Op-ed: Don't negotiate away the family business, Sen. Hatch

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  • DillyDilly Ogden, UT
    Nov. 4, 2017 8:45 p.m.

    Check facts this is a tax gift for the ultra wealthy
    There are only 80 of the largest farmers in all of the US would benefit from this !
    Its another smoke and mirrors lie for the wealthy !

    Same thing with AMT it mainly is paid by the ultra wealthy that without it almost all making over 5 million would pay no tax ! depending on their filing write-offs

    Unless your making 5 million or more this Tax plan is the worst ever proposed!

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 3, 2017 9:22 a.m.

    @liberal larry:

    You make a good point. I say keep the death tax on estates like the Koch's that have such huge value. But on smaller businesses and farms which have a value of say up to 20 million, bag the tax.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 3, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    To "Misty Mountain" actually a business that is worth that much isn't that far out of the realm of possibility. All it would take is the average size farm near a city that is growing. The farm land could easily become worth near $20 million by itself.

    Just because you don't like a scenario that doesn't mean that it is wrong.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    Nov. 2, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    @RedShirt wrote,

    "Imagine you inherit a company with $20 million in assets, yet only has $100,000 in profits each year. What do you do when the government give you an inheritance tax bill of $5 million? How can you keep that business?"

    Nobody in their right mind is going to keep a business with $20 million in assets that makes only $100,000 in profits each year. That's a return on investment of one half of one percent. They would sell the assets, pocket the $20 million, pay the $5 million estate taxes, buy some certificates of deposit, and live very, very comfortably on the $450,000 annual interest income. No risk, and the only work they'd have to do is deposit the interest checks each month.

    Or they could take the fifteen million and buy a business that would actually make them some money, unless the one that dear old dad left to them.

    Next question?

  • Jeremiah S Fielding, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 9:14 p.m.

    Irrevocable trust. There are ways around this.

    Nov. 1, 2017 4:31 p.m.

    That's nutty. It's money that is changing hands. You're not taxed twice - you're dead. It's not your money anymore.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 3:45 p.m.

    Lets look at what the estate tax is in a simple to understand way.

    You spend your life paying taxes on money and a business you plan on leaving to your children.

    When your children inherit the money and business that has already been taxed, they are taxed again. That means your money gets taxed twice.

    Who out there thinks that it is fair to tax money twice? Do we tax money that you have saved? No, we only tax interest and gain.

    To "louie" you and others like you don't seem to understand. Imagine you inherit a company with $20 million in assets, yet only has $100,000 in profits each year. What do you do when the government give you an inheritance tax bill of $5 million? How can you keep that business?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 1:49 p.m.

    "Destroying jobs by targeting America’s main economic engine — small (and often family-owned) businesses, is bad business, and it’s cruel."
    The "death-tax" doesn't even kick in until the value is well over $1M so this is blatantly false. Most small-businesses aren't anywhere near that value. The "death-tax" affects those with HUGE assets.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    The Koch Brothers have an estimated net worth of 100 Billion dollars, and when they pass on their estate (theoretically) will be subject to a 40% estate tax, or a tax bill of $40,000,000,000.

    Now who do you think is behind efforts to demonize and eventually kill the estate tax?

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 11:36 a.m.

    Please quit calling it a death tax. It is an estate tax levied before inheritances are distributed. And to say it punishes or destroys small businesses is absurd. As of 2017 the tax only applies to businesses worth over $5,490,000, hardly a small business. Only about 1 in 700 estates pay the one time tax in a given year (.014%). It is not one of the most unpopular taxes with average Americans. Americans over the age of 45 have an average net of $750,000. It is unpopular with 1.1% of the population.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 10:34 a.m.

    There is no such thing as 'the death tax'. If you want to bury yourself with millions then go ahead. That money will never be taxed. We do have a tax on inheritance. One that doesnt kick in until $6000000. This writer tries to make it sound like this tax kills small business and to make is sound like the family farm is in trouble because of this tax but ignores the reality that only .2% of estates pay this tax.

    The 'Family Business Coalition' sounds serious but it is just an anti inheritance tax shill.

    "I’ve heard from farmers and ranchers and small business owners across Utah who fear that they won’t be able to pass along to their children what they’ve worked so hard to build out of fear of the federal death tax."
    That is because people like you have lied to them and made them fear this tax which 99.8% will never be subject too. You are filling them with fear and then pretending to come to their rescue. Its creepy and dishonest.

