 will become permanent.
TheHill.com has a story today that contains guesses from members of Congress with respect to what Congress will do with the estate tax.
A split among Democrats and a busy fall agenda is likely to have lawmakers hold off this year on debating the future of the estate tax, even though it expires at the end of the year. Experts and aides say a more realistic scenario involves Congress passing a one-year extension and then tackling the issue as part of broader tax reform next year. The estate tax hits people who inherit high-value property after a death, and Democrats are keen on avoiding the loss of much-needed revenue when it expires.