Archive for the ‘estate tax’ Category

The Obama-GOP Tax Deal May Be Bipartisan, But It Isn’t Stimulus and It Isn’t Smart

A modest thought experiment: Here is a check for $858 billion. Your job is to boost short-term economic growth. What would you do with the money? President Obama and a huge bipartisan majority of the Senate have given us their answer (and the House is likely to add its support tonight or tomorrow): They’d extend […]

The Lame-Duck Congress: So Many Tax Issues, So Little Time

As usual in December, personal finance columns are filled with end-of-year tax advice—all those things you should do before New Year’s to cut your tax bill. But 2010’s end-of-year issues are different: This year, it’s Congress and the president who need to act fast on a long list of tax policies. Everyone knows about the […]

Death Tax Revival Murders Yeoman Ranchers

Who needs death panels? Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) claims that ranchers and farmers in her state are planning on ending dialysis or other life-extending medical treatment before the end of the year so they can avoid paying the estate tax. This may cost the Treasury some revenue, but there is a silver lining for deficit […]

State Estate Taxes: Windfall Gold in Expiring Tax Cuts

As Congress delays action on extending the 2001-03 tax cuts, state revenue officers may be secretly hoping for continued legislative paralysis. Why? Because the federal estate tax, repealed for this year, will be back in January —and many states are in line for a windfall if the levy returns to its pre-2001 form. It’s not […]

Estate Taxes, Capital Gains, and Paperwork

The one-year lapse of the federal estate tax this year came with the unwelcome requirement that heirs assume their benefactors’ bases for some assets they inherit in 2010, as Howard Gleckman explained in a recent TaxVox post. For some mid-sized estates, that meant higher taxes. But Howard touched only briefly on the burden the new […]

No Estate Tax, But 2010 Still May Not Be So Great for Heirs

No joke: The other day a financial planner told me about a client who asked if he could rework his father’s end-of-life advance directive to take into account the ever-changing estate tax. In other words, could he pull the plug on the old man if it looked like he was going to die before January […]

Philanthropy and the Estate Tax

When President Obama proposed to cap the value of itemized deductions at 28 percent, the philanthropic sector came out foursquare against the idea, claiming that it would decimate charitable contributions. Cutting the tax savings from gifts to charities for high-income taxpayers would raise the after-tax cost of giving and lead people to give less. For taxpayers in the 35 percent top tax bracket, the cost of giving away a dollar would jump 10 percent from 65 cents to 72 cents (ignoring any state tax savings). That would lead to perhaps a 2 percent drop in giving—about $9 billion. (Len Burman explained the math in TaxVox last year.)

In Life, Baseball and the Estate Tax, Timing is Everything

I came of age as a Royals fan, and I agree with George Brett’s comments at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, “I don’t like those Yankees still”. George Steinbrenner’s Yankees tortured my beloved Royals in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I’ll never forget my dad flipping across news channels so my family could watch Brett tear out of the dugout over and over after umpires nullified his home run because Steinbrenner’s Yankees objected to the amount of pine tar on his bat. Ridiculous.

An Estate Tax Deal: Pay Now, Die Later

News reports suggest that the Senate may soon consider restoring the estate tax with an option allowing people to prepay their tax before they die. Details are apparently still in flux as senators negotiate. We—and maybe they–don’t know yet what they’ll propose for the basic estate tax but it’s unlikely to be harsher than the 2009 version.

Die Now

If you’re single, not in great health, and are worth a lot but not a really huge lot, you could do your heirs a favor and die today or tomorrow. Sure, you may want to hang around to ring in the New Year but that could cost the beneficiaries of your will a chunk of change.