    If anything this tax should be increased to slow down our decent into oligarchy. It may already be too late. Half of us are apparently willing to elect someone because he happened to be born rich.

    Dont buy any of this oped.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    The wealthy worshipers are out in force here. The dishonest PR the wealthy use to distort reality works just fine.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 9:35 a.m.

    Regarding the repeal of the federal estate tax (i.e., the "death tax"), here's a warning to those of us who are not worth enough to have to pay it:

    Currently, when a person dies, his appreciated assets (home, investments, etc.) receive a "stepped-up" basis. That is, the income tax basis of a deceased person's assets "steps up" to their market value at the time of death. So, if your deceased relative paid $50,000 for his home and it's worth $500,000 when he dies, his heirs can sell it for $500,000 income tax free; to the heirs, it's the same as if the home were purchased for $500,000, not $50,000.

    The reason for this is to not subject heirs to both an income tax and a death tax if they are required to sell assets to pay the latter. If the death tax is repealed, will the "stepped-up" rule remain? Or, with no death tax to pay, will the government also repeal the step-up in basis rule, thus causing the heirs of those with few assets to pay an income tax on appreciated inherited assets?

    Currently, those of us with less than $5.49 million in assets pay no estate tax. Nor do our heirs pay income tax when they sell their appreciated inherited assets. Let's hope that doesn't change.

    Nov. 1, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    Also too - referring to the estate tax as the 'death tax' is a big red flag. Look out below for exaggerations and misstatements of facts. None dare call them lies.

    Nov. 1, 2017 9:26 a.m.

    This has nothing to do with coveting thy neighbors wealth. A lot of these estates gain value as they sit in trusts and are subject to no capital gains tax that the rest of us pay on appreciated assets. That's a loophole that only the very wealthy can take advantage of and boy do they. If you want to create a feudal society where inherited wealth rules and the rest of us are born serfs, eliminating taxes on inherited wealth is the way to go. What do they say - freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    This opinion piece is total crock. The few people who qualify for the estate tax can afford it. Getting rid of this tax is just another pillar in the Republican effort to give all the wealth to the top 1 percent. We're well on our way to being a third-rate banana republic. After World War II, in order to pay down our war debt, build the middle class, and rebuild Europe and Japan, we had a top marginal tax rate of over 90 percent. Guess what. The rich still got richer. But the middle class expanded rapidly, and so did the economy. We simply do not have the political will today to do what our parents and grandparents were willing to do, namely, stand up to the greedy class and expect them to not just take but to give in order to build a decent and just society. They already have plenty of money with which to hire more Americans at higher wages. They don't need tax cuts to give them incentives to invest. They are not investing because there is no demand. We can fix that by giving more wealth to the consumer classes. Giving it to the wealthy is a waste. Unless you think we need more yachts, personal jets, and second mansions.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 9:07 a.m.

    A lot of hyperbole here. On a macro level, it's not that big of a deal. Is it a problem at some level? Yes, I'll accept that. But repeal is not the answer. There are a lot of competing issues that will also need to be addressed, rather than meeting the particular interests of a few affected parties.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 9:01 a.m.

    Anyone who spends a few minutes with a calculator will see that investment wealth will always grow faster than the national growth rate, and thus middle incomes!

    If taxes are not progressive, wealth ends up pooling in the top fraction of 1% (see the latest Forbes 400)! Unless we want to create a permanent aristocratic class wealth needs to be REDISTRIBUTED back into the economy to diminish the huge economic inequality we are seeing today.

    Asset inequality of this level is a sure recipe for social unrest! We should probably increase the inheritance tax!

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 8:13 a.m.


    "What if you or any one of us were one of the 4,918 that year that had their lives devastated and their life's work taken from their families through the estate tax?"

    Really if you are inheriting over 12 million and a portion of that is taxed, I do not see that causing devastation. The accumulation of wealth going to 2nd, 3rd generations and beyond is
    not on the decline, believe me.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Nov. 1, 2017 7:40 a.m.

    This is just plain nonsense.

    Anyone with a large enough estate that might pay some taxes on the death of its primary owner who is not clever enough to go to an estate planner to limit his/her exposure to taxes is a greater fool than someone who thinks the "death tax" will siphon off most people's modest legacy.

