Tags: Women | Join | Call | for | Repeal | Death | Tax

Women Join in Call for Repeal of Death Tax

Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM

"The death tax is possibly the most egregious barrier to women creating and passing on wealth to their children," said Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women's Forum, a conservative women's group.

Some 9.1 million women own a business, employing more than 27 million people and generating $3.6 trillion in revenues, Pfotenhauer said in a statement.

A survey of members of the National Association of Women Business Owners revealed that three out of four respondents incurred an average of $60,000 per business for death tax planning, she said.

These businesses could have used the money spent on avoiding the death tax to create an average of 39 new jobs per business, or 11,000 new jobs among the survey respondents, in the past five years, Pfotenhauer estimated.

The Senate Finance Committee last week passed a bipartisan $1.3 trillion Grassley-Baucus Tax Relief Act, which phases out the death tax component over 10 years.

This week the measure goes to the Senate floor in a limited debate before it goes to conference.

"Substantial tax relief is on the way," Grassley, the Finance Committee chairman, said last week. "This marks a victory for bipartisanship in the Senate, for the president's leadership and most of all, for taxpayers."

Last month, lawmakers in the House voted to phase out estate taxes, or what have come to be known as death taxes, despite criticism from Democrats who said the move benefits only the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

Currently, estates of less than $675,000 are exempt from taxation. Under the plan approved by the House on April 4, that threshold would rise to $1 million in five years, and by 2011 it would be gone altogether.

Family farmers and small business owners have long argued that estate taxes represent double taxation at high rates that sometimes force heirs to sell their inheritance just to pay the taxes.

But Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee and an advocate of death tax reform, said the recently passed House repeal bill will actually raise taxes for farmers.

The bill was "short on relief and long on pain for our farmers and ranchers" he said.

Under the House bill, repeal would not only be delayed, "but once the repeal is in place, farmers would get hit with a new capital gains tax that would be more onerous than the existing estate tax," Conrad said last month.

But supporters of the elimination of death taxes say the tax break will create jobs and boost the economy.

"Opponents of repeal say death taxes are a way to make wealthy people pay taxes, but the truth is it's not working," said Kimberly Schuld, director of External Relations with the IWF.

"The wealthiest people are avoiding this with tax planning, and it's hitting business owners who don't realize that all of their assets, including their homes and their cars, can be counted against their heirs."

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The death tax is possibly the most egregious barrier to women creating and passing on wealth to their children, said Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women's Forum, a conservative women's group. Some 9.1 million women own a business, employing more than 27...
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Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM
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