Monday, February 08, 2010

IRS Silent So Far On New US Tax Rules For Inherited Wealth


The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is taking a wait-and-see approach on issuing guidance dealing with taxes on inherited wealth, unsure whether Congress will act in the next several months to change the rules again.

Advisers to the wealthy say they are left without a roadmap on a number of issues related to the disposition of assets left behind by those who have died since Jan. 1. In particular, they are looking to IRS for rules on how a new capital gains-tax regime that took effect this year will apply to estates.

"There are no forms that give us any idea how or what we are supposed to report," said Stephen Litman, an estate planner at the Minneapolis law firm of Leonard, Street and Deinard. "This leads to significant administrative challenges for families."

Congress is weighing whether to set permanent rules for taxing estates, and whether to make those rules retroactive to the beginning of this year, but such action is weeks, and maybe even months, away.

The 2001 tax-cut law was aimed at gradually eliminating estate taxes, but repeal proponents at the time lacked the congressional majorities needed to do so permanently.

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