Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition, with 2016 Cumulative Supplement

This award-winning guide makes the tax law fun and interesting by connecting examples from more than 150 well-known motion pictures to strategic guidance for estate planning and compliance. It includes complete coverage of the preparation and defense of Form 706, including illustrated estate tax returns, guidance on portability elections, and tips for molding a client’s estate plan during life to benefit the estate tax outcome. The book’s author, Keith Schiller, has more than 25 years of experience teaching tax professionals.





Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition – Estate Planning at the Movies® provides in-depth tax analysis and strategic counsel, while offering the ultimate in readability, by connecting well-known motion pictures to practical estate planning and compliance. These connections create great reminders of significant strategies or law, lending humanity to technical issues, and making the tax law fun. 

Art of the Estate Tax Return will enhance your practice and enable you to potentially save your clients millions of dollars in estate taxes by presenting strategic analysis for preparation, presentation, and post-filing defense and advocacy with tax-saving results.

Underlying the cinematic connections, the author shares his best practice tips from a career of preparing, reviewing, and defending estate tax returns, and his greater than 25 years of teaching experience for tax professionals.

With a Foreword by former IRS Appeals Team Manager John Schooler, and an Afterword by Charles W. Morris, the former IRS Territory Manager, Estate and Gift Tax for the Western United States, Art of the Estate Tax Return unsnares the traps and explores the nuances of law and procedure that enter into the preparation and defense of Form 706, including:

  • Expanded coverage of portability elections
  • Illustrated estate tax returns for 2013
  • Maximizing valuation discounts and deductions
  • Protecting FLPs and FLLCs
  • Securing best appraisal results
  • Tips to avoid audits
  • Pointers on GST reporting
  • Cautions and help for fiduciaries
  • Warnings and opportunities from inconsistencies in the law
  • Strategies for audits and appeals
  • Comprehensive analysis
  • And much more!

The 2016 Cumulative Supplement includes:

  • Advanced analysis of portability elections and updated coverage of the final regulations
  • Income tax basis consistency and reporting rules with Form 8971 and Schedule A
  • Illustrated Form 8971 with Schedule(s) A
  • New procedures, since closing letters are not automatically sent by the IRS
  • Expanded discussion relative to most schedules on the Form 706 and Code §6166 elections.
  • Three sample estate tax returns, updated for deaths in 2015
    • death of the first spouse
    • death of an unmarried individual

    • portability-elected estate using simplified reporting

  • Estate of Purdue: an important victory on three issues

  • Expanded coverage of gift tax issues relating to Form 706

Copyright Keith Schiller © 2014. All rights reserved. Estate Planning At The Movies® is the registered trademark of Keith Schiller.


Bloomberg BNA authors and editors are practicing professionals with insider perspectives and real-life experience. Learn more about this book’s authors and editors.


Keith Schiller is a nationally known attorney, award-winning author, and lecturer whose advice is sought by other practitioners to aid their clients with estate tax return preparation and defense. The author of more than three dozen published articles and 10 course texts for continuing professional education, Schiller has co-taught estate tax return preparation and audit defense with IRS estate tax attorneys, appeals officers, and managers since 1997. He received the CalCPA Education Foundation’s award for Outstanding Teaching Materials and has taught continuing education for professionals since 1987. He is the owner of the Schiller Law Group, a Professional Law Corporation, of Alamo, California.


View full tables of contents and read the book’s preface.



Read what others have to say about this Bloomberg BNA book.


This is the best resource available for estate tax return preparation…

Joe Stemach

Former IRS Estate Tax Attorney

Keith Schiller’s work here, the substantive work tied together with his personal insights and experiences and in some cases the insights of others is, by far, the best work on the subject that I have ever seen. By far! 

Charles W. Morris

Former IRS Territory Manager, Estate and Gift Tax for the Western United States

Keith Schiller has provided estate tax return preparers with an astounding compilation of invaluable tools to get this most complex task done more quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.  His practical advice, gleaned not only from his own extensive practice, but also from leading practitioners as well as former IRS officials, provides wise and creative solutions to some of the most perplexing conundrums posed by today’s hair-pullingly complex Code and Regulations. You’ll find a greatly expanded coverage of portability elections, detailed treatment of IRS Appeal rights and protective refund issues, and extensive discussion of and answers to many highly contentious valuation issues.  I know of no single source that even comes close to this book in depth.  It belongs – not in your law library – but within reaching distance – since you’ll be using it constantly!

Steve Leimberg

Publisher – Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI)

…an encyclopedic guide for professional practitioners in understanding and preparing IRS Form 706….This volume is most impressive for its breadth and depth of coverage as well as its winning and entertaining style of presentation.


Nancy Shurtz

Law Professor and Senior Editor, Estate Planning magazine