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Estate Tax and Museums in 2011

Estate tax can have huge consequences for museums, which rely in large part upon bequests. In December 2010, the Obama administration signed new tax legislation into law. The new law lowers estate taxes, and may thereby have a negative effect on museums.

Whatever its failures will be, the new estate tax marks an improvement from 2010. Last year was “an anxious one for museums and all other nonprofit organizations and institutions around the country,” because Congress failed to pass legislation in 2009 imposing any inheritance tax. Read about last year’s failures at The Huffington Post.

In an article in this week’s Art Newspaper, Martha Lufkin discusses whether or not the new tax rates for 2011 will discourage bequests to museums. Based on her analysis, charitable giving seems generally encouraged under the new law, but the incentives for giving to museums are not great. Read the article at the Art Newspaper.