Skip to comments.New Estate Tax Law Poses Dilemma For The Rich
Posted on 02/03/2011 6:20:40 AM PST by Skeez
Sometimes I just can't help pitying rich folks. Lately it's because the new tax law gives them yet another high-class quandary: Should they rush to give away everything to their kids during the next two years in order to save future estate tax? That's precisely what some financial pundits are now suggesting they do. Their advice grows out of the estate tax overhaul President Obama signed in December. It raises the tax-free limit on lifetime gifts from $1 million to a hefty $5 million ($10 million for married couples) before a gift tax applies. When it does, the rate is a maximum of 35%. From an estate planning perspective, lifetime gifts have always had an advantage over passing assets when you die. Such gifts leave less in your estate for the government to tax, and if the assets increase in value after you have passed them along, you will not owe gift tax on the appreciation. For those who want to implement this strategy, the new law offers more flexibility than ever before. You can apply the $5 million limit during life, when you die or some combination of the two. And any part of it that you don't use yourself can be carried over by a spouse who survives you--a new rule called portability. The one proviso is that the executor of the estate of the first spouse to die must file an estate tax return, even if no tax is due. So if you don't get around to making those gifts, your spouse can pick up where you left off.
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
My financial advice. Hide any redistributable assets you can.
Especially to family farmers. The family ranch that gets passed on for generations that happens to be in the shadow of the Tetons? Oops.
The government it taking it because your heirs can’t afford to pay the taxes on it when you try to pass it on to them because a bunch of millionaires and billionaires decided they liked your surroundings and drove up the price of your land.
It’s frankly criminal.
I guess it’s done to prevent families from becoming virtual loyalty, but it seems massively unjust and punitive.
Rich people don’t bother me.
It’s those who advocate (supposedly) on behalf of the poor who bother me.
They wish to enshrine THEFT as some sort of virtue.
THAT BOTHERS ME!!!!
Or... now that we have the House, take over the Senate and White House and do away with the Estate Tax completely. They tax you on EVERYTHING in life, leave the dead alone.
More institutionalized socialist wealth redistribution.
Government using its immense power to take from earners and give to moochers.
The more immoral; the more sinister. . .the greater the appeal to these people. The morally bankrupt Left, thrives by creating the most miserable of slippery slopes for humankind. That they justify their existence by doing so, even more dispiriting.
('Willful ignorance' - i.e. evil - 'is' what it is. . .and we know from history; we must deal with it.)
"But we voted on it!"
Yes, I've heard this response.
It's pretty easy to refute this and to make the LIQ (lib in question) admit that it is theft and then say they don't care that it is.
Using Williams' approach-
It is laudable for me to give something to someone in need.
It is theft, and deplorable, for me to rob someone else to give it to someone in need.
It doesn't matter if there are 5 people or 100,000 people saying that it is ok for me to rob someone else to give to the needy - it's still theft, and still deplorable.
Maybe you meant royalty? Like the Kennedy clan?
How did this get by Boehner?..
Did the House vote this in..?
Who voted For it?...
Here is the way you get around Death Taxes. (If you are truly Rich):
1. You put your money into a Foundation and your State and Federal tax bill on that money is ZERO, before or even after you die.
2. Your relatives then have secondary gain from the prestige of running the Founadation and giving away all that money, tax-free, to whatever "charity" suits their personal or political agenda.
3. You father can then urge that the state taxes of not-so-rich people (like the single guy working a 70 hour week to grow a small business and make $350,000 per year) be raised so that nobody notices that your own family is avoiding paying Billions of dollars of Federal taxes.
The Bill Gates Income Tax ..... If Washington's most famous billionaires are really worried about their state's finances, they'd write personal checks to the government and leave everyone else alone..... Mr. Gates Sr. has personally contributed $500,000 to promote a statewide proposition on Washington's November ballot that would impose a brand new 5% tax on individuals earning over $200,000 per year and couples earning over $400,000 per year.
There is a special provision of the tax code, Section 2032A, that deals with just that situation.
It allows for the farmland to be valued at farmland value prices rather than at developer prices.
For Williams argument to work, you have to agree to the unstated premise that there is no difference between an illegal act (”robbery”) and a legal one, (taxation) - that there is no “legitimate” basis for any government action which enforces “collective rights” at the cost of “individual rights”.
To so, you have to be an anarchist, because any functioning government engages in such acts as a matter of course, the only practical question is the current nature of the balance.
And as a matter of historical experience the way such questions get settled is that:
1)Economic and political systems become so *upwardly* redistributionist that only a autocratic or totalitarian kleptocracy can maintain order - until it can’t anymore.
2) Representative government works well enough so that you don’t arrive at 1).
The deal in the US is that we accept higher rewards for most successful and less redistribution to everyone else on the grounds that this maximizes individual opportunity.
IMO, in a economy which is experiencing rapid upwards redistribution of wealth and income to the point where there is also an upwards redistribution - or at least stagnation - of opportunity, it’s a bit beside the point to bemoan the fact we can’t arrange things so that that this happens faster.
The original premise for the estate tax was from England and was designed to insure that no family could become more powerful than the king. It was adopted here supposedly on the same basis.
But, if that were the real reason for the tax, the threshold would be be closer to a billion dollars - not five million.
Look at the federalists’ discussion of “general welfare” to provide the distinction between theft and taxation.
No “anarchist” tendencies there (or here with me). Just a definition of just vs unjust as defined in our Constitution.
Incorporate the farm and make family shareholders
Or put it all into a trust.
What I do like about foundations is that YOU can direct what you want done with the money instead of the government confiscating it for welfare and union government employees.
I see the laws regarding foundations changing because we know politicians don’t like not getting that money.
“Maybe you meant royalty? Like the Kennedy clan?”
A little fast and loose on the keyboard I was this morning. :) Yes, royalty.
It’s one of the reasons Bill Gaites gave for favoring the estate tax.
Interestingly, Ted Kennedy never gave a dime in estate tax money to the federal government. All of it was set aside in a trust or gradually and incrementally given away tax free to his heirs using the maximum gift allowance.
“Better for thee and not for me.” Most do some variation of what Kennedy did, but those actions coming from such a fan of the estate tax, I can’t say I’m impressed.
No anarchist tendencies there (or here with me). Just a definition of just vs unjust as defined in our Constitution.
That's a different argument than the one presented as Williams' - once you start making arguments based on a distinction between providing for the general welfare and other government activities, you then get into the problem of defining general welfare, and THAT gets you into questions of Constitutional interpretation and from THERE...
Not trying to give you a hard time, just making the point that IMO Williams' argument as presented is a weak one, not the knock-out punch the original post suggests - that it's not "easy" to demonstrate what is "just" and "unjust" on this basis, which is why it's an enduring practical political problem for each generation to reach an acceptable compromise on the issue.
You can move the money between generations, but as you point out the trusts can't pay it out in excess of the maximums without tax being due on the difference - it's not (as many believe) "tax-free" by virtue of its bring paid by a trust.