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Jewish World Review
Bookmark These: Everything you need to know about death and taxes
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
The federal estate tax — or "death tax" if you like — is itself dead. Sort of. While politicians decide whether and how to raise it from the grave, these sites should help you understand what's going on.
WHEN TO DIE?
SmartMoney's Bill Bishoff wrote this January article noting the bizarre result of congressional inaction. As things stand, the federal estate tax is temporarily gone. If you're really rich, but unfortunate enough to die in 2010, your heirs will feel super lucky. On the other hand, imagine those same relatives' disappointment if you survive into 2011, when steep Clinton-era estate taxes come "roaring back" onto the books, as now scheduled, Bishoff said. Each time the rules change, all sorts of complicated issues arise for anyone with a sizable net worth.
UNCLE SAM EXPLAINS
The Internal Revenue Service provides plenty of details on estate and gift taxes, starting at this page. But its explanations are complex enough to set heads spinning — and heirs looking for tax professionals.
IT GETS WORSE
There may be no federal estate tax (for now), but many states still impose inheritance taxes. Pennsylvania's tax ranges from zero on property passed to a spouse to 15 percent on anything left to unrelated beneficiaries, York lawyer Robert Clofine explains on his site.
New Jersey's inheritance tax ranges from zero to 16 percent. See this page about the full gamut of New Jersey taxes at the Retirement Living Information Center site.
Populist President Teddy Roosevelt called for an estate tax to deflate "swollen fortunes." This lively article from, of all things, an online law journal (University of Oregon School of Law) traces estate taxes as far back as Egypt of 1000 B.C. It outlines scenarios offered by members of Congress to restore some form of estate tax — maybe even retroactively to Jan. 1 — and warns of other liabilities, such as broadened capital gains taxes, which may hit heirs in 2010.
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