Congressman Proposes Raising the Estate Tax

A senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee has introduced legislation to roll back the estate tax rates to pre-Bush tax cut levels.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., introduced the bill, known as the Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011, on Thursday. The bill would bring the estate tax rates back to their pre-2001 levels of up to 55 percent, with a $1 million exemption for individuals, or $2 million for married couples. Both levels, however, would be indexed for inflation beginning in 2000. Under current law, the maximum rate is 35 percent, with a $5 million exemption, allowing over 99 percent of estates to escape taxes. According to a new study from the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice, only 0.3 percent of deaths in 2009 resulted in a federal estate tax liability in 2010.

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