What 5 billionaires would have owed
Death and no taxes
Congress had nine years to figure out what a new estate tax should look like, but instead, it let the tax lapse for 2010. Big deal, you say? Well, it is for the U.S. Treasury. As attorney Joshua S. Rubenstein, national chairman of trusts and estates at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, said, “It’s staggering to see what the elimination of the estate tax has done to the economy.”
At least five billionaires have died this year. We applied the inheritance tax top rate from 2009 (45%) to the estates left by these recently departed tycoons. All told, the five families of the departed would have owed the U.S. government $8.7 billion in estate taxes. Here are the five billionaires, their estimated net worth (according to Forbes), and the amount of inheritance taxes they would have paid under the 2009 rules.
[Some data taken from The Future of the Estate Tax, a blog by attorney Hani Sarji. Unless otherwise noted, all subsequent photos courtesy of Bloomberg News.]