Progressive Senate Democrats suggested that their new plan to tax unrealized capital gains at death should come with a $1 million per-person exemption, setting that line 10 times higher than an earlier Obama administration proposal and shielding a larger swath of upper income households.
A discussion draft released Monday by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and others marks a first attempt to put details on an idea that President Biden endorsed during last year’s campaign. Capital-gains taxation is likely to spur significant debate in coming months as Democrats look to raise money from high-income households to pay for Mr. Biden’s proposed spending on infrastructure and social programs.
Under current law, someone who dies with appreciated assets—including homes, businesses and stocks in taxable accounts—doesn’t have to pay capital-gains taxes on that increase. Instead, the heirs have to pay capital-gains taxes only after they sell and only on gains after the original owner’s death. That “stepped-up basis” is a longstanding feature of the tax code, but it has come under increasing attacks from Democrats who see wealthy people’s profits escaping the income tax.
Author(s): Richard Rubin, Andrew Duehren
Publication Date: 29 March 2021
Publication Site: Wall Street Journal