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Opinion: It is time to kill the death tax

(Sinclair Broadcast Group){ }

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - They say there are only two sure things in life – death and taxes.

Hopefully those two things won’t be linked together for much longer.

The White House has proposed, as part of its larger tax reform plan, a repeal of the federal estate tax, also known as the death tax. That tax is applied when, you guessed it, someone dies and leaves an inheritance.

There is an exemption, $5.49 million per spouse leaving the inheritance, with up to 40 percent of money left above that going to the federal government.

Why does the government deserve to take 40 percent of money which has already been taxed, either as income or gains on investment? It does not.

Double taxation makes no sense and is simply unfair.

Beyond the fairness argument, there is a policy problem. The death tax punishes families who own small to medium size businesses which are asset rich but cash poor.

Imagine a family in which a cattle ranch is left as inheritance and it is valued over the applicable exemption.

What that would mean is a family may have to come up with millions of dollars in cash to hand over to the federal government as a death tax.

If they, like many of our country’s farmers, do not have that much cash, the family would have to sell the business.

Here is the bottom line: the very premise of the estate tax is unfair. It is applied to assets which have already been taxed. The effect of it? Less family owned businesses in America, something that is not desirable in any way whatsoever. It is time to kill the death tax.

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