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The New Estate Tax

One of the bigger issues with the Republican plans to reform federal taxes had to do with the estate tax. Most Republicans would like to see it done away with entirely.

The initial bill passed in the House of Representatives did just that, by phasing the estate tax out over a period of time. However, the Senate version of the bill was more cautious and just changed the exemption limit, while keeping the estate tax in place.

This was necessary because for procedural reasons, tax reform could only increase the federal deficit by a set amount. Repealing the estate tax entirely would have put the Senate over that amount. The two chambers reached a deal on reconciling their tax reform bills.

They agreed to keep the estate tax, as Business Insider reported before the law was passed in an article titled “Republicans have a final deal on their tax bill — here’s what’s in it.”

The final version of the tax bill kept the estate tax, but it nearly doubles the current $5.6 million exemption to $11 million. That means that an even smaller percentage of estates will be subject to the federal estate tax in the future.

Some people will still need to make estate plans that keep the new estate tax in mind. Others whose estates will no longer be subject to the tax, should visit an elder law attorney to make changes to their estate plans, if they want to do so.

Reference: Business Insider (Dec. 14, 2017) “Republicans have a final deal on their tax bill — here’s what’s in it.”

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