In an earlier post, “Dueling Estate, Gift, and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Senate Bills,” we discussed two different Senate bills concerning the federal estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer (GST) tax rates and exemption amounts. On June 25, 2019, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) introduced yet another bill, the “Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act.” This bill would simultaneously reduce the federal estate, gift, and GST lifetime exemption amounts while increasing the applicable federal estate, gift, and GST tax rates.
The bill would reduce the lifetime exemption amounts to a basic estate tax and GST tax exemption of $3.5 million (the exemption amount in effect in 2009) and a gift tax exemption amount of $1 million. Notably, this would appear to “de-unify” the gift tax exemption from the estate and GST tax exemption amounts. In addition, the bill would increase the maximum estate tax rate from 40% to 45%. Finally, the bill would divert estate tax revenue to the Social Security Trust Fund in an attempt to bolster the program’s depleted reserves. The projected revenue generated by the bill would cover approximately one-fifth (1/5) of Social Security’s estimated long-term funding gap.
Like the previous two bills, this one is unlikely to become law. However, the number of bills introduced in the last year should remind us that the applicable exemption and exclusion amounts are always subject to change, and that it’s important to periodically review your estate plan with the current exemption amount in mind.
If you have any questions on this topic, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.