Perelman's take gets some sympathy in Washington. While income taxes went up in the "fiscal cliff" deal for top earners, the estate tax was set at a more generous level. The tax was scheduled to go up to 55 percent on estates of more than $1 million. Instead, the tax was set at 40 percent for individual estates valued at $5.25 million.
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It seems unlikely that the estate tax will be abolished—or raised—anytime soon. Obama has proposed in his budget to hike the tax to 45 percent and lower the exemption to $3.50 million from $5.25 million.
But experts say any further hike in the estate tax is unlikely. So, however, is a reduction or elimination of the tax. A recent study in American Politics Research found that wealthier members of Congress were more likely to vote to repeal the estate tax.
Obama's proposal, however, does mean that the so-called permanent fix for the estate tax may not look so permanent.