- Codification of SSI Irrevocable Funeral/Burial Trust Exemption. (H.R. 935/ Senate bill pending introduction) – Funeral Directors are working closely with our House and potential Senate sponsors to devise a strategy to get this bill passed into law this year. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), the primary sponsor of the bill, is really working hard to help us secure more co-sponsors and get this bill passed. Senator Snowe (R-ME) will be introducing the Senate version with several co-sponsors in the next week or two. Passage of these bills continues to be a high priority for the funeral industry. Members can send an e-mail to their members of Congress via Congress-at-a-Click, urging them to co-sponsor and actively support passage of H.R. 935.
- Bereaved Consumer’s Bill of Rights Act of 2011 (H.R. 900) – Rep. Rush and 5 co-sponsors have again introduced the Bereaved Consumers bill of Rights Act with only one change from last year’s bill The change would exempt all non-profit religious cemeteries owned, operated and managed exclusively by them and not by any for-profit funeral service company. The latter would still be covered by the bill. NFDA is working to get a Senate version introduced and passed so we have a better chance of the bill becoming law this year. Members can send an e-mail to their members of Congress via Congress-at-a-Click, urging them to co-sponsor and actively support passage of H.R. 900.
- Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 (H.H. 4) – After much debate, the Senate finally passed the House bill which was then sent to the President on April 6th for signature. To date, the President has not signed the bill but is expected to sign it this week. The bill will repeal the onerous provision in the new health care law that would require all businesses to issue a Form 1099 to all vendors from whom they purchased more than $600 in services or merchandise during the year. It would have cost funeral homes thousands of dollars to comply with this requirement.
- Indigent Funeral Expense Reimbursement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1033) – Again this year, Rep. Broun (R-GA) has introduced legislation, to provide an above the line tax credit to funeral homes for unreimbursed expenses for providing funeral and/or burial services and merchandise for indigents. The term indigent is defined by state law and the credit is capped at $3,000. With state and local funding for these services being reduced or eliminated, the funeral industry is seeking legislative tax relief for funeral homes who voluntarily provide these services to their communities generally at the request of state or local officials. Members can send an e-mail to their members of Congress via Congress-at-a-Click, urging them to co-sponsor and actively support passage of H.R. 1033.
- Estate Tax (no bill yet) – Members of the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition have begun efforts to advocate that Congress make permanent the current estate tax law that expires at the end of 2012. At that time, the estate tax will revert back to the 2001 levels of a $1million ($2million per couple) exclusion and a 55% rate. The exclusion is not indexed for inflation. The current law sets the exclusion at $5 million ($10 million for a couple) and a tax rate for amounts above that of 35%. This exclusion is indexed for inflation and a stepped-up basis is included as well. While this issue has not matured yet, we have begun the process of letting members of Congress know our position so that when it does, they will know where NFDA and NFDMA stand. Reprinted by permission of John Finch, Jr., NFDA