April 05, 2017

“…in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1789. But even some taxes aren’t certain today.

President Trump and House Republicans will be turning soon to tax reform, with a focus on eliminating the estate tax, cutting tax rates on personal income and corporate earnings, and simplifying the Internal Revenue Code.

But their plans differ, and there’s no telling what features they’ll agree on, if or when they’ll be able to enact a new law, and when it will become effective. That makes it difficult to plan effectively—but we think that for many clients, it would be a mistake to wait until the dust settles.

In Bernstein’s quarterly white paper “Nothing Is Certain: Tax Planning Ahead of Change,” we review the tax proposals under consideration and how they would impact various groups of taxpayers if adopted. Then, we review the steps clients could take to best position themselves before (and, in some cases, after) a new tax law changes both the personal income tax and transfer taxes.