As we write this, our 535 delinquents in Congress are now on recess, extolling their accomplishments to their constituents. After the election, the lame ducks will hopefully remember what they had forgotten to do before going on recess.

When Congress does return to do whatever it Is they do, they need to do something about the estate tax. As you remember, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (sounds like we need it again) provided for the repeal of the estate tax in 2010, only to be reinstated next year. We know some people who have employed the ultimate form of tax planning by passing away this year, only to be informed by their executors that Congress was considering reinstating the estate tax retroactively to the beginning of 2010.

Such a retroactive move is possible since members of Congress are aware that the deceased no longer have voting privileges. Another possibiliity (already on the books) would be to
reinstate the tax next year at the rates and exemptions in effect ten years ago. A third possibility would be for Congress to do nothing this year (more recess) and reinstate the tax next year at the rates and exemptions in effect last year.

We still believe the tax code can be simplified if all 535 members of Congress were required to prepare their own tax returns, manually.

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About Tom O'Brien

Thomas S. O'Brien, CPA, Of Counsel and now retired, is a co-founder of the Firm and served as Managing Partner for the first ten years of its existence. He specialized in the areas of retirement, estate planning, accounting, and tax areas of client service.

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