House Committee To Vote On Estate Tax Repeal

March 23, 2015
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The House Committee plans to vote on legislation that would repeal the federal estate tax during the week starting Monday, March 23.

The group of lawmakers will consider such a move after Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 in February, according to Accounting Today.

Estate tax proposal

While opponents of the estate tax contend that it unfairly hampers small businesses, as well as those tied to family ranches and farms, the legislation sponsored by Brady would eliminate not only the so-called death tax, but also the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, the media outlet reported. During a recent hearing of the Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, Dave Reichert (D-Washington) spoke to the challenges these fledgling businesses frequently encounter.

Lawmakers lament challenges

“The story is the same in all of our districts – family business owners and farmers work hard for their entire lives with the goal of passing on the fruits of their labor, but face the sometimes insurmountable hurdle of the death tax,” he stated. “And in addition to the actual tax liability the death tax imposes, merely planning for it – regardless of whether these businesspeople and farmers end up owing it – is yet another challenge that we will hear discussed today.”

House committee vote

Amid these difficulties, the House Ways and Means Committee will vote on eliminating the estate tax for the first time in approximately one decade, Doug Andres, a committee spokesman, told The Hill. Congressional republicans have thus far failed to remove the tax completely, but they have managed to scale it down somewhat. Currently, individuals do not have to pay the death tax on the first $5.43 million of their estate, while this figure is $10.86 million for a married couple. Estates that do trigger the levying of the burden generate a top tax rate of 40 percent. The Hill reported figures from The Joint Committee on Taxation showing that eliminating this particular burden would cost the federal government nearly $295 billion over the course of 10 years. However, the portion of total tax revenues this policy brings in has declined over the years. The estate tax provided 2.6 percent of this income four decades ago, but this portion plunged to 0.6 percent in 2014, the committee stated, according to the news source.

Future of bill

Assuming the proposed bill reaches the House floor for a vote and gains approval, many have speculated the legislation has very little chance of being signed into law, as President Barack Obama has advocated expanding the scope of the estate tax.