House Democrats push for minimum income tax for Biden billionaires

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As Democrats move forward with a slimmed-down reconciliation package, House lawmakers are separately pushing another element of President Joe Biden’s agenda: taxing the ultra-wealthy.

Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., introduced the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax Act, calling for a 20% levy on households worth more than $100 million, affecting about 0.01% of American families, a congressional fact sheet describes.

The 20% tax applies to “total income”, including income and so-called unrealized capital gains, or asset growth, with a credit to avoid double taxation and an optional payment plan , according to the bill, which was introduced with 30 co-sponsors.

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“While working families pay taxes on every paycheck or pension payment, the ultra-rich can earn hundreds of millions of dollars tax-free per year,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Instead of all their billions going to buy superyachts, rockets, pro sports teams and Twitter, it’s time for billionaires to contribute like everyone else to pay at least a basic level of taxes,” he said. he declares.

The 400 richest families paid an average federal income tax of 8.2% from 2010 to 2018, according to the White House. That compares to 13.03% for the average American.

Broadly speaking, many Americans support higher taxes on the super-rich, according to a March 2022 YouGov PLC survey, with nearly two-thirds supporting a minimum tax of 20% on incomes over $100 million.

Billionaire tax struggles to gain traction

This stuff can take years to incubate before it’s ready for prime time.

Garrett Watson

Senior Policy Analyst at the Tax Foundation

Still, the billionaires’ latest tax proposal could be part of a “broader effort of experimentation” to see what kinds of taxes might get enough support, he said.

Some tax laws have a “very long delay”, with proposals discussed for five to 10 years before getting a transaction, Watson said, pointing to the Republican’s sweeping tax overhaul in 2017.

“This stuff can take years to incubate before it’s ready for prime time,” he added.

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