According to the Wall Street Journal Online (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203863204574346930384296134.html), the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to block the repeal of the estate tax that is set to take effect January 1, 2010. The debate continues on what will be done to provide a more permanent solution and additional certainty to estate planning practitioners. Current thought is that Congress will, at a minimum, hold the Federal estate tax exemption amount at $3.5 million for individuals, rather than let the estate tax lapse in 2010.
Let’s hope they give this some more serious thought, and soon, as virtually everything is taking a back seat to the current health care debate. If they do not take action, the estate tax will be repealed in 2010 (with changes in basis treatment) and the exemption amount will return to $1 million in 2011.