Go Back

President-elect Trump and the End of the Death Tax – Not So Fast

Now that Trump won the Presidency, some are excited and some are frightened as to what this means for the United States of America. Interestingly for our law firm as an estate planning practice is that the repeal of the federal estate tax is found in President-elect Trump’s tax plan. With a Republican led Congress in both the House and Senate, some may assume that all of Trump’s tax proposals will easily be pushed through. However, it may not be that simple. Republicans have 51 seats in the Senate, which is not enough of a majority to invoke cloture. Cloture is the procedure by which the Senate can vote to set an end to a debate without rejecting the bill, amendment, or other matter that it has been debating. To invoke cloture, 60 votes in the Senate would be needed. Thus, it is possible that proposed legislation to repeal the estate tax might be “filibustered” in the Senate.

Historically, the last administration that pushed to repeal the estate tax was in 2006 under the Bush administration. The Republican-controlled Senate was not able to gather the 60 necessary votes. Thus it is reasonably foreseeable that the repeal of the estate tax is not in sight. In fact, many of the legislative proposals that President-elect Trump has been promoting may not be a sure thing without more than a simple majority of Congressional votes.