Democrats are under pressure to raise taxes on the rich after a blockbuster report on the taxes of prominent US billionaires was released.
ProPublica's report, released last week, focuses on how many of the richest Americans pay little in taxes compared to their wealth increases.
The Biden government and Democratic Legislature have launched tax changes aimed at capital and investment gains, but some Democrats have raised concerns about these ideas. Progressives think they could get some extra momentum given the ProPublica article.
The article "pulls back the veil and reveals how corrupt the system really is," said Frank Clemente, executive director of the progressive group Americans for Tax Fairness.
The ProPublica story, based on IRS data obtained from an anonymous source, reported that some well-known wealthy Americans, such as Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosAbout the Money: House Democrats Provide 0.5T in No Budget Spending | GOP targets IRS | House Democrat Considering Wealth Tax What will Elon Musk and Richard Branson do when Jeff Bezos goes into space? Republicans open new line of attack against IRS MORE and Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskAbout the Money: The Democrats in the House are spending 0.5 tons in budget without budget GOP targets IRS | House Democrat Considering Wealth Tax What will Elon Musk and Richard Branson do when Jeff Bezos goes into space? Republicans open new line of attack against IRS MORE, have paid little to no federal income taxes in certain years. The news agency also reported that from 2014 to 2018, the 25 richest Americans paid an amount in federal income taxes equal to 3.4 percent of their net wealth increase over that period.
The article does not suggest that the billionaires traded illegally, but instead benefited from the structure of the current US tax system. The federal tax system focuses on taxing income, not wealth, and households do not have to pay taxes on investment gains until assets are sold.
The article comes amid a debate in Washington about how to pay President BidenJoe Biden Former MP Rohrabacher Says He Attended The Capitol On Jan 6, But Didn't Storm The Building Saudis Took Drugs That Killed Khashoggi In Cairo: Report Biden Trying To Build Momentum For Putin Meetings MOREMuch of that debate so far has centered on the parts of Biden's proposals that would reverse aspects of the Republican Tax Law of 2017, such as his proposals to increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and the highest income tax rate of 37 percent 39.6 percent. However, these proposals would not have much of an impact on increasing taxes for many of the richest Americans, whose wealth is tied to the appreciation of their stocks and real estate.
Since the ProPublica story was published, Democratic lawmakers have renewed their drive for tax changes that would result in the rich paying more taxes.
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenAdams, Garcia Leader in Race for NYC Mayor: Poll Exclusive: Democrat Checks "Patriot Tax" On Fortune Of Multimillionaires McConnell Seeks To Split The Democrats And Conquer MORE (D-Mass.) Has re-emphasized its proposal to introduce an annual wealth tax, while the chairman of the Senate's finance committee Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee Wyden Hydrogen Isn't As Clean As It Seems The Hill's Morning Report – Biden-Putin Meeting Will Dominate Week New Alzheimer's Drug Triggers Backlash Against FDA, Prices MORE (D-Ore.) Plans to release more details shortly on his proposal to tax wealthy people's investment profits annually.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (DN.Y.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee responsible for taxation, told The Hill that he is exploring the idea of a one-time tax on multimillionaire wealth, which he calls the "patriot tax." “Denoted.“ This idea is still in its infancy.
It is unlikely that these ideas will be implemented quickly. The Biden government has not advocated wealth taxes or annual taxation of investment gains, and some Democrats have questioned whether a wealth tax is constitutional.
However, Biden has made a more humble proposal to seek a tax preference that the wealthiest families use to avoid taxes on the appreciation of their wealth. He challenged his American Families Plan for Capital Gains Taxation in the Event of Death.
Not only are capital gains not taxed on death now, but heirs who sell assets they inherit are only required to tax the gain in value that occurred after the asset was received, rather than the gain that has occurred since the testator acquired the asset is.
Biden suggests ending this tax preference known as the "tiered base" and making death an event when capital gains are realized. The proposal would apply to profits greater than $ 1 million per person. The president also proposes that capital gains for households with incomes over $ 1 million should be taxed at the same rates as wages.
Kimberly Clausing, a deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury Department, said the government has proposed taxing capital gains on death, as opposed to other ideas that focus on taxing investment gains as other ideas take more time to be fleshed out .
“One of our focus was on what we can propose that is really operational and doesn't necessarily require years of careful design and implementation,” she said last week at a virtual event organized by the Urban-Brookings Center for Tax Policy.
The Democrats put a number of years to tax and exit capital gains in the event of death, making it the option to raise taxes on capital appreciation that could have the greatest impact.
A group of Democratic Senators led by Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van Hollen Democrats Reinstate Bass 'Millionaire Surcharge' Bill, Van Hollen Reinstate Bill Reforming Nonviolent Emergency Calls (D-Md.) Published a proposal on the subject in March, and Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellNew report rekindles the demand for property tax House Democrats on Schumer: Vote again on January 6th investigation USA reaches first trade lawsuit against Mexico for manipulated union vote at GM plant MORE (D-N.J.) Has submitted legislation on the matter to the House of Representatives.
But some democratic lawmakers, especially those representing rural areas and focusing on agriculture issues, have raised concerns about Biden's proposal. They fear that the possibility of family businesses being passed on to future generations could be impaired.
Biden's proposal aims to address concerns related to family-owned farms and businesses by suggesting that tax payments on the appreciation of these businesses are not due until they are no longer family-owned. The administration estimates that very few holdings with agricultural holdings will be affected by the proposal.
Progressives hope the ProPublica report will help win the rural Democrats over to Biden's proposal to tax capital gains on death.
"I think it's a lot harder to resist now," said Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-wing think tank.
representative Cindy AxneCindy Axne Iowa Governor Questions Missing Notification of Migrant Children's Flights to Des Moines First Democrat Announces Senate Offer Against Iowa's Grassley On The Money: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall To 498K, Hitting New Low After Lockdown | House to advance household bills in June and July MORE (D-Iowa), a Democrat who has raised concerns about Biden's proposal, said she was working to prevent policy changes from affecting family businesses.
"People like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk should pay their fair share of taxes to keep this planet safe before they start exploring," Axne said in a statement to The Hill. "While I'm still working to make sure tax changes don't accidentally affect family farmers in Iowa, the report shows that the ultra-rich in this country are paying single-digit effective tax rates that we in Congress need to do more to keep the playing field."
Any tax hikes for the rich would likely have to come under the law that goes through Congress with the budget reconciliation process so that Republican votes are not required to pass.
While Republicans are generally critical of Democrats' proposals to raise taxes on the rich, Democrats argue that the ProPublica report makes it difficult for GOP lawmakers to oppose these ideas.
"I think it's putting pressure on the Republicans for defending this tax system," Pascrell told The Hill last week.