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NYS Estate Tax Changes: The Good News, and the Bad News

As of April 1st New York state doubled its estate tax exemption – the amount you can leave your heirs without paying state estate tax – and it is set to rise gradually through 2019 to eventually match the federal exemption, projected by then to be $5.9 million.  That will make estate tax planning much easier for many people, but there are still big traps in the new law to watch out for. One such trap in New York is a new “cliff,” so called because if it is triggered you fall into NY’s estate tax abyss. Until April 1, 2014 the amount an individual could leave to their heirs (other than a spouse) without owing NYS estate tax was $1 million.  Your estate would then pay NYS estate tax (to a 16% top rate) on the value of your assets which exceed $1 million.  As of April 1, 2014 the

Gov. Cuomo Proposes Changes to NYS Estate Tax

New York is one of only fourteen states that tax estates. That means in addition to the federal estate tax, a New York estate could be paying another 9% – 16% to Albany – a fact that some believe is leading to a migration from New York to other states. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new budget proposes several major changes to New York’s estate tax. First some background: The federal estate tax applies to people who have an estate of $5.34 million or more, and they typically pay a rate of 40%. So the federal system has a big exemption, but a high tax rate. New York’s system affects many more taxpayers because the personal exemption of $1 million is so much lower, notwithstanding the lower 9% – 16% rate. When Governor Cuomo highlighted this issue at his recent press conference, he made a series of proposals to bring the New

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