Tags: Fletcher | death | tax | job

Thomas Fletcher: Kill the Death Tax

By    |   Thursday, 16 April 2015 08:20 AM

Estate taxes, which are imposed at the federal level on estates worth at least $5.43 million, should go the way of the horse and buggy, says Thomas Fletcher, a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity.

"This unpopular tax has long had an adverse impact on small, family business owners who want the next generation to continue the family legacy," he writes in The Washington Times. "Currently, the federal government seizes over 40 percent of an individual’s estate when they die."

So what would we gain by nuking estate taxes?

"Various studies conclude that eliminating the death tax would spur economic growth and create jobs," Fletcher says.

"Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz Eakin found that 1.5 million jobs would be created as well, increasing business capital to the tune of more than $1 trillion. Ending the death tax would also increase payrolls, expand investment, and increase hiring."

Estate taxes suppress savings and cost more in compliance than the revenue they generate, Fletcher writes.

Meanwhile, as corporate earnings season begins in earnest, the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice has released a report detailing 15 Fortune 500 companies that don't pay any taxes.

The list includes CBS, General Electric, Interpublic Group, JetBlue Airways, Mattel, Owens Corning, PG&E, Pepco Holdings, Priceline.com, Prudential Financial, Qualcomm, Ryder System, Time Warner, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox.

As a whole, the 15 companies paid no federal income tax on $23 billion in profits in 2014, and they paid almost no federal income tax on $107 billion in profits during the past five years. All but two received federal tax rebates in 2014, and almost all paid exceedingly low rates over five years.

"The scope of corporate tax avoidance spans a wide variety of economic sectors. Moreover, the tax breaks that have allowed these companies to be so successful in their tax avoidance are, by and large, perfectly legal, and often have been on the books for decades," the report states.

So what's the solution?

"A sensible starting point should be to critically assess the costs of each of these tax breaks and to take steps to ensure that profitable corporations pay their fair share of U.S. taxes," the study says.

"The next step is just as important. The revenues raised from eliminating corporate tax subsidies should not be given right back to corporations in the form of tax-rate reductions, as corporate lobbyists and their allies inside the Washington Beltway preposterously argue."

So where should this money go? "As the vast majority of Americans understand, these desperately needed revenues should be used to address our nation’s fiscal problems and to make critically needed public investments in our nation’s future," the report argues.

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Estate taxes, which are imposed at the federal level on estates worth at least $5.43 million, should go the way of the horse and buggy, says Thomas Fletcher, a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity.
Fletcher, death, tax, job
445
2015-20-16
Thursday, 16 April 2015 08:20 AM
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