Tax Policy: How Much Impact Can The New York Times Have?

For those of us who have followed tax policy (as it relates to the general area of planned giving),  it seems like the best way to light a fire under Congress’ you know what is a front page article in the New York Times (Wall Street Journal even better).

So, we can’t help wondering if the front page article in today’s NY Times about a billionaire who unexpectedly died this year (and thus avoided billions of dollars in estate tax) won’t push Congress to do something about the estate tax this year.

Here is the link to the article:

What this article fails to highlight is how much capital gains taxes may eventually come out of this estate in lieu of estate taxes.    Basically, heirs traded down from a 45% federal estate tax in 2009 to a 15% capital gains tax in 2010.  But, the capital gains are not necessarily paid this year – they are due when the appreciated property is sold.  For all we know, that could come in many years but could also be at a higher rate (most likely 20%).

The article does, to its credit, address probably the most important part of the story:

Very deep pockets to challenge any government attempt to retroactively impose an estate tax for 2010 decedents.


  1. Jonathan,

    I am not at all convinced that this article in the NY Times will spur Congress to act on the estate tax. I do hope that non-profits across the country do contact their members of Congress to let them know that this estate tax limbo leaves us all in precarious positions with planned giving donors who may be trying to wait things out before they finalize their wills, trusts, etc.

    BTW – thanks for your work on this year’s NYPPS, it was a GREAT event and I look forward to next year.

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