September 1999


Will there be a major tax cut passed this fall? Both bills being considered in Congress as of early August contained provisions affecting the taxation of estates. The Senate bill would increase the amount of an estate that is exempt from taxation up to $1.5 million. The House version would rescind the estate tax altogether for deaths occurring after December 31, 2008, but eliminate the step-up in basis for assets in estates in excess of $1.3 million. With President Clinton threatening a veto, the ultimate outcome is, of course, uncertain. But what is clear is the movement to reduce the burden of the existing transfer tax system. What also is clear, is the need for CPAs in the estate planning area to remain focused on the objectives and goals of their clients. According to Lawrence Lipoff, a New York practitioner in the estate planning area and chair of the NYSSCPA Income of Estates and Trusts Committee, "the objective remains to help clients and their families accumulate and preserve wealth, under whatever tax system exists." *

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