CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Washington's avoidance of the so-called "fiscal cliff" is generally good news for California's finances. But the deal approved by President Obama on Wednesday will still take a bite out of the state budget. The legislation won't allow California and other states to keep a portion of revenue from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't received any revenue from the tax since 2004, and analysts doubted that Congress would reverse course and restore the money.
December 2, 2012 |
Dear Liz: My husband and I have given our daughters gifts over the years, but we have never exceeded the $26,000 gift tax limit for a married couple. Do we need to file IRS Form 709 to split the gifts? If so, how to do we file for past years? Answer: The gift tax system exists to help prevent wealthy people from transferring large amounts to their heirs during the donors' lifetimes in an attempt to avoid estate taxes. Each person, however, is allowed to give a certain amount each year to any number of recipients.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 2, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has bet a portion of California's financial health on the expectation that a hyperpartisan Congress will change course on a hotly debated tax policy this year. The budget Brown signed last week assumes that over the next four years the state will reap almost $2.3 billion from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't collected any revenue from the tax since 2004, and if Congress sticks with current policy it won't in the coming years, either.
June 14, 2012 |
The current debate about rich and poor - the 1% vs. the 99% - is a bit misleading, because the evidence usually is data about income, not wealth. Looking at wealth would make the comparison even starker. There are some nice deals to be had in the income tax code these days, but most wealth accumulates and passes from generation to generation with no tax at all. Warren Buffett (who has selflessly taken on the role of all-purpose tape measure in these matters) is worth $45 billion or so. Do you think that all of that $45 billion, or even most of it, has appeared on any Form 1040 on its way to the cookie jar?
December 21, 2010
Sanity in the Senate Re "Senate strikes down 'don't ask,' " Dec. 19 Finally! Now that "don't ask, don't tell" has been repealed in a Senate vote, can we move on to issues that have a greater impact on the country and all of its citizens? I am completely sympathetic with the injustice of this policy. But the airtime, energy and attention given to this issue by myriad progressive and right-wing groups and the media is absurd. To prohibit homosexuals from being and expressing who they are, whether in the military or not, is so patently wrong, it should not have taken one moment of back-and-forth yammering to get it right.
December 18, 2010 |
Of the several objectionable provisions included in the tax compromise that congressional Republicans extorted from the Obama administration, none is more noxious than the one that all but guts the estate tax. Even the needless and unfair continuation of tax reductions for families making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year merely extends a benefit already enjoyed by affluent households. Estate tax cuts, by contrast, create a whole new windfall for those who already enjoy privileges and security undreamed of by the vast majority of Americans.