Death and Taxes
Best's Review (09/00) Vol. 13, No. 9 p.125; Green, Meg

The ongoing movement in Congress to eliminate the estate tax could cut into insurance premium sales. The federal estate tax accounts for 7 percent to 12 percent of life premiums sold in the United States. Current law provides exemption for inheritances up to $675,000. Larger estates are taxed on a sliding scale between 37 percent and 55 percent. Republicans, citing the fact that the estate tax burdens farms and small businesses, want to eliminate it completely. Democrats, arguing that the tax only affects 2 percent of Americans, do not favor its outright elimination. Proposed legislation calls for phasing out the tax over the next 10 years. Although this would provide time for the industry to adjust, insurers are still keeping a keen eye on who will win the White House in November.

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