One of the most heavily discussed aspects of tax reform proposals currently being debated in Congress is the repeal of the federal estate tax (also commonly referred to as the “death tax”).

The Senate majority recently unveiled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This piece of legislation would not eliminate the estate tax entirely. Instead, it would double the exemption threshold so only extremely high-value estates would be subject to the tax.

In contrast, a piece of legislation working its way through the House of Representatives would fully repeal the estate tax. Though, the repeal would only go into effect in 2025. Similar to the Senate bill, the estate tax exemption would double in the meantime, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Reason for the Conflict Between the Chambers

Why does there appear to be disagreement over repealing the estate tax? Simple – the cost.  The total next tax reduction is calculated to be $1.5 trillion over ten years. If they go over that amount, they would violate budget reconciliation instructions. The estate tax repeal is a costly provision to include in tax reform. This is why the tax is being modified to help smooth over other aspects of the overall tax reform legislation.

For example, members of the House Ways and Means Committee debated lowering the amount of the tax cut by $74 billion to stay under the $1.5 trillion ceiling. One of the strategies was by pushing back the estate tax repeal by one year.

Proponents of repealing the estate tax were on board with delaying the repeal since it provides a path to a full repeal of the estate tax.

Renton Estate Planning Lawyer Ready to Assist

There is no doubt that taxes are a major issue when it comes to effective estate planning. If you have a high-value estate that may be subject to the federal estate tax, you need legal counsel and advice. This is where the Law Offices of Dan Kellogg PLLC can help. For more than 40 years, Dan Kellogg has been practicing law in King County and Washington and he has specialized in the field of estate planning for over two decades. Contact his law office today to schedule a one-on-one meeting.