Death and Taxes and George Steinbrenner

The New York Yankees cantankerous, love-to-hate-him owner George Steinbrenner passed away yesterday. Sad. But also: weirdly profitable. It turns out that the Steinbrenners benefit financially from a strange twist of fate and congressional laziness. Since Washington failed to renew the estate tax for 2010, the government can't touch the Boss' inheritance.

You see, 2010 is that magical year when, for one year only, the estate tax disappears. Had Steinbrenner died in 2009 when the estate tax was 45 percent on wealth over $3.5 million, the New York Times estimates his heirs would've lost about $500 million to federal taxes on an estate estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.1 billion .

Read the full story at TaxVox.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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