Independent Grocer Says Time to Kill Off Death Tax

Discussion
Nov 05, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) along with other
business organizations are continuing their call for repeal of the estate
tax known in some quarters as the death tax.

Christy Spoa, president of
the Ellwood City Save-a-Lot in Ellwood City, PA, testified about the tax’s
effect on behalf of FMI.

"For individually owned and operated stores like
mine, the estate tax is a constant source of anxiety that has real consequences
for my family, my employees and the day-to-day operations of my business,"
he said. "I do not have the cash or assets on hand to simply write the
government a check and pay the bill, so I have spent years and thousands
of dollars to plan for the worst."

FMI has asked Congress to permanently
repeal the estate tax on small businesses. The tax is set to expire for
a one-year period at the end of this year. It would restart in 2011 without
Congressional action.

"The estate tax is a not just a one-time levy. It
is a constant expense hanging over the head of thousands of family-owned
businesses in the United States," he said. "It is money taken away from
job creation, increased wages, better benefits and continued growth."

Discussion
Questions: Where do you come down on the estate tax? Is it as harmful to
independent retailers as is claimed?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "Independent Grocer Says Time to Kill Off Death Tax"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Steve Montgomery
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

I agree and support Christy’s position–estate planning for the small independent business person is a not a one-time expense, it is something that has to be carefully planned for. This involves utilizing two of the owner’s scarce resources–time and money. This is especially onerous on the economy when small businesses are providing a bright spot (admittedly some small businesses are being formed because the owners were forced out of bigger ones).

Warren Thayer
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

I’ve seen way too many good business destroyed, families put into turmoil, and customers left hanging after the death tax does its thing. But of course Uncle will have to find the money elsewhere, if it does the right thing here. Would be good to have some viable alternative ideas for revenue, if we’d like this thing to disappear forever.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

I’m no fan of the death tax but the worst part about the current situation is the uncertainty. The tax is set to go away next year for one year only, then come back at rates and limits that haven’t been seen for years. No one “in the know” thinks that’s going to happen, but here we sit, less than 2 months away from 2010, and there is still no clear idea of what is actually going to happen.

How are thoughtful, long-term-oriented people supposed to plan? You can’t–at least not all that well. So people make short-term-oriented moves, because that’s the best thing they can do.

More generally, this is one of the massive hidden costs of our current government (regardless of the party in power). Uncertainty in regulation and taxation creates powerful incentives for people and businesses to act short-term rather than long-term.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 6 months ago

I agree with FMI. The estate tax needs to die. For a small business owner to spend their life working hard and sacrificing then having to worry about what the government will take when they die is ridiculous. President Obama should lead the charge on this.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

No question it’s bad for the survivors–they obviously get less money. It may, in fact, also keep the family from continuing the business. That said, I have sat through dozens of seminars aimed at helping independents “beat” the tax, so there do seem to be work-arounds.

David Livingston
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

I also agree; the death tax must go. It’s a small business killer and often business owners must buy expensive life insurance policies to cover the tax bill. If you think health insurance is expensive, try buying a $10 million life insurance policy. Still a good estate tax attorney can structure a large estate to help avoid taxes. Lawyers are expensive but most taxes can be avoided legally with proper planning.

Mark Burr
Guest
11 years 6 months ago
The death tax has been the death of small businesses for too long. However, the current climate is one where there is little appreciation for the destruction of jobs this tax causes. It’s simply a means to extract revenue with very little consideration for the wake it leaves behind in its tracks. Having worked for a small business for a considerable number of years that was eventually destroyed by this tax, I know first hand what it can do. Even in this case there was considerable planning and structuring done to ease its impact. However, it proved impossible to overcome and the business was forced to be sold and closed. Sure it was only one small business but at the time, it was about 750 jobs lost. Unless this and other oppressive taxation structures towards small business are changed permanently, the engine of jobs in the country will continue to be stalled. Sadly, both federally and in my state, the taxing of small businesses is getting worse, not better. The result is continued job loss… Read more »
David Biernbaum
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

It is expensive to die in these United States. Death taxes are a burden. Oh but the good news that came out this past week is that Walmart is now in the caskets business at everyday low prices. Thank goodness!

Mike Blackburn
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

It must be changed, but not repealed. The law has to be fairer, but also tighter, to protect those who don’t have the right type of lawyer to “protect” their assets and “avoid” paying their due tax.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 6 months ago

It’s hard to fathom, after paying multiple taxes on all previous transactions throughout life, why the government is still more entitled to huge chunk a person’s estate than one’s children or designates. The Death Tax should become a Dead Tax.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

As a small business owner, all I know is that after a lifetime of hard slogging, living in survival mode off and on for MANY years, now that it is time for me and my family to modestly reap, society shows up to take THEIR outrageous share, first in capital gains, then in death taxes. My question is, where were “you” all during the hard slogging?

I was raised on the story of the little red hen, but now find the farmer is preparing to have me for dinner, and turn my small loaf of bread over to the rest of the barnyard. All in the name of righteous compassion. I will NOT “go John Galt” because I refuse to alter who I am in response to a greedy, irresponsible society, run amok.

Eliott Olson
Guest
Eliott Olson
11 years 6 months ago

I would favor a large exemption for the a family-run business provided it not be sold for seven years. The problem that most grocers are having is that their lazy kids don’t want to work the business. A total repeal of the estate tax will give us a permanent leisure class and destroy our merit system.

Michael Boze
Guest
Michael Boze
11 years 6 months ago

To repeal the death tax stifles the entrepreneurial spirit which made the founder build a good business. Passing the business on to the next generation is noble, however, it should be taxed like capital gains. There are exceptions and they should set a base on the value similar to family farms.

Pay your taxes. No corporate welfare.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Are you in favor of a permanent repeal of the estate tax?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...