S. 3533, the "Responsible Estate Tax Act," introduced Jun. 24, 2010 by Sanders (I-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Harkin (D-IA))

(would exempt from tax first $3.5 million of value in decedent's estate, establish a progressive rate structure - 45% for taxable values between $3.5 million and $10 million, 50% for taxable values from $10 million to $50 million, 55% for taxable amounts from $50 million to $500 million and 65% for taxable amounts above $500 million; imposes mandatory 10-year minimum term for grantor-retained annuity trusts and restricts planning opportunities that utilize valuation discounts by changing the rules applicable to such discounts; increases agricultural land value reduction under I.R.C. Sec. 2032A to $3 million even for those agricultural estates where the decedent had bolstered wealth during life via receipt of taxpayer-funded farm subsidies; increases maximum exclusion for estate tax purposes for donated conservation easements to $2 million and increases base percentage to 60%; if enacted into law, only Japan would have a higher estate tax rate at the top end; bill sponsors are same Senators that earlier in June reportedly told the Senate Majority Leader that they would block any effort to bring a stand-alone estate tax measure to the floor; most insiders believe that the bill has virtually no chance of becoming law). 

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