For over a year, New Jersey's estate taxes have been a subject of political maneuvering and media reports. Specifically, a push to abolish the death taxes have made some headway in the state legislature, but not everyone is on board with the most recent rumors about how that change might take place.
According to reports, some legislators are suggesting that the death taxes be abolished while a gas tax is instituted. The gas tax is needed, say these lawmakers, because the state's Transportation Trust Fund is in serious need of cash. The fund is reportedly almost bankrupt.
Detractors to this move say that it doesn't make sense. Some objectors say that abolishing the estate tax seriously reduces the amount of income for certain state programs and could result in education cuts that impact thousands of students. The objectors also say that the current death tax thresholds in the state mean that a very small number of estates are actually impacted by the taxes.
A gas tax, on the other hand, would impact almost every resident, say detractors. The funds raised from such a tax might also not be used for the same programs the estate taxes fund.
The discussion is far from over regarding New Jersey estate taxes, but one thing is certain. This topic has had staying power for over a year and doesn't appear to be going anywhere in the near future. For that reason, individuals who are planning estates will have to plan with possible changes in mind. Working with a legal professional can help you understand what changes might occur and how you can create flexible estate plans that can be altered if necessary in the future.
Source: New Jersey 101.5, "NJ coalition blasts proposal to exchange estate tax for gas tax hike," Kevin McArdle, Dec. 02, 2015