Congresswoman Elaine Luria Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Repeal Tax Hike on Gold Star Families

May 2, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal a tax hike first established by the hastily-passed 2017 Republican tax law, forcing some Gold Star Families to pay thousands of additional dollars in taxes on survivor benefits.

Spouses of the fallen sometimes sign over earned benefits to their children to ensure the family receives all the benefits.

Because the new tax law brought changes to how children’s assets are taxed, Gold Star Families who formerly were obligated to pay 12 to 15 percent in taxes on such income saw their tax rate jump to 37 percent, according to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Congresswoman Luria’s bill, introduced today and known as the PDF iconGold Star Family Tax Relief Act (H.R. 2481), would classify such survivor benefits as earned income, significantly reducing the tax burden.

“Gold Star Families have already paid the ultimate price, so it broke my heart when a surviving spouse from Coastal Virginia alerted me to this injustice,” Congresswoman Luria said. “I knew I had to fight for her in Congress to fix a broken system that should be working for her and her family.”

“Families of fallen servicemembers deserve the support and gratitude of the nation,” said Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Co-Chair of the For Country Caucus. “This legislation ensures Gold Star spouses and children receive their earned benefits as previously constituted, and are not burdened with an egregious tax hike.”

“Children of those who have paid the highest measure of devotion to our country shouldn’t be burdened with the highest tax rate for their survivor benefits,” said Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL), Co-Vice Chair of the For Country Caucus. “I’m proud that a bipartisan group of colleagues came together to fix this oversight in the tax code and urge the House to pass this bill quickly.”

Cosponsors of Rep. Luria’s bill are:

  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
  • Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  • Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
  • Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
  • Rep. George Holding (R-NC)
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
  • Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  • Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
  • Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
  • Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
  • Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

Background:

CNN: Tax overhaul means some Gold Star families paying much higher taxes on survivor benefits

Military.com: This Year's Tax Cut Cost Some Gold Star Families Dearly

CNN: Military families slammed by Trump tax reform demand changes

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.

Issues: