October 31, 2007
Good news. If you make it to 2010 and die that year, your heirs won't have to pay an estate tax. But the bad news is if you are healthy enough to make it one more year and die in 2011, the tax kicks back in.
It's hard to say, on whose infinite wisdom this is all based. The estate tax or what some call the death tax exemptions increased in 2006, the exemption increases again in 2009, and the tax goes away in 2010, for one year.
What will congress do about the tax situation between now and 2011?
If you look at history, Congress would enact the estate tax to finance wars, like the Civil War and World War One. But now the taxes seem to be used for just about anything Congress can think of to spend money on.
Come to think of it, that's what they do with most of our money no matter what kind of tax it is.
Some would argue it only affects those with the highest income, and those people should be taxed more. It is true the current exemption for paying estate taxes is an estate worth at least $2 million. So most of us have no worries.
But isn't this tax anti 'American Dream?' For those who do achieve wealth of $2 million or more, for which they have already paid taxes, should they not be able to pass it onto their heirs without paying taxes again?
We would like for the death tax to stay dead. Maybe congress will agree. Of course we know of the "sure" things in life. Death and Taxes.
What we hope is less sure in life is a death tax.