By Paul Caron
Wall Street Journal Tax Report, Why More States Are Killing Estate Taxes:
Want proof taxes can actually go down? In the past three years, nine states have eliminated or lowered their estate taxes, mostly by raising exemptions.
And more reductions are coming. Minnesota lawmakers recently raised the state’s estate-tax exemption to $2.1 million retroactive to January, and the exemption will rise to $2.4 million next year. Maryland will raise its $3 million exemption to $4 million next year. New Jersey’s exemption, which used to rank last at $675,000 a person, rose to $2 million a person this year. Next year, New Jersey is scheduled to eliminate its estate tax altogether, joining about a half-dozen others that have ended their estate taxes over the past decade.
This tax-cutting trend has been fueled by competition between the states for affluent and wealthy taxpayers. Such residents owe income taxes every year, but some are willing to move out of state to avoid death duties that come only once. Since the federal estate-and-gift tax exemption jumped to $5 million in 2011, adjusted for inflation, state death duties have stood out…
Two holdouts remain: Massachusetts and Oregon. These two have estate-tax exemptions of $1 million or below, compared with nine that did in 2009.
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