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Trump Touts Tax Reform, Perdue Says it Should Include the Estate Tax

The first overhaul of the tax code in three decades should result in a one-page tax return for most Americans, President Trump said in Missouri, while declaring that tax reform is the foundation of job growth. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said separately that the estate tax, a bugaboo of the farm sector, should be part of the overhaul expected to be a Republican priority in Congress this fall.

“People should be able to keep more of what they have earned through the sweat of their brows, which will also invigorate the entire U.S. economy,” said Perdue in a statement. “The Death Tax is one section of the code that is particularly offensive to agriculture … The president’s tax reform package will be of great benefit to agriculture and help improve rural prosperity.”

Elimination of the estate tax is a long-sought goal of farm groups. They say it inhibits transfer of land to a new generation of family farmers. At present, the tax does not apply to individual estates of less than $5.49 million, or $11 million for a married couple.

Trump did not mention the estate tax during his speech in Springfield, Missouri, and provided few details for the four principles that he said should guide the tax debate: Elimination of loopholes to create a tax code that is “simple, fair, and easy to understand;” a sharply lower corporate tax rate, “ideally … 15%,” compared to the current 35%; “lower taxes for middle-income Americans;” and “making it less punitive” for companies to “bring back trillions of wealth that’s parked overseas.” If the tax code is simplified, he said, it would “allow the vast majority of our citizens to file their taxes on a single, simple page without having to hire an accountant.”

“Yet while Trump talked at length about the need for tax reform, he said little about how Republicans would get it done,” said the Atlantic. “And that’s because they still don’t know themselves. GOP leaders haven’t made several crucial decisions” on elements of an overhaul.

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