Forbes Quotes Beth Kaufman on Estate Tax
At a tax conference exploring the populist idea of an annual wealth tax, the conversation shifted to the estate tax, which is on the books and hits the rich at death already. Why is that significant? Changes to the estate tax would be an easier way to address wealth inequality; they’re way more likely to happen than the pie in the sky idea of a wealth tax. And they could hit people at much lower levels of net worth. One of the ideas–eliminating stepped-up basis–could hit anyone with stock with built-in gains.
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“The exemption under the estate tax has risen astronomically. Probably by most measures, it’s too high,” said Beth Kaufman, an estate lawyer with Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., who spoke at the Tax Policy Center’s Taxing Wealth conference. You could justify imposing higher estate tax rates at higher levels of wealth and starting at a lower threshold, she noted. There are also bills in Congress aiming to close loopholes. That would go a long way towards raising revenue, Kaufman said.
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