IRS cutting estate tax staff

March 19, 2007 | Roger McEowen


IRS has recently announced that it has completed a round of job cuts that has trimmed about 100 employees from its group that oversees gift and estate tax returns. The cuts mirror the diminishing number of estate tax returns that have been filed in recent years. IRS states that it will be able to still provide the same level and frequency of scrutiny of estate tax returns with the diminished staff. Eighty-four IRS employees (predominantly lawyers) took buyouts offered by IRS with a January 3, 2007, deadline to be off the payroll. With the retirements, the estate and gift tax staff is trimmed to 379 from 471. IRS noted that the increase in the exemption from federal estate tax spurred the reduction in staff. In 2001, the exemption was $675,000 per decedent.  For 2006-2008, the exemption is $2 million per decedent and will increase to $3.5 million in 2009. The federal estate tax is presently scheduled to be repealed for deaths in 2010 before coming back in 2011 with an exemption of $1 million.