Latest on tax bill fight for Death Tax repeal

Posted on November, 13 2017, 17:39

As you have heard from the news much is happening regarding tax reform.  Much more is happening than has reached the public media.

Today, the Senate is drafting its version the tax bill.  Over 100 amendments have been proposed to the version of the bill released last Thursday.  The House bill is expected to be considered by the full chamber next week. 

The House bill, as of this time, provides for a doubling of the Death Tax deduction to approximately $11 million ($22 million for couples) for six years. Afterward, it provides for full Death Tax repeal. 

The Senate bill is expected to duplicate the House increase in the deduction, but does not contain provisions for full repeal.  

Our strategy is to work on Senate members to see if there is a way that they can include provisions for full Death Tax repeal in their bill.  After House and Senate passage of tax bills, there will be a joint conference committee tasked with coming up with a compromise bill.  We need to persuade the Senate conferees to agree to the House bill that contains full repeal.

I should note that our formal position remains that the House and Senate members should adopt a bill which includes full repeal effective January 1.  But as the tide is running right now, that is not likely.  Our hope is to get the House conferees to be as adamant as possible to get the House provisions into the final bill, and to get the Senate conferees to agree to the House provisions.

Now there is a morass of Senate budget rules that are involved in this deliberation.  One meeting I attended last week, one of the Senate leadership staff suggested that if there were to be a successful amendment to the draft Senate bill, that amendment would be more likely to succeed if it "took a bite out of your own hide."  In other words, that if, say, the energy industry wanted a tax break for something in one part of the bill affecting energy, it should propose a tax hike on another energy related provision. 

It was also understood that any amendment should, somehow, for every increase in revenue loss, have a provision proving for an increase in revenue. 

The good news is that we have been working with members of our Family Business Coalition and other groups on a possible amendment that would result in eventual full repeal of the Death Tax and also meet the budget requirements. 

The other good news is that we heard today from a top member of the House leadership that full repeal of the Death Tax remains among the highest priorities of the House leadership from the Speaker on down.

We are heartened by this and we continue to work tirelessly.  I'll let you know as soon as I hear more.

Finally, if you have contact with any member of the Senate Finance Committee,
please let him or her know of your strongest support for full repeal of the Death Tax.