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Julie Garber

Estate Tax and Other Tax Decisions Left Up to the Lame Ducks, Uncertainty Will Linger For Years to Come

By October 1, 2012

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The Hill has reported that the House Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of writing tax legislation and bills affecting Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs, "remained paralyzed" as Congress ended its final session before the November 6 elections. Unbelievably, the committee met for only 20 minutes, citing the impending elections as the reason why they could not begin negotiations on avoiding jumping off the "fiscal cliff" on January 1, 2013.

Well, sorry for stating the obvious, but we were faced with the fiscal cliff before even though Congress had 10 years to sort it out, and yet they did nothing until the eleventh hour. Those eleventh hour negotiations resulted in a mere two year patch, which has led us to the current impending fiscal cliff. And it gets even worse - many believe that by using the presidential election as an excuse for not doing anything more permanent, Congress will once again act at the eleventh hour to extend the existing estate tax and income tax laws for one more year, so this means that we'll be once again facing a fiscal cliff at the end of 2013. And, regardless of who is president in 2013, do you believe that Congress will have the nerve to completely overhaul the tax code in the next year? I don't either, which means that we'll be facing estate tax and income tax uncertainty for years to come.

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