'Devastating' death tax hopefully near its end

Sunday, January 6, 2013
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

It's long been said that the only thing certain in life is death and taxes -- and this year, the death tax will still be around.

As part of the recent "fiscal cliff" agreement, estates will now be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates.

Martin, Jim (60 Plus Association)Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, says it could have been worse.

"We could have gone back to only a million-dollar exemption and a 55-percent rate on anything over a million," he poses. "Now $1 million sounds like a lot of money, but there a lot of farmers and small businessmen and women all over the country who may on paper be worth $1 million, but it's all tied on with land and equipment and inventory."

Martin goes on to argue that the tax is essentially a double tax on income and property that someone has already paid over time.

"In fact, there are some economists who say it could be considered a triple or quadruple tax," he relays. "The state inheritance tax is another tax. Once Uncle Sam has taken his hunk, a lot of the states have a state inheritance tax. There [are] about a dozen states that still have one."

Regardless, Martin asserts that the death tax is "anti-family, anti-business and anti-minorities."

"These minority businesses all around the country are devastated by this tax," he laments. "When the owner dies, guess who is the first claimant in line? Uncle Sam -- not even a blood relative. We think that is immoral, if nothing else."

In December 2012, the 60 Plus Association announced it was reassuming its leadership role in the fight to end the death tax, following the demise of the American Family Business Institute. Martin is confident it will be fully repealed by the end of this decade.

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