Higher Estate Tax Exemption Moves in Md.

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    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Treasury Secretary's Timothy Geithner's signature can be seen on a new twenty dollar bill, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on July 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The printing facility of Bureau of Engraving and Printing on 14th Street in Washington was until 1991 the only facility printing Federal Reserve notes until a western facility was opened in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    A measure to raise the amount of money exempted from estate taxes in Maryland is moving forward in the Legislature.

    The Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that already has passed the House of Delegates.

    The measure would recouple Maryland's estate tax to the federal one in several years. Now, Maryland estates worth more than $1 million are taxed at a rate of up to 16 percent, while the federal government exempts the first $5.3 million and taxes money above that amount at 40 percent.

    The Maryland bill would raise the exemption to $1.5 million next year and $2 million in 2016. The exemption would rise to $3 million in 2017 and $4 million in 2018 before being coupled with the federal exemption in 2019.