The death tax will expire tonight as soon as the ball drops and 2010 officially begins. This is good news for the businesses and families the tax plagues.
Unfortunately, this triumph may be short-lived as Congressional leaders have pledged to revive the death tax in the new year and make it retroactive so anyone that passes away during the period the tax is repealed will still have to pay. This could be difficult legally and will undoubtedly lead to many lawsuits that will play out for years. Not to mention the moral aspect of raising taxes on those that have already passed on.
Despite what Congress may do in the future, tonight is a time to celebrate the expiration of an economically damaging and immoral tax. The death tax devastates family-owned businesses, depresses wages and costs the economy jobs. If Congress permanently repealed the death tax, the economy would add 1.5 million jobs.
The Senate will likely look to extend the death tax in the early part of 2010 – picking up where the House left off in 2009. The Heritage Foundation will continue to argue for full repeal when it does. In the interim, please see www.heritage.org/deathtax for all our latest research on the death tax and our videos detailing the burden this frightful tax inflicts on businesses.