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George Soros and Warren Buffett Want Higher Estate Tax

It’s not every day that you see billionaires asking for a raise in taxes which would essentially affect their “wealth category,” namely, the rich.

But yes, two prominent billionaires are doing just that, writes Bloomberg News. You’ve likely heard the name Warren Buffett. And if you watch Glen Beck, then you’ve likely also heard the name George Soros.

Both men are billionaires and both are calling for a rise in the estate tax.

This push comes just days before the fiscal cliff, which is the name given to December 31, 2012 when the tax policies of the recent years expire.

In fact, Soros and Buffett aren't the only wealthy individuals calling for a change in estate tax. The founder of Vanguard Group also signed the statement, which was released on Tuesday. So did former President Jimmy Carter.

Twenty wealthy individuals signed this statement, calling for Congress to lower the estate tax exemption to $2 million and to raise the top rate to 45 percent. Translation: Anyone who leaves an estate with a value over $2 million should get taxed at 45 percent on any amount over that $2 million.

The first $2 million, of course, should go untouched.

Why are these rich people just asking to be taxed? For one, they believe that it's healthy for the economy. According to Bloomberg, their proposed estate tax structure would raise revenue and reduce the deficit. Also, the statement points out that even at the $2 million exemption level, the estate tax would only hit one percent of the estates.

Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and is worth $46.7 billion. He is an avid and well known philanthropist so it's likely that a large part of his estate will avoid taxation as it is. Charitable contributions have the effect of lowering an estate's taxable value.

Related Resources:

  • Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
  • Beware of Formula Clauses and Estate Tax Uncertainty (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
  • The 'Fiscal Cliff' and What It Means for Estate Planning (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)