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Federal Estate Tax Exclusion Fixed for 2013 and Beyond

On January 1, 2013, Congress enacted P.L. 112-240, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 [“ATRA”], which, among other things, sets the federal estate tax exclusion under 26 U.S.C. §2010 at $5,000,000 for estates of decedents dying in the year 2013. The maximum tax rate for estates which exceed the $5,000,000 exclusion was formerly 35%; it is now 40% (for decedents dying in 2013). Although the $5,000,000 exclusion and 40% tax rate have been characterized as “permanent”, Congress may choose to make further changes in the future. Just as the IRS had increased the 2012 exclusion to $5,120,000, it is expected to increase the 2013 exclusion to $5,250,000.

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