The House and Senate each introduced bills June 19 that would permanently repeal the estate tax. Sen. John Thune’s (R., S.D.) bill, The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013, coupled with bipartisan legislation of the same title introduced by Reps. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) and Mike McIntyre (D., N.C.) is identical to legislation introduced in the last Congress that received bipartisan support of 223 representatives and 38 senators.
During a press conference on Capitol Hill, both Thune and Brady stated it was time for the estate tax to be repealed. As it currently stands, the estate tax exemption level remains at $5 million ($10 million per couple). Unfortunately, the top tax rate on the value of the estate over the exemption level increased from 35 to 40% as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations which took place at the beginning of 2013.
The legislation introduced would repeal the estate tax, maintain stepped-up basis and make permanent a 35% maximum gift tax rate and $5 million lifetime gift tax exemption indexed for inflation. Recent increases in agriculture cropland values, on average 15% from 2011 to 2012, have greatly expanded the number of farms and ranches that now top the estate tax exemption, supporters state.
The bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, 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.