Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt, LLP
About Us Careers Contact Us Search
Home Practice Areas Industries Case Results Attorneys Publications Events Press Room

Trump and the Estate Tax: What We Know

The foregoing outlines the estate tax policies proposed by Donald Trump as part of his planned overhaul of general tax policies. While it remains to be seen to what extent an overhaul can be achieved, this is what is known about where president‐elect Trump stands today:

Estate Tax

Under current law, the 2017 federal estate tax exemption will be $5.49M (adjusted yearly for inflation). For assets above the exemption, the top federal tax rate is 40%. Many states have additional estate tax rates at various levels.

Gift/GST Tax

These have recently been coupled with the estate tax, so that both the gift and generation skipping tax (“GST”) exemptions are also capped at $5.49M for 2017.

Trump Proposal:

Eliminate all estate, gift and GST taxes.


Under current law, any unused federal estate tax exemption of a deceased spouse is added to the available exemption of the surviving spouse if proper election is made on deceased spouse’s estate tax return.

Trump Proposal:

Elimination of estate tax voids portability.

Annual Gift Exclusion

Under current law, the annual gift exclusion is $14,000.

Trump Proposal:

Elimination of estate, gift and GST taxes voids need for annual gift exclusion.

Basis of Assets Acquired by Inheritance

Current: Upon death, beneficiaries obtain stepped‐up basis to fair market value.

Trump Proposal:

Eliminate stepped‐up basis. Capital gains to be taxed upon death without a step‐up in basis. However, allows for $10M exemption. For transfers above the $10M mark, the proposal contemplates retaining the applicable 20% capital gains rate. Trump has further proposed a repeal of the 3.8% net investment income tax.


Consensus is that there will be a major shift in the federal estate tax, but it is inaccurate to say that death taxes will be fully extinguished. Preserving the capital gains tax (at the current 20%), while invalidating a “step‐up” in basis at death is still a tax, albeit one with a practical effect of less than half of the current federal estate tax of 40%.

For more information on the topic discussed, contact Yolanda Kanes at kanes@thsh.com or at 212-508-6721.

To view our recent publications, visit us on online at www.thsh.com and go to Publications. To subscribe for the newsletter, send email to marketing@thsh.com.

About Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

Since 1978, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP has combined a powerful mix of insight, creativity, industry knowledge, senior talent and transaction expertise to successfully guide clients through periods of challenge and opportunity. Our mission is to deliver the highest quality legal services in a practical and efficient manner, bringing to bear the judgment, common sense and expertise of well trained, business minded lawyers. Through our commitment to service and successful results, Tannenbaum Helpern continues to earn the loyalty of our clients and a reputation for excellence. For more information, visit www.thsh.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter: @THSHLAW.

Business Litigation Bulletin
Employment Notes
Note from the Real Estate Group
THSH E-Alert
Other Publications
Trump and the Estate Tax: What We Know
Articles By Topic
Cyber & Privacy Alert
New York Law Journal
Attorney Professionalism Forum
Join Our Mailing List
Like us on FaceBook Follow us on Twitter Get LinkedIn with us Pin It! Email Us Print this Page

Sitemap |Terms of Use | Privacy | Attorney Advertising

Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP provides legal advice only to individuals or entities with which it has established an attorney-client relationship and such advice is based on the particular facts and circumstances of each matter. Contacting us through this site, or otherwise, will not establish an attorney-client relationship with us. Any e-mail or other communication sent to THSH or its lawyers through this site will not be treated as subject to the attorney-client privilege or as otherwise confidential and you should not include any confidential information in any such communication.