North  “With all the hoopla coming out of Washington regarding the health care overhaul, not much attention is given to the fact that a hefty tax is scheduled to take a siesta in 2010.  George W. Bush and the Republican Congress in 2001 tried to kill the estate tax, which they liked to call the ‘death tax.'  However, they could not get the 60 votes required in the Senate, so, instead, they scheduled declining tax rates and increasing exemptions from the tax through 2009 with a zero estate tax in 2010.

Under current law, the exemption amount from the estate tax in 2009 is $3.5 million, which removes all but a few estates from Uncle Sam's tax.  However, the exemption amount is scheduled to fall back to $1 million in 2011 and the tax rate will go back to 50 percent.  It would be a safe bet to wager that Congress will borrow an idea from Rahm Emanuel and, ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.'  Currently, there are three major bills in Congress dealing with a ‘fix' of the estate tax.”