Sanders’ Estate Tax Plan Won’t Likely Raise the Revenue Intended

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a plan to make the estate tax more progressive, in hopes that this wealth transfer tax will raise as much as $315 billion over ten years, and as much as $2.2 trillion over the lifetime of the policy. Sanders’ top marginal rate would return the estate tax to its historic high of 77 percent—the top rate that existed from 1942 to 1976. But despite the progressivity, there is good reason to believe Sanders’ plan won’t raise revenue as intended. Currently, the estate tax levies a 40 percent tax on the total value of property passed to heirs beyond a roughly $11 million exemption for individuals ($22 million for married couples). Sen. Sanders’ plan would: Reduce the exemption to $3.5 million, and tax the value of estates up to $10 million at a rate of 45 percent Tax estates valued between $10 million and $50 million at a rate of 50 percent Tax estates valued between $50 million and $1 billion at 55 percent…

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