Bloomberg Tax Quotes Michael Barker on Sanders’ Proposed Estate Tax Hike

February 8, 2019

Bloomberg Tax sought out McGuireWoods partner Michael Barker for his insights on unintended consequences posed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal to boost estate taxes on the wealthy and close loopholes in the tax code.

Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont exploring a 2020 Democratic presidential run, filed a bill last week that targets strategies high-net-worth individuals use to minimize estate and gift taxes and would boost the estate tax rate from 40 percent to 77 percent. Republicans control the Senate, however, so the bill is unlikely to pass.

But, as the Feb. 4 Bloomberg Tax story notes, legislation written to tilt the tax code in Uncle Sam’s favor often open new opportunities for taxpayers to exploit.

For the article, Barker cited provisions in Sanders’ bill that allow farmers to claim a $3 million reduction in the value of their land for estate tax purposes and quadruple the maximum exclusion for conservation easements from $500,000 to $2 million. Those would benefit not only professional farmers but also wealthy people who own farms and ranches for recreational purposes, he said.