U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, today reintroduced legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, better known as the death tax, to finally put an end to a punitive tax on family farms, ranches, and businesses upon the death of an owner. Thune’s bill, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, is identical to legislation introduced in House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas). The House Committee on Ways and Means will be marking up Brady’s companion bill today in committee. Thune also introduced an amendment to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution to create a deficit neutral reserve fund to eliminate the federal estate tax, or death tax. The Senate is expected to vote on Thune’s amendment later this week.
“Death should not be a taxable event,” said Thune. “For too long the federal government has forced grieving families to pay a tax on their loved one’s life savings that has been built from income already taxed when originally earned. Currently more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation. According to a study by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would shave almost a percentage point off the unemployment rate. This tax punishes farmers and entrepreneurs for a lifetime of hard work. I will continue to work in Congress to see a permanent end to this unfair tax.”
“I am proud to join Senator Thune in introducing the Death Tax Repeal Act, which will finally abolish this unfair, anti-family tax, and I appreciate his leadership on this issue,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The death tax unduly burdens American families by taxing assets that are handed down from generation to generation, like family farms or small family businesses. It is the federal government’s final insult to tax your family when you have already paid taxes on your property throughout your life. The thought of having to visit the IRS and the undertaker on the same day is an absolute outrage. This is wrong and it’s why I have consistently supported legislation to eliminate this burdensome tax.”
“The death tax unfairly targets hardworking American families, small business owners, and farmers that have already been taxed all their lives,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. “Fortunately, there is bipartisan support to put an end to this burdensome tax once and for all. It’s time this tax be repealed so that families can pass down what they’ve worked so hard to build over a lifetime to their children.”
Thune’s bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, National Black Chamber of Commerce, International Franchise Association, National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Family Business Coalition, and many others.Thune’s bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and David Vitter (R-La.).