“What will happen with the estate tax proposals currently before Congress?”
A member of the audience put that question to a speaker here at a breakout session of the annual Life Insurance Conference.
The topic was a hot button at the conference, which was co-sponsored by LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn.; LOMA, Atlanta; the Society of Actuaries, Schaumberg, Ill.; and the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.
“I think Sen. [Max] Baucus’ proposal far overshadows the other proposals,” said panelist Mandana Parsazad, referring to S. 722, a bill Baucus, R-Mont., introduced just last week.
“But then, you never know,” added Parsazad, who is the senior counsel for taxes and retirement security at American Council of Life Insurers, Washington. She noted that some people favor other approaches, such as an extension of the 2009 rules for 1 year — essentially a 1-year patch — or a freeze that would make the 2009 rules permanent.
She pointed out that there are 13 new members of the Senate this year–2 Republicans and 11 Democrats–”but there is no indication yet where they fill be on this issue.”
As far as reading tea leaves for the estate tax goes, “it will be interesting to see their votes,” Parsazad said.
S. 722, the Taxpayer Certainty and Relief Act of 2009, is more comprehensive than the other proposals now in Congress, Parsazad said.
Among other things, the bill would extend permanently most of the middle-class tax cuts enacted in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Individuals would be exempt from estate taxes up to $3.5 million. The top tax rate would be 45%