Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Thursday announced that he would cosponsor legislation by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) to permanently repeal the federal death tax.
“Nobody should be forced to sell the farm or family owned small business they’ve just inherited in order to pay the tax bill,” Senator Alexander said. “Tennessee benefits from being a low-tax state, and transferring some of that common sense to Washington by eliminating the federal estate tax burden on farmers and small businesses is especially important as we try to get our economy moving again.”
The death tax is a tax on estates that the federal government collects after a property or business owner dies. Currently, the federal estate tax rate is as high as 40 percent, with an exemption for the first $5.25 million in property in 2013.
On Jan. 1, the top federal estate tax rate was set to increase to 55 percent with a $1 million exemption. Alexander supported the “fiscal cliff” agreement (a law named the American Taxpayer Relief Act) that passed the Senate 89-8 and instead made permanent the top rate of 40 percent and the $5 million exemption, adjusted each year for inflation.
Senator Thune’s legislation, The Death Tax Repeal Act, would permanently repeal the federal estate tax, which Senator Alexander said would demonstrate “Tennessee common sense.” On April 27, 2012, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill that will eliminate Tennessee’s inheritance tax after 2015.