October 12,2017

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Rachel McCleery

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Finance Committee Issues Report Exposing How Fortunate Few Avoid Paying Estate Taxes

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Democratic Staff today issued a report detailing little known tactics and schemes that allow the one percent to dodge estate taxes. While only one out of 500 wealthy estates are subject to the estate tax, Trump’s tax plan proposes repealing the estate tax entirely. This would create a $269 billion giveaway for the wealthiest Americans.  

“Fancy lawyers and crafty accountants have hung their careers on gutting the estate tax by engineering billion-dollar tax shelters for the one percent,” Wyden said. “Today’s report details exactly how these complex and confusing tax rules are exploited to enable the wealthy to avoid paying any estate taxes. It’s evidence that repealing the estate tax altogether would abandon progressivity and add to the continued erosion of America’s tax base. Republicans should close these loopholes and curb this abuse instead of creating a multi-billion dollar windfall for the fortunate few.”

Today’s report exposes the specific types of tax avoidance techniques specialists use to get their wealthy clients out of paying estate taxes. It also recommends Congress use evidence uncovered in this report to crack down on tax dodgers and simplify the way the estate tax is administered.  

The estate tax helps to prevent income inequality by making sure the top one percent of Americans are paying their fair share. This particular tax is levied only on estates worth more than $5 million per person, or nearly $11 million per couple. A 2013 Federal Reserve analysis estimated that half of the wealth owned by estates in excess of $100 million has never been subject to income tax.

A copy of the Democratic staff report can be found here.