The Death Tax

June 7, 2000

June 7, 2000

I picked up the Washington Post yesterday and there I saw this article discussing the Death Tax issue in great detail. The gist of the message was: Yes, there is growing pressure for the federal government to do something to reduce the tax burden forced upon a family at the death of the principal. Somehow, the writer of the Post article couldn't seem to understand why relief was supported by so many people. After all, only 2% of family estates are faced with the tax. It's really no big deal. What's all the noise about?

Well, it's no big deal if you're not taxed. But if you find the IRS demanding up to ½ of your estate just because you had the misfortune to die, then it's a big deal.

Imagine this guy just arrived in the Promised Land. He's sitting on a cloud watching the greedy federal government prepare to destroy the business that he spent a lifetime building. He wants Uncle Sam to hear him. Listen to him. "Hey, I didn't plan to die. At least not yet. Our farm was doing okay when I was there. So I didn't have a million dollars set aside to pay Uncle Sam. Farms don't make enough money to set aside funds like that. No, I didn't have a million dollars in life insurance either. That's very costly to fund. I admit I didn't spend enough money hiring lawyers and accountants to put together a complicated estate plan. Uncle Sam, you don't understand. I already paid the taxes when I earned the money. Course, the money left is now invested in land, buildings, machinery and live stock. If I sell that to pay you, my son won't be able to continue running the fann."

Unfortunately, in too many cases, that's the way it is. President Clinton says he will veto any legislation passed this year to provide death tax relief. The Washington Post seems to think that all family businesses are rich anyway and the wealth should be redistributed.

Support for relief is growing because the tax is so unfair.