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Does the Death Tax Have a Date with the Grim Reaper?

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H.R. 1259, The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act amassed over 200 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), and introduced almost one year ago, seeks to repeal estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes and make the maximum 35% gift tax rate and $5 million lifetime gift tax exemption permanent. Without legislative action, the estate tax reverts on January 1, 2013 to 2001 levels, which impose a $1 million exemption and 55% tax rate.

This does not bode well for life insurers who sell many products designed to ease the burden of estate taxes.

Dick Patten, President of the American Family Business Institute (AFBI) said in a statement, “It’s encouraging that this bi-partisan bill has garnered nearly as many co-sponsors as the total votes needed to pass it. The death tax is consistently ranked as the least fair and most unpopular tax in America. If members of Congress and our President want to get behind populist legislation, they should put down the class warfare rhetoric and take up Rep. Brady’s bill to repeal the death tax.”

However, many experts feel that making headway on the issue will be hard to do at least until after the general election in November making it exceedingly difficult for insurers who sell products that mitigate the estate tax.

Rep. Brady said in a statement, “The death tax remains the number one reason family-owned businesses and farms can’t be passed down to their children. Reaching this important milestone of over 200 sponsors now shows overwhelming support for repealing this terrible tax.”


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