WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2010 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”), today commended United States Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) for introducing an amendment to H.R. 5297, the “Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010,” that would permanently reform the federal estate tax.
The Kyl/Lincoln amendment would permanently set the estate tax rate at 35%, with a $5 million exemption amount phased in over 10 years and would be indexed for inflation. In addition it would include an option for taxpayers inheriting assets in 2010 to either retain this year’s estate tax rate, which is zero percent, with a “carry over basis” or file under the provisions of the bill.
“We applaud Senators Kyl and Lincoln for their efforts to bring attention to the plight of family-owned business and many independent insurance agents who are deeply impacted by the estate tax,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “The Big ‘I’ supports their amendment and urges Congress to significantly reform the estate tax to encourage investment and growth in small business. This reform should come in the form of a decrease in the estate tax rate and/or increase in the exemption amount and should be indexed for inflation for the future.”
The estate tax is currently 0% but will return January 1, 2011 with a 55% rate and a $1 million exemption.
“The estate tax disproportionately impacts small and family-owned businesses that serve local communities and are the backbone of our economy,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “Without real permanent relief, family-owned small businesses are stalled when trying to plan ahead and/or make important business decisions about their futures. Many of these businesses are asset-rich, yet lack liquidity to pay estate taxes when an owner passes away.”
In 2009 the Big “I” and its coalition partners, over forty business trade associations that formed the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, voiced their support for a similar bipartisan amendment sponsored by Senators Kyl and Lincoln that was passed by the Senate during consideration of the congressional budget.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com