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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elimination of Ohio Estate Tax?

Yesterday Ohio House Bill 1 was unveiled, putting the Ohio Estate Tax on the chopping block. Currently, the Ohio Estate Tax is imposed at a rate between 6-7% on estates valued at more than $338,333 when a person dies.

Jim Siegel of Dispatch.com writes that "House Bill 1 [is] usually designated for leadership's top priority" and later mentions that "[t]he estate tax brings in about $245 million a year to local governments and about $60 million a year to the state."

Those opposed to the tax such as Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City argue
that the estate tax is unfair, bad for farmers and small businesses and drives wealthier retirees out of the state. Ohio is one of 20 states with an estate or inheritance tax, and its threshold is the lowest in the nation.
Rep. Ron Amstutz calls the estate tax "legalized theft", possibly viewing the tax as 'double taxation' of dollars that already faced the income tax and/or corporate tax.

On the other hand, those in favor of the tax such as Rep. Mike Foley D-Cleveland argue that "local governments rely on the money" and it is "a benefit to society, as it only applies to the wealthiest among us, and helps to slow down the growing wealth inequality."

For years estate planning attorneys have been helping clients to eliminate or minimize the amount of estate tax they must pay on death by using living trusts and inserting tax planning clauses into wills.  If the Ohio Estate Tax is eliminated, much of this work may become unnecessary.  However, at what cost would this come?  Would local governments or the State be harmed drastically?  Would the impact only be minimal?

What is your view on eliminating the Ohio Estate Tax? Yea or Nay?
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