Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 Decedents and "Portability"

If a 2011 decedent is the first spouse to die, then in order for the surviving spouse to potentially double the estate tax exemption that will be available at his or her later death, under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “Act”) “portability” of the deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption must be elected on a timely filed U.S. Estate Tax Return (Form 706).  A draft of the 2011 Form 706 was released by the IRS on August 26, 2011, but does not seem to include a place to elect portability.  You may want to file a Form 4768 by the due date of the Form 706 (usually 9 months after date of death) to request an automatic 6-month extension and perhaps by then the manner of electing portability will be clear. See our January 2011 newsletter for a more complete discussion of this Act.