Late last year, Congress and the President agreed to "permanent" transfer tax revisions that set the unified credit equivalent exemption at $5.25 million in 2013, indexed it for inflation, and set the maximum rate at 40%. At long last, the moving target of exemption and rate changes that have varied annually since 2001 was dead and buried.
Not for long, however. President Obama's budget proposal has reopened the issue. It calls for a $3.5 million exemption, without indexing for inflation. It would also move the maximum rate up to $45%. These changes would take place in 2018, which would again likely rekindle gift tax planning in 2017 before the old rates and exemptions expire.
This of course is only a proposal. Nonetheless, the four month period of "permanence" has reached its end.