Eliminating the Death Tax

Throughout their lives, people pay sales tax, property tax, and income tax on their assets. Paying Uncle Sam again should not be part of the grieving process. The death tax accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget, but almost one-third of business owners are forced to sell their businesses or liquidate a portion of their assets to pay death taxes. Far from benefiting only the richest citizens, the repeal of the death tax assists farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and grandparents who have worked their whole lives to pass something on to their children.

As you may know, as a part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which averted the “fiscal cliff,” Congress passed a permanent extension of the estate tax. The new law exempts those with assets under $5 million from any taxation upon death. Anyone with assets over that amount are taxed at 40%. Had no extension been passed, assets over $1 million would have jumped from 35% to 55% taxation. I supported H.R. 8 because this tax provision, like many others that were scheduled to come into effect, would have done serious damage to our economy.

That said, I have continually voted in favor of and continue to support legislation to fully repeal the federal estate tax. While I will continue to fight for permanent repeal, I recognize that a permanent extension at a lower rate with a higher exemption may have been the most pragmatic thing Congress could have done to ensure that Idaho’s farmers, ranchers, and small businesses have some long-term certainty so that they can plan for the future. You can be confident that I will continue working to promote long-term tax reform that makes our system more fair for all Americans.