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April 18, 2013

Metzgar’s inheritance tax bill passes state House

HARRISBURG — State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Berlin, considers the current inheritance tax Pennsylvania imposes on children the equivalent of cracking open a youngster’s piggy bank and taking the money.

So, he wants to change the law.

The local representative introduced House Bill 659, calling for the elimination of the inheritance tax on property transferring from a natural parent, adoptive parent or stepparent to a child age 21 or younger. It passed by a vote of 194-1 on Monday.

Metzgar said seeing mourning children having to pay the inheritance tax is “a heart-wrenching thing.”

Somerset County Register of Wills Sharon Ackerman supports the plan, saying, “We are in agreement that the inequity in the inheritance tax code that forces a minor child who is grieving the loss of a parent is unjust and needs to be remedied.”

Metzgar’s plan now will be sent to the Senate, which took no action on similar proposed legislation when it unanimously passed the House during the 2011-12 session. “We’re hoping that the other chamber takes it up,” Metzgar said.

Currently, transfers between deceased parents and their young children are taxed at 4.5 percent. According to the House Committee on Appropriations, Metzgar’s exemption would result in a $5.6 million reduction in revenue to the state’s general fund for fiscal year 2013-14. A full annual cost of $10 million would be realized the following year.

Metzgar considers this bill a step toward his ultimate goal of eliminating the entire inheritance tax.

“When you try to take money away from the government, you have to do it in small steps I’ve found,” Metzgar said.

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