The American Institute of CPAs submitted a letter last week to the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department recommending relief for surviving spouses who would like to elect portability of their deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption. 

The portability election must be made by a decedent’s executor on a timely filed Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. However, executors of estates for decedents who died on January 1, 2014 or later may be unaware that a Form 706 is required to be filed (even for estates below the filing threshold) within 9 months of the date of death in order for the surviving spouse to make the portability election.

“The AICPA is concerned about estates not being able to take advantage of portability of the DSUE [deceased spousal unused exclusion] amount because the executors and practitioners are unaware of its provisions or the requirement to file a Form 706 in order to make the portability election,” wrote AICPA Tax Executive Committee chair Troy Lewis.

The AICPA requested that Treasury and IRS permanently allow estates below the filing threshold 15 months after the death to file Form 706 in order to elect portability; provide a short Form 706-EZ to make the portability election; and allow the surviving spouse to file Form 706 for portability, if the executor chooses not to file the form because the estate is not otherwise required to do so.

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