Senate’s Baucus Seeks Temporary Extension of Estate Tax in 2010

"The U.S. Congress is moving toward a stopgap measure to prevent the federal estate tax from expiring Dec. 31, postponing a broader fight over levying the fortunes of multimillionaires when they die.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said he would seek to attach the temporary fix to year-end legislation, possibly a defense spending bill. It would draw from a permanent solution adopted by the House on Dec. 3 that freezes the current tax imposing a top rate of 45 percent on estates valued at more than $7 million per couple.

'There’ll be an extension, one-year, two-year, we don’t know,' said Baucus, a Montana Democrat. [...]

The current defense spending bill expires Dec. 18. Baucus said he is considering that measure or another as a way of getting the temporary estate-tax measure adopted.

A prominent proponent of taxing large estates, Bill Gates Sr., father of Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, urged Congress not to let the tax expire.

'Society has a just claim on these fortunes,' Gates told reporters today on a conference call organized by United for a Fair Economy, a Boston-based advocacy group in favor of keeping the estate tax. “The facts are clear: The estate tax raises substantial revenue from those with the capacity to pay it.”

John Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group Inc., the largest U.S. manager of stock and bond mutual funds, said he has had plenty of time to plan a substantial estate, providing for his wife, children, and grandchildren. Still, Bogle, 80, said he is 'proud and pleased to pay' taxes on his fortune when he dies."

Read the full article by Ryan J. Donmoyer on

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