Yankees owners George Steinbrenner saved $600 million in property taxes by dying in 2010

Did George Steinbrenner save his heirs millions by dying in 2010?

Forbes recently estimated the net worth of Yankees owners at $1.1 billion, much of it from the YES network. The New York Yankees, which he acquired in 1973 for $10 million, are now worth $1.6 billion but are 95% in debt due to debt from the new Yankee Stadium, according to Forbes.

Because Steinbrenner died in a year when there was no federal estate tax, he potentially saved his heirs a 55% estate tax on his assets, a tax bill of $100. around $600 million. The 55% tax takes effect January 1, 2011. If Steinbrenner had died in 2009 when the estate tax rate was 45%, his estate tax bill could have been closer to $500 million. of dollars. Because the wealthy often do elaborate planning, placing assets in trusts taxed separately from the estate or in tax-exempt foundations, it’s unclear how large one’s estate will be. Inheritance tax can also be carried forward on assets bequeathed to a spouse in years when there is an inheritance tax.

Steinbrenner is survived by his wife, Joan, two sons and two daughters, as well as two sisters and several grandchildren.

There is no estate tax this year due to changes made by Congress in 2001. These changes eased the estate tax for several years and culminated in its repeal this year, followed by a return to high levels of taxation in 2011. the repeal of taxes and its reinstatement in 2011 would actually come into effect. Instead, they thought lawmakers would smooth tax rates sometime between 2002 and the end of 2009.

Congress never got around to it, and the tax expired this year. Many are still hoping lawmakers will fix this year’s law, which actually raises taxes for the heirs of the simple wealthy (with assets between $1.3 million and $4 million). But they still haven’t acted and have little time to do so.

Because of the huge chasm between the zero tax rate of 2010 and the 55% rate of 2011, some worry that Congress provided the wealthy with an incentive to die – or their loved ones an incentive to die. ensure they die – before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. (For more, check out a Saturday Journal article about people who might think it pays to die this year.)

This time frame potentially provides huge windfalls for the very wealthy, like Steinbrenner. Other billionaires who died this year include Houston energy tycoon Dan Daniels and real estate developer Walter Shorenstein.

Goldman, Sachs is Steinbrenner’s banker.

–Laura Saunders

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