U.S. estate tax not going away: expert

BOSTON Mon Oct 5, 2009 10:26am EDT

Richard Kohan, national partner in charge of Wealth Transfer Solutions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, speaks at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston, Massachusetts October 5, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Richard Kohan, national partner in charge of Wealth Transfer Solutions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, speaks at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston, Massachusetts October 5, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

BOSTON (Reuters) - Wealthy Americans may be hoping for no federal estate tax in 2010, but lawmakers will likely extend existing rules for at least one year to ensure the tax is collected, a national partner of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Monday.

"Right now, there is no estate tax for 2010," Richard Kohan, national partner in charge of wealth transfer solutions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit.

But Kohan and others expect U.S. lawmakers to act before year-end to either make this year's rules apply next year, or come up with an alternative so that the U.S. government does not miss out on the millions of dollars the estate tax brings in.

"We are hearing that Congress might exempt people whose estates are less than $5 million, and charge those whose estates are bigger at a rate of somewhere between 35 percent and 45 percent," Kohan said.

Currently, heirs to wealthy Americans with estates valued at more than $3.5 million are taxed at a rate of 45 percent.

Under present law, the tax is scheduled to be repealed for one year, 2010, and resume in 2011.

(For summit blog: blogs.reuters.com/summits/)

(Reporting Svea Herbst; editing by John Wallace)

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