Bernie Sanders is targeting the wealthy and corporations with 2 new tax measures

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Juliana Kaplan
·3 min read
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Bernie Sanders
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, examining wages at large profitable corporations. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool
  • At a Senate Budget Committee Hearing, Bernie Sanders said he's introducing two new tax bills.

  • One would reform the estate tax, a tax on inherited properties, and the other would target corporate taxes.

  • The estate tax reform could raise up to $430 billion over 10 years.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is once again pushing for wealthier Americans to pay higher taxes, and he wants to reform two parts of the tax code to do it. This time, he's got his eyes set on the estate tax and corporate tax.

Currently, the estate tax, which taxes property transferred after death, applies to estates of over $11.7 million. Fewer than 2,000 households were set to pay it in 2020, according to one estimate from the Tax Policy Center. In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act actually increased the amount exempted under the estate tax from $5.5 million to $11.2 million.

Now, however, Sanders announced during a Senate Budget Committee hearing that he is introducing two new bills to reform taxes. One, the "For the 99.5% Act," would target estates over $3.5 million for individuals, and would gradually increase up to 65% for estates over $1 billion. Per Americans for Tax Fairness, the bill would also seek to close some loopholes used for tax avoidance; a Joint Committee on Taxation letter found that it could raise up to $430 billion over 10 years.

It's not the first time Sanders has made such a push: In 2019, he introduced the "For the 99.8% Act." That measure began to tax estates $3.5 million and above, with the highest rate - 77% - for assets above $1 billion.

The estate tax is also something that President Joe Biden has reportedly been eyeing; Bloomberg reported he's considering an expansion of it among other measures that would target wealthier Americans. Biden has also said that Americans making over $400,000 should expect to see a tax increase.

There's been an increased focus on taxing wealth - and the wealthy who are dodging it

A recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the top 1% of Americans were avoiding taxes more than anticipated, and failing to report about 21% of their income. And the amount of unreported income was almost twice as half for the top .01% of Americans.

Sanders also said that he will be introducing a bill targeted at preventing corporations from moving offshore to dodge taxes; the measure would restore the corporate tax rate to 35%, the rate prior to Trump's cuts in 2017.

Some progressives have also been calling for an outright wealth tax. Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a new bill that would increase taxes on the top 0.05% of households, with households that have net worths $50 million and above seeing an extra tax.

But just eight days after Democrats proposed that measure, Republicans countered by proposing to completely repeal the federal estate tax. Sanders highlighted that figures like Jeff Bezos and the Walton family could see billions in tax breaks with that repeal.

Warren, Sanders, and other progressives also recently targeted companies where CEOs are paid at least 50 times more than their median worker, introducing a bill that would increase their corporate taxes.

Read the original article on Business Insider