Trump Tax Cut Lie: The Estate Tax Repeal Helps Millions

Trump Tax Cut Lie: The Estate Tax Repeal Helps Millions September 30, 2017

Here’s the second whopper of a lie that Trump and the Republicans are telling about their plan to cut taxes, particularly the repeal of the estate tax. Trump first lies and says it won’t help him (it saves him more than a billion dollars), then lies and says it helps millions of farmers and small business owners.


“To protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax, or as it is often referred to, the death tax,” Trump said in his Sept. 27 speech.

He continued, “That means, especially for all of you with small businesses that are really tremendous businesses, you’ll be able to leave them to your family, and your family won’t have to run out and do a fire sale to try and get the money to pay the tax. … The farmers in particular are affected. They have wonderful farms, but they can’t pay the tax, so they have to sell the farm. … So that death tax is a disaster for this country and a disaster for so many small businesses and farmers.”

PolitiFact calls that a pants on fire lie. In reality, the estate tax only affects a few thousand families in the entire country, almost all of them among the richest of the rich.

In 2017, estates worth less than $5.49 million are exempt from the tax, according to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. Above $5.49 million, the estate is generally taxed at 40 percent. However, family-owned farms and closely-held businesses may be able to pay less or pay in low-interest installments.

So how many estates are affected by the tax? Not many, and the people who pay it are usually among the country’s richest families.

For 2017, the Tax Policy Center estimated, based on past tax data and modeling, that 11,310 individuals will have estates big enough to file an estate tax return. “After allowing for deductions and credits, 5,460 estates will owe tax,” the center concluded. “Over two-thirds of these taxable estates will come from the top 10 percent of income earners and close to one-fourth will come from the top 1 percent alone.”…

How about small businesses and farms? The center projected that only about 80 small farms and closely held businesses would pay any estate tax in 2017. That would amount to about 1 percent of all payers of the estate tax that year. And the estate tax revenue from small businesses and farms, the center said, would amount to fifteen-hundredths of 1 percent of the total paid under the estate tax in 2017.

This is a lie Republicans have told over and over again in their endless attempts to repeal the estate tax, trying to persuade people that it could affect them when it only affects the mega-rich. Lies, lies, lies.

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