The House Ways and Means Committee plans to vote this week on a bill to repeal the U.S. estate tax, said Doug Andres, a spokesman for committee chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican.
The move to repeal the estate tax brings back an issue that has political potency for Republicans, especially among farmers and business owners. The effort stands virtually no chance of becoming law under President Barack Obama, who wants to go in the opposite direction with higher estate taxes.
“In addition to the actual tax liability the death tax imposes, merely planning for it —- regardless of whether these businesspeople and farmers end up owing it —- is yet another challenge,” said Rep. Dave Reichert, a Washington Republican, at a hearing last Wednesday.
The U.S. imposes a top rate of 40 percent on estates after an exemption of $5.43 million per individual or $10.86 million per married couple.
The federal government is projected to collect about $21.5 billion this year from the estate tax, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
The tax is now paid after 0.2 percent of deaths, compared with more than 2 percent in 2000 before Republicans fought to raise the exemption and lower the rate.
The bill is H.R. 1105.
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