Estate Tax a Contentious Issue in Congress and for Taxpayers

Law Firm Newswire




Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 14, 2012 – The estate tax debate in Congress could shift towards the adoption of a top rate of 45 percent on individual estates over $3.5 million.

Another potential development is moving the per-person exemption from $5.12 million to $3.5 million for farms and small businesses. It is not just Republicans who are resisting President Obama’s push on the estate tax. Some Democrats are also worried about the effects of tax increases.

The estate tax was branded some years ago as the death tax, a strategy which seems to have been effective from the perspectives of both opponents and proponents. For farmers, ranchers and business owners, the per-person exemption is their focus because, if it is lowered, more of them will be impacted and will have to fork over more money to the federal government. Very wealthy people who are far above that income level are more concerned with a top tax rate of well over 40 percent.

Death tax debate and rhetoric is predictably charged because of the range of views on how much wealth should be transferred from generation to generation. In one sense, it could be argued there is a bias against wealthy people because taxing them simply for dying seems absurdly unfair. The rationale for doing so has remained somewhat unclear, except that it seems to be intended for prohibiting great wealth to be easily passed to the younger generations who may not have worked hard for their inheritance.

On the other side, it almost seems cruel to take money away from people who have done nothing immoral and committed no crimes. Additionally, that money is given to the federal government, an organization that is rightly often exposed in the press for wasting funds.

“Regardless of which ideological side of the debate one is on regarding the estate tax, proper planning is essential,” said Fairfax estate planning attorney Lisa McDevitt.

Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Phone: 571-223-7642
Toll Free: 866-602-7850

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