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The I.R.S. Extends the Time for Estate Tax Portability Election for Small Estates

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On January 27, 2014, the I.R.S. released Rev. Proc. 2014-18. This revenue procedure provides an automatic extension of time to file a late portability election for estates of the first to die of a married couple provided that certain requirements are met. “Portability” refers to the option of the surviving spouse to make use of any gift and estate tax exemption that was not used by the deceased spouse. Thus, if the executor missed the opportunity to elect portability, now is the time to take advantage of this election, as this opportunity will end on December 31, 2014.


In 2010, Congress amended §2010(c) of the Code to allow the estate of a decedent who is survived by a spouse to make a portability election, which allows the surviving spouse to apply the decedent’s unused exclusion (“D.S.U.E.”) amount toward the surviving spouse’s own transfers during life and at death.

Notice 2011-82, issued on October 17, 2011, provided preliminary guidance regarding the requirements to elect portability of the decedent’s D.S.U.E. amount. Notice 2012-12, issued on March 3, 2012, provided temporary (and limited) relief by, in general, extending the deadline to file an estate tax return (Form 706, Unified States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return) for portability election purposes by six months if certain requirements were met. In June 2012, temporary regulations were issued that provided more detailed guidance on portability.