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Estate-tax repeal won’t end installment bill

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Q: My father died in 1998, and we decided to pay off the estate tax using the installment method. Now that estate tax is being repealed, will we still have to pay installments after 2009? R.V., Plymouth, Mass.

A: Yes. The estate-tax repeal applies only to the estates of people who die after 2009, not to estate taxes due after 2009. So you must continue to pay the annual installments in addition to the specified interest rate of 2 percent. Under that installment election for qualified estates, you can defer the tax payments as long as five years and then spread them out over the succeeding 10 years, for a total 15-year payment period. Tip: Unless Congress acts to make the repeal permanent, the federal estate tax will be reinstated after 2010.

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