Did high-end taxpayers dodge a bullet?

The answer is a resounding yes, for now.

All year long I have preparing webinars on far-reaching tax law changes/increases, a virtual destruction of high net estate plans, and now it finally comes down to this – no changes.  Nothing.

Perhaps one side of the politic spectrum overplayed their hand (i.e…tried for too much and got nothing).  That’s the political lesson.

The tax planning lesson is more nuanced.

What we saw in the “social infrastructure bill” in regards to tax changes was an absolute direct attack on all of the standard estate planning methods designed to minimize taxes.  They were going after the gift/estate tax exemption, after capital gains in trusts and estates, after dynasty and other complex trusts, after discounts, after capital gains and dividends for high earners, after “tax cheats” and more!

Honestly, had a few of the proposed tax changes made it into enacted legislation, it would have been a disaster for existing plans (of course, for attorneys who charge high hourly rates, such a disaster is also called a windfall).

My message to the planning world, to the fundraising world, and to the individuals concerned about these issues is simple:  don’t delay, take care of your plans today.

The fact that a laundry list of extreme tax law changes were seriously considered should put everyone on notice – It could happen.  Just one or two votes, and we would be sifting through the ashes to figure out how to deal with the new tax planned world.

So, for now, we are back to business but we all should realize that we can only dodge so many bullets.

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