On December 3, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4154—known as the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009—which was introduced in November by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.). H.R. 4154 applies to estates of those dying after December 31, 2009, as well as for gifts made after December 31, 2009. In essence, the act permanently extends existing federal estate and gift tax law. It provides for a $3.5 million estate tax exemption, a $1 million gift tax exemption, a maximum estate and gift tax rate of 45 percent, and continuation of the current rules concerning "step-up in basis" for property that a taxpayer receives from the estates of those dying after 2009.
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