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Table of federal estate tax brackets and exemption limits

The federal estate tax brackets were changed by the Tax Relief Act of 2001. The following table illustrates the increasing amounts that will be exempt from federal estate taxation. While the size of an estate that is fully exempt from federal estate taxes increases, the highest estate tax rate is simultaneously being reduced.

Year Amount exempt from federal estate tax Highest estate tax rates
2002 $1 million 50%
2003 $1 million 49%
2004 $1.5 million 48%
2005 $1.5 million 47%
2006 $2 million 46%
2007 $2 million 45%
2008 $2 million 45%
2009 $3.5 million 45%
2010 federal estate tax scheduled to be repealed* federal estate scheduled to be repealed - no tax*
2011 scheduled to revert to prior law* scheduled to revert to prior law*

*The previous federal estate tax will be reinstated in 2011 under the sunset provisions of the Tax Relief Act of 2001 unless Congress takes additional action. The top federal estate tax rate will be restored to 55 percent, and the federal estate tax exemption amount will return to $1 million.