Improving equity is one of the top priorities of President Biden, along with upgrading our infrastructure, increasing access to higher education, and a host of other worthy yet rather costly objectives. But a precondition to achieving these laudable goals is sufficient funding, which necessarily starts with the elimination of tax rules that tip these scales of financial justice in favor of the wealthy. Of the low hanging fruit in the tax code, one particularly ripe target is the stepped up basis rule.
This rule provides that the basis of every asset that a decedent taxpayer owned is deemed the same as its current fair market value. If a person purchased a stock for $100 a share and died when the share price was $1,000 a share, the latter dollar figure is the new tax basis of such share. Such determinations are critical. Upon the sale or trade of assets, basis