U-T San Diego reports the Catch-22 of the decade. The inheritors of an art collection are stuck with a piece that includes the stuffed carcass of a bald eagle. Because the bald eagle is a protected species, it would be a felony for the inheritors to sell the piece. The inheritors' position is that a piece that cannot be sold has no "fair market value," and therefore no estate tax value. The IRS, on the other hand, is saying that the piece is worth $65 million and that the tax due on the piece is about $29.2 million.
The resolution of this case could have far-reaching implications because the name of the game in estate tax planning is valuation. Taxpayers want low values, while the IRS wants high values. We will stay tuned to how this one turns out.