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In simple terms, portability of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples means that if the first spouse dies and the value of the estate does not require the use all of the deceased spouse's federal exemption from estate taxes, then the amount of the exemption that was not used for the deceased spouse's estate may be transferred to the surviving spouse so that he or she can use the deceased spouse's unused exemption plus his or her own exemption when the surviving spouse later dies.

How often do you get a second chance at millions of dollars in tax savings?

Not often! But on June 9, 2017, the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2017-34, which will provide many estates a second chance to preserve an otherwise lost estate tax exclusion of $5 million or greater.

If you or someone you know is the surviving spouse of a U.S. citizen who died after December 31, 2010 and failed to file an estate tax return by the due date (including extensions) to elect “portability” of the deceased spouse’s estate tax exclusion, take note! The IRS has granted certain qualifying estates an extension of time to make the election until the later of January 2, 2018, or the second anniversary of the decedent’s death. For many surviving spouses, this means a second chance to increase his or her estate tax exemption to as much as $10,490,000 or more.

For additional information…

on Revenue Ruling 2017-34, the portability election and filing of estate tax returns, please contact Morris Sabbagh, Esq. at 516.437.4385, ext. 120, or email him at msabbagh@vmmlegal.com.