OPINION

Only the wealthiest pay estate taxes

In response to the July 29 letter “Estate taxes are unfair, unjust,” the writer failed to mention several points.

The estate tax rate during Bush administration (2001-09) ranged between 45 percent and 55 percent on estates more than $1 million to $2 million. The estate tax was eliminated for only one year in 2010 and would have returned to at least a 50 percent rate if the Obama administration had not acted.

Yes, the rate is now 40 percent, but on estates larger than $5 million. This base amount also is adjusted for inflation and for 2014 it is $5.34 million per individual. A surviving spouse pays no estate tax regardless of the amount. It also is now possible that the surviving spouse’s estate may use both of the couple’s individual exemptions to pass more than $10 million to their children free of estate taxes.

Again, thanks to the Obama administration this amount will be adjusted for inflation.

We all know funding for Social Security is on precarious ground. Is it really necessary to repeal the estate tax when it mainly affects only the wealthiest in the nation?

As the writer stated, Bruce Braley does not support repeal of this tax, but his opponent Joni Ernst does.

Anita Hansen

Cedar Rapids

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