WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the U.S. Senate will next consider the proposed repeal of the federal estate tax, a tax that can total up to 40 percent for some of the largest estates.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Death Tax Repeal Act, a longtime Republican priority, earlier this month.
“It (estate tax) really targets small businesses, people who own farmland. It is something that’s been around for almost 100 years and we are one of only four developed countries that actually have such a tax,” said 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), a repeal supporter.
“When you work hard, you build a small business, you have family farmland — why should you have the federal government, at the passing of a parent, come in and tax that small business, that farmland, 40 percent for the inheritance?”
Last week, the vote for the Death Tax Repeal Act in the U.S. House was 240 to 179.
In addition to Jenkins, 1st District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) voted in favor of the repeal.
The White House, though, has called the proposal a giveaway that would raise federal deficits.
According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation, repealing the estate tax would cost the federal government $14.6 billion in 2016 and a total of $269 billion during the next ten years.
Currently, the estates of more than $5.43 million for individuals or $10.86 million for couples are taxed at rates of up to 40 percent. In all, less than one percent of estates meet those thresholds, according to the federal government.
“While the raw number of people who actually have to pay to the tax may be a small number, the fact is that there are lots of folks, lots of folks, who are forced into estate planning in order to avoid that tax,” Jenkins argued.
Changes President Barack Obama is proposing to capital gains could take total estate tax rates to more than 60 percent, if approved.
“The idea of working hard all your life, whether it be 40 or 60 percent at the time of your death goes to Uncle Sam, I think is un-American,” Jenkins said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”