Mother Jones magazine and the progressive organization Americans for Tax Fairness have taken a look at the more lavish of the House and Senate measures to cut taxes for the richest people in America ― a mammoth break on estate taxes. What’s the maximum extra dollars the 15 richest people in America could pocket? The equivalent of the entire GDP of Denmark.
The House plan would completely eliminate all estate taxes by 2024, ending a nearly 100-year-old levy. Until then, the House measure would double the amount of the current exemption, which now allows heirs to inherit tax free an individual estate up to $5.5 million, and an estate worth $11 million left by a married couple. The Senate goes along with doubling the exemption, but not repealing the tax.
How much would repealing the estate tax be worth to, say, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos? His heirs’ extra take would be $32.6 billion dollars, Bill Gates’ heirs would save an extra $35.6 billion, and conservative campaign contributors David and Charles Koch would each leave an additional $19.4 billion tax free, according to the calculations. Warren Buffett’s heirs would pocket an additional $31.2 billion and Mark Zuckerberg would leave behind an extra $28.4 tax free, according to the analysis.
Check out the rest of the Mother Jones’ chart here.
Another family that would make out like bandits would be President Donald Trump’s crew. Though Trump has insisted the tax package isn’t good for him or his family, that’s not the case. With the estate tax repeal alone, his children would stand to inherit an additional $1.24 billion tax free, according to the calculations.
The estimates are ballpark figures for all, based on certain assumptions, including that each person’s entire estate is taxable (and not already sheltered) and that all of it would be passed on to heirs.
Some of those on the richest list have said they won’t leave all their wealth for the next generation. Buffett, Zuckerberg, Gates, Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg have all signed “The Giving Pledge,” vowing to donate more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charities.
The Senate and House still must reconcile various differences in their tax overhaul plans, including on the estate tax.