The dramatic increase in recent years of the level of the applicable exclusion for federal estate tax purposes1 to the current level of $2,000,000 per decedent for deaths in 2008,2 $3,500,000 per decedent for deaths in 2009,3 has added to the incentive in estates below the applicable exclusion threshold to value property at death4 or as of the alternate valuation date5 as high as possible in order to obtain the highest possible income tax basis for the estate and the heirs6 in order to reduce the amount of gain on later sale or exchange (or to increase the amount of any loss) and to increase the amount of depreciation claimable after death.7 That incentive is even greater where there is no state inheritance or state estate tax or where there is no liability for state inheritance or state estate tax as in states where property passing to lineal descendants is not subject to any state death tax.8
Harl, Neil E.
"Effect of Late Adjustments to Values at Death for Purposes of Setting the Income Tax Basis,"
Agricultural Law Digest: Vol. 19
, Article 1.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/aglawdigest/vol19/iss7/1