There are times when you recognize a wrong that is being done and become rather passionate about pointing it out, feeling as though people simply aren’t “getting it.” This is the feeling that a lot of people get when they think about the estate tax. When you analyze the recent changes that came about as a result of the passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 you can see what could be described as a clear and present danger.
This “relief” in the form of a 35% federal death levy could be construed by some as a generous gift from Uncle Sam, but the fact is that even a 1% federal estate tax is unfair and excessive. So to fall into the trap of embracing a somewhat lesser tax rate and a higher exclusion as a true act of tax relief you are acknowledging the premise that the tax in of itself is necessary and proper and only the rate and the exclusion are subject to alterations.
The reality is that the debate should revolve around a potential repeal of the estate tax and not whether or not the government should take a half or a third of your hard-earned assets after you pass away. The good news is that there are five members of Congress who feel the same way. At this moment no less than five bills that have been introduced in the House of Representatives proposing a repeal the estate tax: H.R. 99, H.R. 177, H.R. 143, H.R. 86, and H.R. 123.
All of them except H.R. 123 would do away with the estate tax, the gift tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax by repealing Subtitle B (Estate and Gift Taxes) of the Internal Revenue Code. H.R. 123, which was introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia would repeal the estate tax but keep the gift tax in place with its current 35% rate but just a one dollar exemption.