In early December, members of the House voted 220-200 to pass H.R. 4154, a bill that would make the 2009 45% estate tax rate and $3.5 million per person exemption permanent.
Introduced by Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009 bill would maintain the so-called “step-up in basis” tax rules, which protect many heirs from paying additional capital gains taxes on inherited assets.
Observers expect the Senate to pass a measure that will merely extend the current rate on a temporary basis. The Senate probably will deal with the issue when it works on comprehensive tax reform legislation in 2010.