May 5, 2005 - Phil Hodgen

Compromise on Estate Tax Repeal Legislation is Signalled (H.R. 8)

The House of Representatives passed a bill a few weeks ago (H.R. 8 is the bill number) which would permanently repeal the estate tax. It ain’t gonna happen, folks, as long as Democrats roam the earth.

Proof of that came yesterday. Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, signalled his willingness to compromise on something short of full repeal of the estate tax.

Currently the estate tax rules are slowly modified through 2009, fully repealed in 2010, then come back to their pre-modification status in 2011. What a sausage! Rep. Thomas apparently sees the reality–compromise is necessary–and sees the insanity of the present law. Speaking to a reporter for Tax Analysts, he said: “If in fact you’re not able to repeal [the estate tax], the next best thing is certainty.” News item here from the Tax Analysts website. Lexis subscribers go find 2005 TNT 86-2. [$]. (Lexis non-subscribers–you aren’t missing much by reading the public version).

He’s absolutely right. Many of my clients are frozen in their tracks, wondering what to do given the current uncertainty about how the law will go. And I’ll bet he’s right about the Republican inability to force a repeal. He should know–he’s in Congress. (Me, on the other hand? I’m not a politician, but I play one on TV.)

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