Congress is unlikely to make further progress on the estate tax until sometime this fall, as legislators prepare to take their summer recess.
A proposal to set the estate tax rate permanently at 35 percent, which also includes a $5 million tax exemption, is not expected to receive attention by legislators before the break begins on Aug. 6.
Currently, no estate tax is in place and, should Congress fail to act by the end of 2010, the rate will automatically revert to 55 percent, with a $1 million exemption. In addition, the House passed a bill last year that would permanently set the estate tax rate at 45 percent, with a $3.5 million exemption.
The Senate Finance Committee held a bipartisan meeting last week; however, the committee, which is headed by Sen. Max Bacus, D-Mont., said it is unlikely to pursue the issue further until September.
Members of the Finance Committee said that Sen. Baucus will continue to work with both Democrats and Republicans to develop an appropriate proposal that addresses the expiration issue quickly and in the most complete and permanent way possible.