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Estate Tax Is Alive and Well, and States Are Dying for the Revenue

Death TaxThought the estate tax debate was a thing of the past? Not so fast.

Even though the fiscal-cliff compromise kept the federal estate tax exemption at its former level of $5 million, many state governments are imposing estate or inheritance taxes on more modest amounts.

With many states suffering from budget shortfalls, estate tax revenue is more important than ever in keeping government programs running. And that means that some states are hitting the heirs of the recently deceased in the pocketbook.

Often, there are steps that you can take during your lifetime that can reduce or eliminate the bite that state estate and inheritance taxes will take out of the assets you leave behind. An attorney who specializes in estate planning in your state can help you structured your affairs so as little as possible will go to taxes.

Let's take look at the laws in a handful of states.

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Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

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Just anouther way to steal money from people States and goverments are good at filling there own pockets

February 19 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is no death tax. You are not taxed when you are dead. The spoiled descendants who have done nothing to earn the inherited wealth are taxed. Death tax is an inverted term created by the likes of Grover Norquist. It is like calling an offensive missle a Peace Keeper. The inheritance tax is a method established in the eighteen century to prevent the creation of a permanent wealthy class from developing. Unfortunately, we created foundations so the Rockefellers can keep the vast majority of their descendants from ever having to do anything productive. You don't really believe that Bill and Melinda Gates' kids will ever have to do anything productive in their lives. If they do, it will be an accident. Every dime beyond a million dollars per immediate child or wife of a dead person's estate should be redistributed to society in general. We don't need a permanent class of wealth in a democratic society.

February 09 2013 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brucecta's comment

We got it brucecta! You are one of those redistribution pukes that think you are entitled to the labor of others. We all could care less about what happened in the eighteenth century, it is obscene and reprehensible that any government would profit from the death of a citizen. East **** and die!

February 16 2013 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All Liberal States, try Tennessee for the best of everything.climate, taxes, people, insurance, housing, tags, anything including cost of living., no income tax. Thats why people from everywhere are moving here.

February 08 2013 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why on earth illustrate a story about American death taxes with a photo of British funeral directors and a British coffin?? Those types of coffins are not used in the US, nor are the uniforms or the funeral vehicle shown used in the US.

February 08 2013 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The 'States" are a parasite on the body of the American people.

February 08 2013 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tdorsett7's comment

No that would be Obama.

February 08 2013 at 7:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

THats what liberals do. Tax and spend, give the working people\'s money to freeloaders and illegals, just for votes. Take a look ar women, 47% popping out babies just to get on welfare, and 80% of their babies are born addicted to drugs, LIBERALS at work, ALL FOR A VOTE.. You never know the real truth for Liberals dont know how to tell the truth. Want to see a Liberal flintch? mention the constitution, it really makes them cry.

February 08 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Our government is out of control. Estate Tax AND Inheritance Tax? Isn't that double dipping by the state? ... the same money getting taxed twice?The people of this country had better wake up soon or they will be slaves to a the government just like in the USSR and other totalitarian states. Why does anyone think that the government ... state or federal ... is entitled to re-tax money that you were taxed on when you made it? This is getting out of hand.

February 08 2013 at 6:04 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to klasakt's comment

Yep, it's like how they tax you on your income. You take your take home pay and invest it and your taxed on any profit you make.

The one I love the most is how you pay tax on your car when you buy new, the person you sell it to pays tax for the amount of the purchase, and so does the next and the next all the way to the bone yard where the owner pays tax on how how much they get for the scrap.

February 08 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jaded13640's comment

Tags in Tennessee cost $24.50 a year, insurance on most full coverage cars is less than $1000.00 a year

February 08 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

They are the same thing. A dead person's wealth is not taxed twice. It is taxed on the individuals who receive it who did not earn it. It is not retaxed when you inherit it. You get taxed once. I'm sure you are an intelligent person, but as far as taxes are concerned you ignorance is showing.

February 09 2013 at 1:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brucecta's comment

you are just dum

February 19 2013 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Thank you AOL as I had heard the rumor but your story prompted me to move out of this Chicken S**t State I now live in. No reason to allow this liberal underachiever funding state to use my daughters money to foster more fornication and section 8 suckers!

February 08 2013 at 5:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I love the line "at just 675,000" like all of us out here make that kind of money. I'd be happy with just 67,000. Geeeeeeeeeeeeee What is this world coming to. It has been with the haves and the have nots long enough.

February 08 2013 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to val's comment

As with everything else the Republicans have almost gotten everything they wanted, including the astronomically higher estate tax thresh hold.
It was none other than Thomas Jefferson - a hero to some Libertarians - who said that when the wealth of INDIVIDUALS became so powerful they more powerful than the Democracy and Government representing The People then their assets should be seized UPON DEATH!
The Koch Bros. and many Texan billionaires come to mind.

February 08 2013 at 4:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to krocklin's comment

Good farm land goes for a minimal of 5000 an acre. At this price it takes 1000 acres of land to breach the federal limit. This level of land barely makes a farmer money especially if they have a family to raise and support. Machinery goes for up to half a million dollars per machine depending on what it is. Therefore 5 million is a ridiculously low number when it comes to farmers. Which is why the moment they have their first child they begin to plan out there estate in order to avoid this. You exempt farmers and yes the 1% remains you don't exempt farmers and someday all of you will be really hungry because the IRS will own all the farmland and last I checked they weren't in the business of farming.

February 08 2013 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dangingrey's comment

So, if 1,000 men want to leave their $10,000,000 businesses to their children the farmer\'s children should get special treatment?

February 08 2013 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ktv813's comment

No, not special treatment, REASONABLE treatment. It takes that kind of an INVESTMENT to earn a living for a farmer. So then after working and slaveing their lives away they aren't supposed to be able to leave the farm to their kids? The ones that worked that land all their lives?

Get a grip!

February 08 2013 at 7:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down