WASHINGTON BUREAU — The House could move sometime this week to take up legislation extending the 2009 estate tax level to 2010.
The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Falls Church, Va., is preparing for possible House action by promoting reunification of the estate and gift tax credit.
The AALU is preparing to send members an alert asking them to call or write their members of Congress in support for reunification.
“We strongly urge Congressmen to make permanent the estate tax at a $3.5 million exemption level and 45 percent [maximum tax] rate as proposed by the [Obama] administration,” the AALU says in a draft of the alert.
“We also urge support for reunifying the estate and gift tax credits, providing portability of the unused credit of the first to die, and indexing the exemption level for inflation,” the AALU says.
The AALU also is urging its members to support including “portability” in any permanent estate legislation.
A portability provision would permit a surviving spouse to carry over any credit left over by the first spouse to die.
“Not allowing a surviving spouse to carryover the unused credit from the first to die essentially penalizes a married couple for not setting up a credit shelter trust with an estate planning attorney,” the AALU says in the draft alert.
Congressional staffers and insurance industry lobbyists say the estate tax measure that Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, plans to send to the floor is would freeze the exemption at $3.5 million and the maximum federal estate tax rate at 45%. The measure could be attached to statutory pay-go legislation or considered as a stand-alone bill, officials say.