AICPA Announces Release of Joint Report on Reform of Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes - 2004 

    The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Bar Association's Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation, the American College of Tax Counsel, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and the American Bankers Association contributed resources and personnel to the development of this Report. In addition, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation, the American Tax Policy Institute, and the American Bar Association's Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law provided grants to enable the Task Force to complete this Report.

    Representatives from each association organized the Task Force with the purpose of producing a report that provides expert analysis of the changes enacted by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA or Act), regarding federal wealth transfer taxes. The Report does not consider policy questions having to do with the economic effects of a wealth transfer tax system as compared to other systems of taxation. It also does not consider policy questions having to do with whether redistribution of wealth is an appropriate goal of a tax system. The central concern of the Report is to assess-on the basis of simplicity, compliance, and consistency of enforcement-the temporary repeal of the estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes, the phaseout period, the continuation of the gift tax after repeal, the modified carryover basis rule, and the alternatives to federal wealth transfer tax repeal.

    The Report is designed to provide diverse views and perspectives on a wide range of issues concerning the current federal wealth transfer tax system and the changes the EGTRRA makes to that system. With most issues it identifies, the Report suggests options that Congress might consider, but it does not make specific recommendations for regulatory or legislative action. The order in which the Report lists alternative approaches is not intended to represent the Task Force's preference for one over another. The Task Force members and sponsoring organizations support the analysis of the alternative solutions to the issues identified, but do not endorse any specific solution. The Task Force appreciates that Congress could decide that its best course of action is to leave current law in place, and, therefore, the Report does not separately identify the option of retaining current law in any of its listings of alternatives.

    The Executive Summary briefly describes the issue raised and the possible approaches Congress or Treasury might take to resolve the issue. Readers can use the Executive Summary to find a specific area of interest and then turn to the Report for a detailed analysis of current law and a critique of alternative approaches to the issue raised.

    An in-depth discussion of the Report by Roby Sawyers, Chair of the AICPA Trust, Estate and Gift Taxation Technical Resource Panel is also available below.

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