Federal Estate Tax Repealed Effective January 1, 2010

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Congress Allows the Estate Tax to Disappear Into the Sunset – At Least Temporarily

Author: Gary D. Rothstein

The specter of federal estate tax repeal on January 1, 2010 has been looming since the enactment of the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRA”). Despite numerous legislative efforts on both sides of the aisle during the intervening years to deal with EGTRA’s peculiar estate tax repeal provisions, the United States Congress unexpectedly allowed the federal estate tax repeal to take effect under EGTRA’s sunset provisions. Consequently, estates of individuals who die after December 31, 2009 will not be subject to federal estate tax. Nevertheless, if Congress continues to take no action, under EGTRA the estate tax automatically will be reinstated at 2001 levels on January 1, 2011. As a result of this incongruous outcome, members of Congress have promised to take up the issue of estate tax early in 2010.

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