This post was written by Larry Blair.

Estates with values of less than $5.49 million that didn’t timely elect portability get temporary relief from IRS. The portability rule allows a married decedent’s unused estate tax exemption to pass to the surviving spouse. In order to pass the unused exemption, an estate must elect portability by timely filing a complete estate tax return (Form 706) no later than nine months after date of death, even if one is not otherwise required because estate assets fall below the filing threshold.

For estates valued under $5.49 million that did not timely file the portability election, IRS is now giving these estates a streamlined method to make a late election. An estate must file the Form 706 by the later of January 2, 2018, or the second anniversary of death and include this statement at the top of the form: “Filed Pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2017-34 to Elect Portability Under Section 2010(c)(5)(A).”

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