    Its easy, its legal and its currently done all the time. This is a nail problem looking for a hammer solution. Dumb.

  • Copybook Headings Draper, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 5:35 a.m.

    To me it's a crime that anyone should have to pay taxes on their inheritance when 47% of the households in America pay nothing at all.

    Imagine having to sell your parent's business to meet the government's tax demands knowing that some of that money will go to able bodied people who refuse to work and feel entitled to your money because their told so.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 1, 2017 12:14 a.m.

    What part of "Thou shalt not covet..." do people not understand? This tax, and the graduated tax system, are based in covetousness.

    The perceived need for the government to reallocate the assets of the dead is not part of our Constitution and has no place in a free society. Inherited wealth goes one of two ways: It grows, creating jobs and spreading wealth in the process, or it is spent, circulating it back into the economy. Government does not need to artificially redistribute wealth. But our ruling class sees the wealth of those who fail to pay tax advisors and make advance plans for their progeny as easy money to feed their spending monster.

    Whether you believe that the commandment against coveting came from God or man, it doesn't take much of a look at history to see how envy, and the theft by individuals or governments that follows, damages society and economic processes. It is wise counsel: Stop coveting.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 9:46 p.m.

    I disagree with nearly everything in this op-ed.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 9:34 p.m.

    This tax should not be abolished. I am in favor of eliminating corporate taxes and changing or eliminating depreciation schedules but this tax and income taxes should be increased on the higher end.

    Do not buy the conservative hype about the wealthy having a hard time.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 7:54 p.m.

    Senator Hatch tells us one thing when campaigning, but when he gets back to Washington, he behaves more like Caspar Milquetoast, a timid, submissive cartoon character. Action, not words, Senator!

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 7:14 p.m.

    You can gift up to $14,000 per person per year tax free. You can also put money into 529 accounts for college for your heirs--tax free before you die.
    You can provide for your heirs even above the $5-11 million that your estate is worth.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 7:03 p.m.


    So a family is going to be devastated if they can only keep $11 million (2 people) tax free? They only pay tax on any amount over that.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 6:27 p.m.

    @ no names.... 1aggie Looks like your common point is a good tax accountant comes in handy; with substantial cash and noncash assets, that seems to still be good advice. I do not see a simple tax code in the horizon, ever. The U.S. is too complex an entity.

  • byufootballrocks Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 6:06 p.m.

    @1aggie -
    What if you or any one of us were one of the 4,918 that year that had their lives devastated and their life's work taken from their families through the estate tax?

    Would you then take solace in the fact that so many others paid no estate tax at all?

    The estate tax is one of the most unnecessary, diabolical, and freedom-stealing taxes ever invented.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 5:40 p.m.

    "Only 50 small farm and small business estates in the entire country will pay any estate tax in 2017 (see chart), and they’ll owe less than 6 percent of their value in tax, on average, the Tax Policy Center estimates. "

    Elimination of the estate tax will cost over $269 billion over the next 10 years.

    Should we add that to the debt?
    Or, who should pay more tax?
    How about eliminating the mortgage interest deduction--so those with assists over $11 million don't have to pay estate tax?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 5:14 p.m.

    $11 M sounds like a lot of money to people who have never run a business. But a couple hundred acres of land now being encroached on by urban development or weekend vacarion homes, a few pieces of large, modern farm equipment at upwards of a million each, and water rights to support the operation adds up quickly on paper. And then the same coveteous people who demand death taxes complain when prime farm land is sold for yet more sprawl.

    If only 5,000 estates had to pay the tax, it isn't raising much money anyway and we ought to eliminate it as I'm certain people like Soros, Trump, the Kennedys, and Gates will never pay it anyway. Trusts and other vehicles preclude any death tax for the truly wealthy while it is the successful rancher, farmer, or small business owner who gets stuck paying the tax that almost nobody else pays, simply because he spent his time working, rather than setting up tax sheltering entities.

    A man who has earned his money and paid taxes along the way is entitled to pass his estate on as he sees fit without his fellow citizens expecting a cut just for surviving him.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 31, 2017 5:05 p.m.

    "In 2015, roughly 2.5 million people died, and just 4,918 people had to pay an estate tax, according to IRS data."

    The estate tax only applies to estates worth over $5.49 million (single) or $11 million (couple).

    (Additionally, there are exemptions farmers can use to avoid paying the estate tax).