November 15, 2007
"Warren, you old hippie, that's easy for you to say."
Warren Buffett backs the estate tax in testimony before U.S. Senate Finance Committee. See coverage of yesterday's hearings at WSJ and TaxProf Blog. Unlike many others, Buffett would reform rather than repeal the estate tax. None of this was a surprise, as Buffett has been a supporter of the estate tax generally to check momentum "toward plutocracy". However, Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman, and with a net worth of approximately $52 billion, did say he would give all
you American mini-millionaires out there a break. He opposes reinstatement of the scheme in place before 2001 which gave decedents' estates a $1 million exemption from the tax and then taxed at a maximum rate of 55%. Instead, Buffett wants an exemption of around $4 million--twice the current $2 million--with lower but gradually increasing rates. The exemption would be adjusted for inflation. Under current law, the estate tax exemption will be gradually increased, and the maximum tax rate gradually decreased, until 2010, when the estate tax is repealed. However, unless Congress changes the law, in 2011 the estate tax will automatically return with a $1 million exemption and maximum tax rate of 55%.
Posted by JD Hull at November 15, 2007 06:00 PM
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