2010 Tax Relief Act

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On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “2010 Tax Relief Act”). The 2010 Tax Relief Act included a number of taxpayer-friendly changes to federal income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. This discussion focuses on the changes to the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes enacted as part of the 2010 Tax Relief Act.

Estate Tax Changes

Each person dying during the two-year period between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, will have an available exemption to shield $5 million in assets from federal estate tax. To the extent that the value of a taxpayer’s estate exceeds the $5 million exemption, reduced by the taxpayer’s use of exemption during life, then such excess will be taxed at a rate of 35 percent.

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