Polls Show Majority of Americans Oppose Death Tax

Polls Show Majority of Americans Oppose Death Tax

This April, the House voted to repeal the current federal death tax. This vote was met with the President’s threat to veto the repeal. The repeal had widespread support, with several Democrats even voting in its favor. However, it is no secret that President Obama strongly supports the death tax: his 2015 budget proposal included a plan to increase the death tax, adding an additional tax on capital gains and lowering the value of estate exempt from taxation.

Evidence of Widespread Opposition to the Death Tax

Despite the President’s support of the estate tax, most Americans have opposed the tax for well over a decade. The following polls show widespread opposition to the death tax from the American public.

  • A poll conducted by The Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio, and Harvard University asked Americans what they thought of the “death tax.” 60% surveyed said they opposed it. When asked their opinion of the “estate tax,” 54% of poll takers repeated their opposition to the tax.
  • Harris Interactive and The Tax Foundation conducted an online survey in 2006 that included questions about the death tax. 68% of respondents said they were in favor of repealing the death tax.
  • In 2007 and 2009, Tax Foundation surveys found that Americans were more likely to call the estate tax the least fair of all federal taxes.
  • In a 2008 survey conducted by CBS News and the New York Times, 44% of respondents said that there should be “no tax on any estate.” 47% says that the death tax should be “eliminated for most people but kept in place for the very largest estates.”

The Future of the U.S. Death Tax

As the estate tax currently stands, family businesses and farms often face significant debt after the death of a family member. If Obama’s tax increases go into effect, even small to mid-sized estates of over $100,000 will be heavily taxed. Joe Garza, Senior partner at tax and estate planning firm, Garza & Harris explained in a recent article, “In the event of this tax, you will need to consider how your estate will affect your loved ones. Passing along the family business may not be the best option.”

While most Americans recognize the harmful effect the death tax has on family businesses, it seems that this is not a concern in the White House.

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