As we all know politics has everything to do with spin. This is true not only during election cycles but it is also true once legislative processes have begun. We were led to believe that the changes to the estate tax that came out of the new tax act at the end of 2010 represent a positive example of true tax relief, and there is some truth in this. We now have an exemption from estate taxes of $5 million and a tax rate of 35%, which is the lowest rate in recent memory. The real question is whether there ought to be permanent repeal of the estate tax.
Why should the estate tax be repealed? There are a number of very compelling reasons and any one of them would be enough to provide logical support for a repeal.
The death tax is an instance of double, triple or more taxation. The tax brings is a very small portion of the revenue to the federal government and it is expensive to collect and enforce. It tends to break up family owned businesses and keep them from continuing because they have to be liquidated or take on substantial debt to pay the excessive tax.
Left in the hands of the family members who are anxious to see the business continue and grow, the economy will see added employment, and growth in the revenue to the government in the form of income taxes. Wealth that is inherited is invested, again allowing for growth and capital gains taxes.
There is some good news to report for those who agree that enough is enough when it comes to taxation. During the current legislative session no less than five bills (H.R. 86, H.R. 99, H.R.143, H.R. 177, and H.R. 123) have been introduced to the United States House of Representatives calling for a repeal of the estate tax. This is a positive development for anyone who is in favor of paying their fair share of taxes, but encouraging sustained growth at the same time.