Under current law, the estate tax will be repealed at the end of 2010 and reinstated at the end of 2011. This pattern seems unlikely to occur, though, and policy makers are already considering alternatives. One of the key issues is the impact on charitable giving. The estate tax encourages charitable giving at death by allowing a deduction for charitable bequests. It also encourages giving during life, because such gifts reduce the size of the estate (and thus the tax bill) at death. But the tax can also reduce charitable gifts because it diminishes the amount of money left in the estate to allocate among competing uses including charity.
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