“YES” on Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 1105)

On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (H.R. 1105). Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) 62%, the bill would repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, as well as cut the top gift tax rate. Collectively, these measures repeal the pernicious double tax known as the “death tax,” and result in a tax cut of $269 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).

The death tax hurts economic growth and therefore limits the ability of Americans to prosper. According to conservative estimates by The Heritage Foundation, repealing the death tax would generate an average of 18,000 jobs annually and increase the overall net worth of American households by $300 billion a year. The revenue generated by the death tax is dwarfed by its drain on the economy and the amount of effort and preparation that goes into paying (and using high-priced lawyers and accountants to avoid) the tax.

Often unmentioned is the impact of the death tax on civil society. The federal government should encourage, not punish, Americans who work and pay taxes their whole lives, save enough to support themselves through retirement, and retain the ability to fulfill the American Dream by passing along a better life to their children. The death tax discourages the entrepreneurial spirit by burdening family businesses with untenable choices as they pass from one generation to the next.

Repealing the death tax is also popular. In at least one poll it was labeled the “least fair” tax by the American people, and its repeal has historically had a significant amount of bipartisan support (as evidenced by H.R. 1105’s chief co-sponsor, Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-GA) 19%). It is a welcome development that the House is voting to repeal it for the first time in just over a decade.

Heritage Action supports H.R. 1105 and will include it as a key vote on the legislative scorecard.

Heritage Action Scorecard