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
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
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 Martin is confident it will be fully repealed by the end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.
An expert in retirement security is adding his two cents to
thoughts on this year's changes with Social Security.