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So far I'm hoping the "over $400k/yr" promise will keep the 15%capital gains rate for most of us. But there is no guarantee.

Well, there are taxpayers who make less than $400k/year who are already paying more than 15% in LTCG, due to the NIIT, which kicks in at income as low as $125k, depending on your filing status. That said, the cap gains rate proposal on the table will only impact those with more than $1MM in income.

The end of stepped up basis (suggested but not yet before Congress) could have many of us paying those penalty capital gain rates as estate taxes.

Why do you call them 'penalty capital gains rates'? As proposed, it's not a penalty - it's adding a new bracket to the already indexed capital gains rates. That said, I doubt that 'many' is the correct characterization of those that will end up paying, due to the exemptions that will need to be carved out in order to get enough votes for any proposal to pass. And don't forget, the currently high estate exemption is already scheduled to return to the prior levels as of Jan 1, 2026, along with the expiration the rest of the TCJA for individuals.

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