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The Three Most Important Tax Stories of 2010

On the tax-development Richter scale, 2010 was an 8.0. Here’s my list of the three most important tax stories of the year:

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Bush-era tax cuts extended through 2012: If you had told me right after the 2008 presidential election that the Bush-era tax cuts would survive through 2010, I would have called you uninformed. If you had told me they would be extended through 2012, I would have called you delusional. If you had told me that President Obama himself would urgently lobby a Democrat-controlled lame duck Congress for that extension because it was necessary to save the economy, I would have suggested electroshock therapy. All these things happened. Who woulda thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure.

Favorable estate tax surprises: Since way back in 2001, we’ve known that the federal estate tax was scheduled for a one-year repeal, in 2010 only. But nobody in their right mind actually expected Congress to let it happen. It happened! Heirs of billionaires who died this year got a huge tax-saving windfall (good for them, in my opinion). Plus we now have a very favorable set of estate tax rules for the next two years. Estates of individuals who die in 2011 and 2012 will be sheltered by a $5 million exemption. Married couples have a $10 million exemption to play with. So only the truly wealthy have to worry about the federal estate tax for the next two years. It’s absolutely mind-boggling that these things happened with a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress.

Big tax changes in the health-care legislation: My reputation for predicting tax developments took yet another shellacking when the massive health-care bill was enacted last March, right after Scott Brown seemed to make that impossible by winning Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. The most significant tax hikes in the health-care legislation don’t take effect until 2013, and it will be very interesting to see if they get repealed or not. What do you think?

Readers, what were the biggest tax developments for you in 2010?


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    • These tax cuts to the wealthy did noinhtg to create jobs over the past 10 years. As a matter of fact, an article written in the WSJ showed GW had the worst “jobs record” on record. More private sector jobs were created in the 1st nine months of 2010 because of the Obama Stimulus than were created in all 8 years of GW Bush. These supposed “temporary tax breaks” for the wealthy were “crammed down the throats of America” by a Republican Congress using the same reconciliation process that they attacked Dems for using to pass the healthcare bill. You want us to believe that extending these costly tax cuts to the wealthy will suddenly work to create jobs – after 10 years of failure? Don’t blame the democrats for creating class warfare – that war was started with Reaganomics and has been waged by Republicans for decades now. Face the facts and stop the Republican “Marxist” “socialist” rhetoric including the lie that the stimulus “did not work”. It did as intended by stopping the hemorrhaging of 700,000 jobs a month and helped states sustain basic services for police, fire, and schools. It’s easy to play Monday Morning quarterback by looking at the current situation and saying the stimulus did not “fix” the economy – but any economist will tell you it would be far worse than it is now and that unemployment would be double today’s figure without it.

    • Boa Noite!, chamo-me Ricardo e adorei imenso da tua página! Muito bonita muito bem!
      Aplica-se muito bem com tudo aquilo que aqui observei.Hoje por vezes há imenso para expressar nos blogs!Nada nada mais satisfatório do que por a nossa ideia online!e por isso escrevi este comentário!
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      Até amanhã :)

    • Olá bloggers apareço mais uma vez aqui neste blog amigo, para retribuir a visita feita…….
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      Ate amanhã………….

About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (, retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at