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Overview of 2012 Estate Tax Filing Requirements

Which 2012 Estates Need to File Form 706?

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The passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act into law on December 17, 2010 ushered in sweeping changes to the laws governing federal estate taxes, gift taxes and generation skipping transfer taxes for deaths occurring in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Below you will find a summary of the rules that apply to the estates of decedents who died between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

Decedent is Single, Gross Estate is Valued Less Than $5,120,000

If the decedent was single at the time of death and the gross value of his or her estate does not exceed $5,120,000, then estate will not be required to IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. Nonetheless, the heirs should consult with an estate planning attorney or tax attorney in order to determine if Form 706 should be filed for other reasons, such as locking in date of death values of the decedent's assets to establish their stepped up basis, or allocating the decedent's unused generation-skipping transfer tax exemption to testamentary trusts created under the decedent's estate plan.

If it is determined that an estate tax return should be filed, then it will be due 9 months after the decedent's date of death. File IRS Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time To File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes, on or before the due date for Form 706 in order to request an automatic 6-month extension of time within which to file the return.

Decedent is Single, Gross Estate is Valued Over $5,120,000

If the decedent was single at the time of death and the gross value of his or her estate exceeds $5,120,000, then estate will be required to IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. The return will be due 9 months after the decedent's date of death. File IRS Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time To File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes, on or before the due date for Form 706 in order to request an automatic 6-month extension of time within which to file the return.

Decedent is Married, Gross Estate is Valued Less Than $5,120,000

If the decedent was married at the time of death and the gross value of his or her estate does not exceed $5,120,000, then estate will not be required to IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. Nonetheless, the surviving spouse should consult with an estate planning attorney or tax attorney in order to determine if Form 706 should be filed in order to make the portability election and take advantage of the deceased spouse's unused estate tax exemption, or for other reasons such as locking in date of death values of the decedent's assets to establish their stepped up basis or allocating the decedent's assets between the A trust and B trust in a typical AB Trust estate plan.

If it is determined that an estate tax return should be filed, then it will be due 9 months after the decedent's date of death. File IRS Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time To File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes, on or before the due date for Form 706 in order to request an automatic 6-month extension of time within which to file the return.

Decedent is Married, Gross Estate is Valued Over $5,120,000

If the decedent was married at the time of death and the gross value of his or her estate exceeds $5,120,000, then estate will be required to IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. The return will be due 9 months after the decedent's date of death. File IRS Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time To File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes, on or before the due date for Form 706 in order to request an automatic 6-month extension of time within which to file the return.

Summary of 2012 Estate Tax Filing Deadlines

9 months from date of death - Due date for 2012 Form 706 or Form 4768

15 months from date of death - Due date for 2012 Form 706 for estates that timely filed Form 4768

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