Estate Tax

Estate taxes, also known as inheritance or death taxes, are taxes on an individual's right to transfer property at death.
News & Analysis as of

Tax Tips

Internal Revenue Service Temporarily Holding Off on Issuing New Regulations - The Internal Revenue Service is temporarily holding off on issuing new rules while evaluating the impact of executive orders from President...more

Double whammy: Federal estate tax repeal could substantially increase tax for California residents

With all of the talk about potential repeal of the federal estate tax, many people have decided to postpone further estate planning, hoping that the repeal will occur. However, Californians should hold out no such hope....more

Court Orders Administrator To Elect Portability

When the IRS enacted the portability election provisions in 2011, which allowed estates of married taxpayers to pass along the unused part of their estate and gift tax exclusion amount to their surviving spouse, it remarked...more

A “Thriller” in Tax Court: The Estate of Michael Jackson and IRS Dispute Valuation of Pop Star’s Image

How much were the late King of Pop’s name and image worth when he died? His estate put the figure at $2,105 but the IRS believes the value is at least $434 million. That’s a huge discrepancy and with penalties and interest...more

Properly structured foreign gifts of real property property can be estate and gift tax free

The investment in U.S. real property by Non-residents can be structured to minimize estate and gift taxes. The key is to structure the investment through a limited liability company, limited partnership or corporation so...more

House Discusses How to Tax Small Businesses

A proposal presently being discussed before the House Ways and Means Committee (where tax laws begin) addresses how small business income will be taxed. President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress both desire...more

Copying is Best in the ING World

Not only is strict adherence to the structure set out in prior favorable rulings best, it is essential when it comes to obtaining a favorable ING ruling. The provisions in the trust document need to carve a very fine line...more

IRS Limiting GST Private Letter Rulings and Presubmission Conferences

At a recent Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference, an IRS Chief Counsel branch chief advised that due to budget cuts: a. The IRS has temporarily suspended issuing private letter rulings regarding modifications to...more

The Future Of Proposed IRS § 2704 Modifications Is Uncertain

Proposed changes to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 2704, which would impact the valuation of transfers of family business interests at death, come at an interesting time politically given the Trump Administration’s desire to...more

Quick and Easy Tax Strategies Sometimes Backfire as New Jersey Estate Learns

From time to time, clients ask whether their estates will save on death taxes if they simply transfer title to their residence to family members while continuing to live in the residence until they die. We advise clients...more

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) and Sales to Grantor Trusts

I. Introduction - A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or an installment sale to a grantor trust can be useful in transmitting wealth in a tax-efficient way, and often one of these techniques is superior to other...more

Estate Tax Changes Past, Present and Future

I. INTRODUCTION - This outline is a selective and evolving review of the history of the modern federal estate tax. It originated during the attempts to repeal the estate tax in President Clinton’s second term and...more

State and Federal Tax Law Developments Affect Same-Sex Couples and MA Residents with Out-of-State Real Estate

Recent changes in state and federal tax laws impact same-sex couples and any Massachusetts residents who own real estate in another state. Clients who may be affected by these changes should act soon to protect the...more

No Automatic Closing Letter, But Wait – There Are Alternatives

IRS Notice 2017-12 - The Service issued FAQs in June of 2015 to let practitioners know that they were no longer routinely issuing closing letters. The Service instructed practitioners that they would now have to request...more

How do recent updates to estate tax laws impact your future?

In 2013, Kiplinger ranked the states with the scariest "death taxes." At that time, New Jersey topped the list, with an estate tax exemption of only $675,000, and with an inheritance tax imposed upon transfers to other than...more

White House: Tax Reform Coming in March

The White House announced that President Trump’s tax reform plan will be coming soon (around March 13th)....more

Potential Repeal of the ‘Death’ Tax

Assuming you have not been living under a rock for the last two years you have heard of Donald J. Trump, now President Trump, speak about the need to repeal the so-called “Death tax”. In addition, you are likely aware that...more

Estate Tax Reform Predicted for 2017

A key goal for those of us who practice with Ward and Smith is to inform our clients and future clients of potential developments that may impact them.  With respect to Trust and Estate Law, the potential for repeal of the...more

Estate Plan Taxes | Estate Planning Attorney

What Does a Trump Presidential Victory Mean to My Estate Plan and Estate Taxes? Regardless whether you lean towards the political left or right, the results of the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections will...more

Changing Your “Home” For State Tax Purposes – Not So Easy

It’s February, the middle of winter, and many of us are longing for warmer weather. Some with second homes in Florida or Arizona and the like start thinking about changing their primary residence for state income and estate...more

Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case Moving Forward

Most estate tax practitioners will tell you estate tax it is all about valuation when assets are other than cash and marketable securities. The estate tax case of the Michael Jackson estate is an ideal demonstration. Tax...more

Late Portability Election Denied for Estate That Was Over the Estate Tax Return Filing Threshold

One of the key changes of the 2010 Tax Relief Act is the addition of “portability” of the first deceased spouse’s unused basic exclusion amount, commonly referred to as the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount. Under...more

A 2017 Repeal of the "Death Tax?"

The estate tax, also referred to as the "death tax," is a tax on the property you own at the time of your death. Currently, there is a federal estate tax exemption of $5,490,000 per person, up from $5,450,000, in 2016. This...more

Follow up on possible Estate Tax Repeal: Important Basis Planning Technique in Estate Planning

In last week’s Tax Tip our Henry Grix succinctly described the current lay of the land regarding estate tax repeal. This Tax Tip focuses on one narrow but very important aspect in anticipating such action, or possible...more

Stretch out estate tax on business interests

Frequently, heirs of successful entrepreneurs are forced to sell off business interests at “fire sale” prices to help pay federal estate taxes. To alleviate the tax strain, Internal Revenue Code Section 6166 allows heirs to...more

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