Despite being nearly derailed several times this year, it looks as if the full repeal of the estate tax will survive the U.S. tax battle in congress. Repeal of the estate tax has passed the House and is likely to win Senate passage Monday, May 21.

"Action taken by the Senate Finance Committee this week will pave the way for tax relief for America’s cattle producers," said Jay Truitt, NCBA’s executive director of legislative affairs. "The tax package will let farmers and ranchers think about investing in their future, rather than working to keep the government from taking away a lifetime of work."

Repeal of the Death Tax is a key component of the Restoring Earning to Lift Individuals and Empower Families Act (RELIEF) of 2001 put together by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassely (R-Iowa) and Ranking Finance member Max Baucus (D-Mont.). The Senate package also continues stepped up basis and a phase in of lower rates on estates and increases the unified credit for estates to $4 million over the life of the bill.

The Death Tax was initiated in 1916 to fund World War I. It was maintained in the tax code through the 20s and 30s to help prevent the concentration of wealth. Since that time, anti-trust laws have eliminated those concerns.