Posted: January 4, 2013
NFDA is pleased to start 2013 with two significant legislative victories that will have a positive impact on funeral service. First, the "Dignified Burial and Other Veterans" Benefits Improvement Act of 2012" was passed by Congress and has gone to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The bill, which was strongly and actively supported by NFDA, includes several key provisions that NFDA has been working hard to have passed. Second, the "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012," which addressed the so-called "fiscal cliff," included a key estate tax provision that will benefit family-owned funeral homes.
NFDA expects S.3202 to be signed into law soon. Below is a summary of the bill's key provisions:
A more detailed summary will be provided to NFDA members once the Department of Veterans Affairs has had time to draft implementing regulations. However, suffice it to say, this is a major victory for our nation's veterans and NFDA.
On the first day of 2013, the House voted in favor of an amendment in the nature of a substitute to a previously passed House bill passed by the Senate in the early hours of the day that would, in part, addresses the so-called "fiscal cliff" issue. The bill, addresses only the tax issues and pushes the spending sequestration and debt limit votes for two months and into a new Congress.
A key provision in this bill of extreme importance to NFDA and its members deals with the estate tax. Congress has agreed to make permanent the current estate tax law except for raising the tax rate from 35% to 40% for amounts that exceed the exclusion limit of $5 million for an individual and $10 million for a couple. The exclusion is indexed for inflation and the provision retains the current stepped-up basis and spousal transfer (portability) provisions.
NFDA, along with other small business trade associations and groups representing ranchers and family farms have actively advocated for this provision over the past several years. While our ultimate goal was to repeal the estate tax entirely, we knew the best we could get in this political environment was exactly what we achieved. It was a hard fought battle, but in the end, we won!
This is a major victory for NFDA and its members as well as all family-owned businesses, ranches and farms across America.
In addition, the bill also extends for one year the accelerated "bonus" depreciation for business investments in new property and equipment. Another provision that NFDA advocated be included in the final bill.
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