Newly released tax returns from Hillary Clinton, disclosed in a Friday evening news dump last week, suggest she has been using a Death Tax avoidance strategy. Through the creation of a trust account, the Clintons appear to be engaging in legal but hypocritical measures to avoid paying the Death Tax Hillary Clinton has spent a career defending.
Clinton has consistently voted for the Death Tax throughout her time in public office and forcefully condemned attempts to lower it. But when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. The newly released tax returns buttress earlier reports outlining the ways Clinton uses financial planning strategies that shield her Death Tax liability.
According to a 2014 report by Bloomberg News, the Clintons created trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their New York home to it in 2011. In doing so, they will avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in future death taxes. As the Bloomberg report states:
“To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves, common among multimillionaires, will help shield some of their estate from the tax that now tops out at 40 percent of assets upon death.”
It was not always this way. In the past, Clinton said that “the estate tax has been historically part of our very fundamental belief that we should have a meritocracy.” So what has changed?
Well as Bloomberg points out, the Clintons have made millions in paid speeches and book royalties:
“The Clintons have consistently supported higher taxes on the income and estates of the wealthiest Americans, even as their paid speeches and book royalties moved them into the echelons of the nation’s top earners over the past decade.”
While Clinton is all too happy to use these creative tax avoidance mechanisms, as a senator she voted against repealing the Death Tax and has even voted against giving small businesses and families a higher level of Death Tax exemption:
- In 2001, Clinton voted no on H.R. 1836, “the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act,” which contained a series of tax cuts, one of which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $3.5 million.
- In 2005, Clinton voted no on H.R. 8, “the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005,” which fully repealed the Death Tax.
- In 2006, Clinton voted no on H.R. 5970, “the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006,” which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.
- In 2008, Clinton voted no on S.Amdt.4191, legislation to increase the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.
If Clinton truly believes the Death Tax is about the “fundamental belief that we should have a meritocracy,” she should put her money where her mouth is.