Monday, March 5, 2012

Portability Election for Estates of Decedents Dying in First Half of 2011

For decedents dying in 2011 or 2012 with a surviving spouse, the "deceased spouse’s unused exclusion" (DSUE) amount can be added to the surviving spouse’s estate tax exemption, subject to a number of restrictions. This means that the surviving spouse could potentially double his or her estate and gift tax exemption, but only if a timely filed U.S. Estate Tax Return (Form 706) is filed. The return is due nine months after date of death, but can be extended for six months by filing Form 4768. The IRS recently issued Notice 2012-21, 2012-10 IRB; IR 2012-24 extending the deadline to file the Form 706 for decedents dying in the first half of 2011 to fifteen months after the date of death, but only for "qualifying estate" defined as estates with a surviving spouse and the gross estate does not exceed $5 million. The estate must file Form 4768 by 15 months after date of death to receive this extension, even if Form 706 was filed before the 15 months (but after the 9-month) deadline. For more information, go to IRS Notice 2012-21.