Windsor Star

Biden considerin­g tax on capital gains of up to 43.4% for rich: sources

Top Republican fears it will `cut down on investment and cause unemployme­nt'

- LAURA DAVISON and ALLYSON VERSPRILLE

U.S. President Joe Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individual­s to 39.6 per cent to help pay for a raft of social spending that addresses long-standing inequality, according to people familiar with the proposal.

For those earning US$1 million or more, the new top rate, coupled with an existing surtax on investment income, means that federal tax rates for wealthy investors could be as high as 43.4 per cent. The new marginal 39.6 per cent rate would be an increase from the current base rate of 20 per cent, the people said on the condition of anonymity because the plan is not yet public.

A 3.8-per-cent tax on investment income that funds Obamacare would be kept in place, pushing the tax rate on returns on financial assets higher than rates on some wage and salary income, they said.

U.S. stocks had their biggest slide in five weeks.

All major groups in the S&P 500 fell, led by material, energy and tech shares. “Sticker shock over some of these tax figures will be hard to shake off for some investors,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “Some traders are looking for an excuse to lock in profits and they might choose to use this tax story as their catalyst.”

The proposal could reverse a long-standing provision of the tax code that taxes returns on investment lower than on labour. Biden campaigned on equalizing the capital gains and income tax rates for wealthy individual­s, saying it's unfair that many of them pay lower rates than middle-class workers.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked about the capital-gains plan at a press briefing Thursday, said, “we're still finalizing what the pay-fors look like.”

Biden is expected to release the proposal next week as part of the tax increases to fund social spending in the forthcomin­g “American Families Plan.”

Other measures that the administra­tion has discussed in recent weeks include enhancing the estate tax for the wealthy. Biden has warned that those earning over US$400,000 can expect to pay more in taxes. The White House has already rolled out plans for corporate tax hikes, which go to fund the Us$2.25-trillion infrastruc­ture-focused “American Jobs Plan.”

Republican­s have insisted on retaining the 2017 tax cuts implemente­d by former president Donald Trump, and argued that the current capital-gains framework encourages saving and promotes future economic growth.

“It's going to cut down on investment and cause unemployme­nt,” Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and former chair of that panel, said of the Biden capital-gains plan. He lauded the result of the 2017 tax cuts, and said, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”

GOP lawmakers on Thursday called for repurposin­g previously appropriat­ed, unused pandemic-relief funds to help pay for their counteroff­er infrastruc­ture plan. The group underlined opposition to tax hikes, other than a potential revamp of the levies that go toward highway funding in a way that would cover electric vehicles.

Biden will detail the American Families Plan in a joint address to Congress on April 28. It is set to include a wave of new spending on children and education, including a temporary extension of an expanded child tax credit that would give parents up to US$300 a month for young children or US$250 for those six and older. The capital gains increase would raise US$370 billion over a decade, according to an estimate from the Urban-brookings Tax Policy Center based on Biden's campaign platform.

For Us$1-million earners in high-tax states, rates on capital gains could be above 50 per cent. For New Yorkers, the combined state and federal capital gains rate could be as high as 52.22 per cent. For California­ns, it could be 56.7 per cent.

Democrats have said current capital gains rates largely help top earners who get their income through investment­s rather than in the form of wages, resulting in lower tax rates for wealthy people than those they employ.

Capital gains taxes are paid when an asset is sold, and are applied to the amount of appreciati­on on the asset from when it was bought to when it is sold.

Congressio­nal Democrats have separately proposed a series of changes to capital-gains taxation, including imposing the levies annually instead of when they are sold.

 ?? BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to release his proposal on raising capital gains taxes next week as part of the tax increases to fund social spending.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to release his proposal on raising capital gains taxes next week as part of the tax increases to fund social spending.

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