HOUSE APPROVES 45% ESTATE TAX EXTENSION

Washington, D.C. - The House voted to set the inheritance tax at 45 percent permanently for estates larger than $3.5 million. The estate tax is set to expire this month and disappear temporarily this year, only to return at a higher rate of 55 percent in 2011. All estates will be subject to a 15 percent capital gains tax rate unless the legislation passes. The bill, which was approved by a vote of 225-200, would continue to exempt estates of less than $3.5 million. Married couples with estates of $7 million would be exempted through estate planning, leaving less than 1 percent of estates subject to the inheritance tax.

THOUSANDS DISCLOSE FOREIGN ACCOUNTS

Washington, D.C. - Over 14,700 holders of foreign bank accounts told the Internal Revenue Service about their existence under a voluntary disclosure program. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that the agency received voluntary disclosures about billions in accounts in 70 countries.

The IRS had extended the program and offered to allow most of those who came forward voluntarily to avoid criminal prosecution for tax evasion. The agency has successfully prosecuted several account holders at Swiss bank UBS who did not come forward voluntarily.

MILLIONS MAY OWE UNDER MAKING WORK PAY

Washington, D.C. - The Making Work Pay Credit could lead to more than 15.4 million people owing additional taxes, according to a new report. The credit is advanced to taxpayers by employers through reduced withholding, resulting in an increase in take-home pay. A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report said that the implementation of the tax credit creates the possibility that millions of taxpayers may be advanced more of the credit through reduced withholding than they are entitled to receive. When filing their returns for 2009 and 2010, such taxpayers may ultimately owe additional taxes. Some also may be subject to estimated tax penalties.

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