House votes to repeal the estate tax, benefiting small businesses and families alike.

WASHINGTON- Taxpayers won a major victory Wednesday, when the U.S. House of Representatives voted 264-163 to permanently repeal the Death Tax by 2010. The Senate will consider this year\’s version in the coming weeks.

Also known as the estate tax, the Death Tax is the taxation of a person\’s estate at the time of their death. Repeal of the Death Tax came in President Bush\’s historic 2001 tax relief plan, but due to obscure Senate rules invoked by opponents of the bill, the elimination is set to expire on January 1, 2011. The House bill permanently eliminates the tax.

"The House scored a major victory for taxpayers yesterday," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington, DC. "It means families will receive 100% of their inheritance instead of a sizeable amount being seized straight away by the government. This not only benefits the wealthy but small family business who want economic independence and want to pass on their business to their children." ATR is widely considered the most influential taxpayer advocacy organization in America.

The Death Tax, which is the single greatest cause of small businesses not lasting until the second generation, can force families to liquidate small businesses and sell family farms and property simply in order to pay the tax. A similar bill passed the House in June of 2002, but was stalled in the U.S. Senate by then Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD).

Opponents of permanent Death Tax repeal see the tax as a fair way to redistribute money from the nation\’s richest into government programs. Taxpayer activists see the bill as an unfair form of double taxation.

"The government taxes your income, taxes what you buy, taxes the property you own, taxes your heat, your fuel, your bread, your wine, your phone, and once you die it wants to take another half," continued Norquist. "Who can live with a government that wants to tax your death?"