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The Death Tax: The ‘Wrong Tax at the Wrong Time’

April 16, 2015

Today, the House will vote on a bipartisan bill to permanently repeal the death tax. In recent weeks, the Ways and Means Committee has heard from a wide range of people—from family farmers and ranchers to small- and minority-business owners—on why we need to get rid of this unnecessary and unfair tax.All of these stories reaffirm what Rep. Kevin Brady said when

All of these stories reaffirm what Rep. Kevin Brady said when he introduced this legislation: “It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people.”

In case you need a refresher, here are some reasons to support H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015:

The death tax is unfair and in conflict with the American Dream.

  • The estate tax, also known as the death tax, is a 40 percent tax on an individual’s transfer of assets in excess of an exemption amount to the next generation at the time of his or her death.
  • In many cases, this “estate” is a small business or family farm, and a death tax bill can make a family’s loss even more devastating.
  • America was built on small, family-owned businesses. Families have worked hard for years to pass on opportunity to their children—and our tax code shouldn’t punish them.

 The death tax hurts family businesses and farms.

  • Death should not be a taxable event.
  • Though it represents just a tiny fraction of federal revenue, the impact on a family can be enormous.
  • The death tax can force a family to sell off parts of a business or farm, lay off workers, or shutter a business entirely.
  • Assets that can trigger the death tax include land, property, and equipment. And a death-tax liability is often greater than a family business’s liquid assets.
  • In fact, the death tax is one of the biggest reasons that family businesses have to close up shop.

The death tax hurts rather than grows the economy.

  • Not only can the direct cost of the death tax be devastating, the cost and stress of planning for it can be high as well.
  • This is time and money better spent focusing on growing businesses, investing, and helping the economy.
  • The estate tax is also double taxation, further penalizing people for saving and investing in our country.

This legislation will provide families the relief they need. It would:

  • Repeal the estate tax and the generation skipping transfer (GST) tax for all future transfers;
  • Retain the gift tax and lower the top rate from 40 percent to 35 percent; and
  • Retain full step-up in basis for transfers at death.