Bipartisan Group Backs Bill to Fully Repeal Estate Tax
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on June 19 introduced legislation to fully repeal the estate tax. The Death Tax Repeal Bill of 2013 would permanently repeal the estate tax and lower the gift tax to 35 percent with a $5-million exemption.
The primary Senate sponsor of the bill, Senator John Thune, R-South Dakota, along with Representative Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the primary House sponsor, were joined by co-sponsors during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “This bill puts a nail in the coffin of the death tax by repealing it for good,ˮ said Hatch. “This bill protects small farms and businesses since the value of what’s passed on is locked in their land and their businesses. And this bill is bipartisan — showing how widespread support is for curtailing this onerous and unfair tax.ˮ
Thune, a member of Senate GOP leadership as well as the finance committee, cited a study from economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin that said that repealing the estate tax — or death tax, as Republicans have labeled it — would create some 1.5-million new jobs. “This tax punishes farmers and entrepreneurs for a lifetime of hard work," Thune said in a written statement. “Death should not be a taxable event, and I will continue to work in Congress to see a permanent end to this unfair tax.ˮ
Congress, in the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff signed early in 2013, permanently placed the estate tax rate at 40 percent, and the exemption at an inflation-indexed $5 million. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that the indexed $5-million exemption would affect about 8,700 tax returns in 2013, while the $3.5-million exemption would ensnare about 15,300. President Obama called for raising the estate tax rate to 45 percent in his most recent budget, with the exemption dropping to $3.5 million.
The measure is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, National Black Chamber of Commerce, International Franchise Association, National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Family Business Coalition, and many other organizations.
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