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equivalent of the uni ed credit and the family owned business exclusion total $1,300,000 The eligibility rules to qualify for this new exclusion are complex and extensive; therefore, they must be closely reviewed before assuming that an estate will be able to avail itself of this exclusion A uni ed credit is allowed against the computed estate tax The uni ed credit is subtracted from the taxpayer s estate or gift tax liability However, the amount of the credit available at death will be reduced to the extent that any portion of the credit is used to offset gift taxes on lifetime transfers The amount of the credit is equivalent to a taxable estate of $600,000 Therefore, a decedent can have a taxable estate of up to $600,000 before any estate tax is due The Tax Reform Act of 1997 increased the uni ed credit over a period of years Beginning in 1998, the taxable estate equivalent to the credit was increased to $625,000; and will increase as follows through 2006: 1999, $650,000; 2000 and 2001, $675,000; 2002 and 2003, $700,000; 2004, $850,000; 2005, $950,000; and 2006, $1,000,000 The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), signed into law June 7, 2001, made broad, sweeping changes to several areas of the tax law including the estate, generation-skipping transfer, and gift taxes In short, the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes are phased out from 2002 to 2009 and eventually repealed in 2010 The current law, however, sunsets on December 31, 2010, and becomes effective again as it did back in 2001 The gift tax is not repealed; however, the rates decrease to 35 percent by 2010 The following is a brief description of the changes made by EGTRRA while they last The highest tax rate for all three transfer taxes will reduce as follows from 2002 through 2009: 2002 50 percent, 2003 49 percent, 2004 48 percent, 2005 47 percent, 2006 46 percent, and 2007 2009 45 percent In 2010, the gift tax is cut to 35 percent while the other two transfer taxes are 0 percent (ie, repealed) In 2011, the rates return to the 2001 level of 55 percent when the law sunsets The uni ed tax credit, or applicable exclusion amount, for the estate tax increases from 2002 through 2009 as follows: 2002 2003 $1 million, 2004 2005 $15 million, 2006 2008 $2 million, 2009 $35 million The uni ed credit, or applicable exclusion amount, returns to the 2001 level of $675,000 in 2011 The uni ed credit, or applicable exclusion amount, is increased to and remains at $1 million in 2002 This remains constant through 2010, until it returns to the 2001 level of $675,000 The quali ed family-owned business deduction that was added to the law by the Tax Reform Act of 1997 (discussed above) is repealed in its entirety in 2004 It reappears, however, in 2011 when the law sunsets4 Several other credits may be allowed against the computed estate tax Most common is a credit for state estate and inheritance taxes (described next) Depending upon the nature, situs, and other aspects of certain assets included in the gross estate, the following other credits may be allowed against the computed estate tax: prior transfers, foreign death taxes, death taxes on remainders, and recovery of taxes claimed as credits Filing of the Form 706 is due nine months after the decedents date of death The executor or administrator may request a six-month extension of time to le the return If any tax is due with the return, an estimated payment of said tax is due six months from the date of death, with any balance due with the ling of the return While payment of the estate tax cannot normally be extended, IRC Section 6166 provides relief for certain estates Should the estate assets include an interest in a closely held business that exceeds 35 percent of the adjusted gross estate, an election by the executor or administrator would permit the deferral and payment of the estate tax, that is attributable to the inclusion of the closely held business interest in the estate, in installments over several years The requirements of this code section are strict; therefore, the executor or administrator should carefully consider all available options, advantages, and consequences of making this election One of these options, available to closely held corporations, is an IRC Section 303 stock redemption If funds are available, the corporation may redeem stock held by the executor or
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For a more detailed discussion of EGTRRA, see Alan D Kahn, Mark H Levin, and Robert H Colson, The 2001 Tax Act, Estate Tax Repeal The CPA Journal, September 2001, p 26
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