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"Fiscal Cliff" Deal Includes Only Small Change to Estate Tax
As part of the tax compromise Congress approved to avoid tumbling down the “fiscal cliff,” the amount that is exempted from estate taxes will remain the same as it has been for the past two years, although the maximum tax rate will rise by 5 percentage points.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act, which passed the House by a vote of 257 to 167, permanently sets the estate tax exemption at $5 million for an individual (now $5.43 million due to inflation) and $10 million for a couple (now $10.86 million).
But Congress did make one change to the prior rules: the maximum tax rate on inheritances above these levels will increase from 35 percent to 40 percent.
The gift tax and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions will also remain the same as last year, adjusting for inflation.