This article was originally posted on Steve Leimberg’s Estate Planning Email Newsletter as Archive Message #2813.
Wealthy individuals who postpone taking appropriate action to eliminate estate taxes may not be able to use the $11,580,000 gift tax exemption after 2020. A political change in November 2020 could lead to lower estate and gift tax exemptions effective as early as January 1, 2021. In Quarty v. U.S., the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a retroactive tax increase does not violate the Constitution. The court held that the increase in the estate and gift tax rates was a rational means to raise revenue, noting that an increase in tax rate was merely an increase of an existing tax, not a wholly new tax, citing other court decisions as precedent. Reducing the exemption is not a new tax. 170 F.3d 961, 969 (ninth Cir. 1999). The time to act is now!
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