Florida Estate Taxes: Past, Present, and Future

Florida has no Estate Taxes, but there may still be Federal Estate taxes due. Before the distribution of assets of the deceased’s estate can occur, the federal government has the ability to take their share of the estate. The Federal Estate tax has been repealed for the year 2010 but in past years the tax has been applied to every U.S. citizen who died leaving assets to be distributed to their heirs. – This does not mean no taxes will be due for individuals who die in 2010. Remember the law does not allow an unlimited amount of capital gains like in previous years. There is not an unlimited amount of capital gains like in 2009. This means even with an unlimited estate tax exemption, some people will pay more in estate taxes under 2010 than under previous years.

In past years the estate tax was applied only on funds that exceeded the net estate amount set by Congress. For example, if an individual died in 2009 leaving a net estate of $3.5 million then the federal government would not have taxed the estate because the net estate did not exceed the amount exempted by Congress. However, if the net estate would have been $4 million instead, the estate would be taxed at a rate of 45% on the amount over $3.5 million. So in this case the Federal Estate tax liability would be ($500,000 x 45%) which comes out to $225,000.

Currently, there is no plan to repeal the Estate Tax exemption for 2011. Before the 2010 repeal, Congress had increased the tax exemption given to individuals who died and whose net estate was distributed to $3.5 million. However, the current plan for 2011 is to have a tax exemption of $1 million and a tax rate of 55%. If the current plan remains in effect it will place a much greater tax liability on assets and funds that are distributed out of the net estate of those who die next year.

Thus, it is important to discuss the estate tax process and what tax liability your estate may be subject to in future years with an Florida Estate Planning Lawyer. Some assets are exempt from tax liability and with proper planning your federal estate tax liability in future years could be significantly reduced.

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