Following the November elections, Congress is expected to embark
on a major tax and spending debate that may have significant fiscal
policy implications for years to come. In addition to expiring
Bush-era marginal tax rates for individuals, expiring business tax
incentives, steep budget cuts and a scheduled increase in the
federal debt limit, Congress must act to avoid a major increase in
the estate tax.
If current estate tax rates are allowed to expire after 2012,
small and mid-sized family-owned businesses seeking to transfer
between generations could be subject to a potentially crippling tax
In a broad tax bill passed in late 2010, Congress set the estate
tax rate at 35 percent with a $5 million exemption per individual.
After 2012, these levels will revert to pre-Bush-era levels (55
percent with a $1 million individual exemption) unless Congress
passes legislation by the end of the year to extend the...
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