Washington (AP) The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday unanimously struck down a law that would have made it harder for taxpayers to file estate taxes for real estate sales.
The 5-4 decision by the court said the estate tax law was not meant to provide a way for people to avoid the federal estate tax, which would hit them if they had been married for more than 10 years.
It also said the law is meant to prevent wealthy people from avoiding taxes by moving to other states.
The decision was a victory for the estate and tax lawyers who argued that the law was designed to make it easier for wealthy individuals to avoid taxes, but the ruling also signaled the court’s shift away from relying on estate tax experts to decide what estate tax rates are appropriate.
“This decision is a significant win for millions of Americans who are struggling to afford the very high taxes that our government wants to impose on them,” said David Boies, president of the liberal law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which is representing the estates of more than 20,000 people who are trying to file for estate taxes.
The court ruling will give lawmakers another chance to pass an estate tax overhaul before the year ends.