It’s Time To Ease The Burden of The Death Tax

Massachusetts residents are well aware of how high taxes can burden working/middle class families. There is a tax for just about everything in the Bay State. And while taxes are pretty much an accepted part of life here, an increasing number of people are asking why their hard-earned assets still must be taxed even after death.

Massachusetts is one of only 16 states left in America that still has an Estate Tax – also known to most as the ‘Death Tax’.  In Massachusetts, as most are painfully aware, if you have assets worth more than a million dollars, such as a home, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, stamp collections, what have you, after your death, the state steps in and takes a large chunk of it in yes – taxes. Of course, these assets and the money you purchased them with, as well as the cash or liquid assets you have left behind, have in most cases been taxed already. So, as it stands now, they tax it twice. There are countless cases where the surviving family members have to sell off that home, small business and even farm just to pay the Estate Tax. Is this fair?

In South Boston, with the rising property values, if you own a house or a condo, there is a very good chance that the property is worth more than a million dollars. And even if your assets total just one dollar above that magic million-dollar mark, the state gets to tax you on the entire amount. These are assets that people have, for the most part, worked all their lives for and hoped to leave to their family members. But as it stands now, much of it will be taken away by the government.

Of the other 15 remaining states that still have this burdensome tax, Massachusetts has the highest burden. It’s time the state legislature to ease the pain. Ideally, eliminating this tax altogether would be the best way to go. But the odds of that happening in this state are slim to none.  The next best option would be to raise the amount of ‘exclusion’, perhaps to $5 million as many of the other remaining Estate Tax states have done. This would be a tremendous help to middle class families and small business owners. It’s time the State Legislature and the Governor get behind such an effort.