Hmm. Maybe next year's estate tax exclusion won't go down to a million dollars per person. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports this week that the Senate Budget Panel has approved a spending plan that includes an assumption that last year's estate tax exclusion of $3.5 million dollars, and last year's top estate tax rate of 45%, will be reinstated. That's really good news for most of us, who don't have that much money to begin with. It means that most people will be able to pass their estates to their heirs without having to worry about the estate tax.
This may come about via the same reconciliation procedure that the Senate and House used to get health care legislation passed, so, it's not a done deal.
The story reports that "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who is the chamber's chief tax writer, declined to say yesterday which tax provisions could be approved through reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to pass them in the Senate with a simple majority. Democrats control the chamber with 59 votes. "I have some ideas," said Baucus, adding "we don't even have a budget yet" and "we're getting way ahead of ourselves."