Three Senators Call For Billionaire Estate Surtax

Three U.S. Senators are calling for a 10% “Billionaire’s Surtax.”  In a letter addressed to their colleagues, the three senators who are advocating for the tax write, “According to Forbes Magazine, there are only 403 billionaires in the U.S. with a collective net worth of $1.3 trillion. Clearly, the heirs to these multibillion fortunes should be paying a higher estate tax rate than others.”

The letter also points out the case of the late Dan L. Duncan, the billionaire Texan who died in March, whose $9.8 billion fortune, because of the now lapsed Federal Estate Tax, will pass to his heirs estate tax free.  The senators write, “At a time when we have a record-breaking $13 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, people who inherit multimillion- and billion-dollar estates must pay their fair share in estate taxes.” 

The senators’ proposal would be retroactive to the start of 2010, which would likely face a court challenge from Duncan’s heirs as well as others.

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