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The American Independent

Military widows and their children are paying higher taxes thanks to GOP

Military widows and widowers received an ugly shock when they filed their taxes this year because of the Republican tax scam.

By Oliver Willis - April 24, 2019
Air Force funeral
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, The U.S. Air Force Band, and The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon participated in a full honors funeral for U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Anderson in section 55 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Oct. 6, 2017. Anderson, originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, went missing on Oct. 6, 1972 when his F-40 crashed in North Vietnam. His remains were identified on Oct. 22, 1998. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery / released)

A provision of the Trump tax scam has caused crushing new tax burdens for many surviving families of fallen soldiers.

“Military widows and widowers who put their benefits in their child’s name saw a significant spike in their taxes this year,” Task & Purpose reported, detailing the new burden Trump has created for the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Several families told Task & Purpose that their tax burden had at least quadrupled this year, and that they were completely unprepared for it.

“We’ve always had a tax burden, but for me, quadrupling the tax burden of a Gold Star child is completely unfair. It’s cruel. I mean why would you tax a nine year old?” asked Jessica Braden-Rogers, whose husband, Capt. Michael Braden, died in 2012 in Afghanistan.

Taxes on her son’s benefits went from $1,100 to $4,600.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones was killed in a helicopter crash in 2013. His widow Theresa Jones and her two sons, ages 5 and 11, receive survivor benefits from the federal government.

Previously, Jones paid $1,150 in taxes on her son’s benefits. But after the Trump bill became law, her burden skyrocketed to $5,400.

“My kids are owing the government back money, that the government gave them, because their dad died, and my kids have to pay it back,” Jones told Task & Purpose. “And every year this comes around and it’s just this reminder of this tragedy, and it’s literally like throwing salt in the wound.”

Cheryl Lankford, whose husband, Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Lankford, Sr. died in Iraq in 2007, saw the taxes for her son’s survivor benefits go from $100-200 per year to a whopping $2,500 in 2019.

“I had no idea it would be quite that much money. That was a shocker for me,” she told Task & Purpose.

Before Trump signed the GOP tax bill that was drawn up behind closed doors by his team and his Republican allies in Congress, these survivor benefits were taxed at the parent’s tax rate. Now they are treated the same as a trust or estate, which could be as high as 37 percent.

“This is an unintended consequence of a tax bill that was slapped together with gum and bailing wire to benefit the rich,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), said in a statement to Shareblue Media on Wednesday.

“Widows and widowers of fallen service members must be made whole. As Chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, I’ve directed subcommittee staff to look into this issue and see what needs to be done to rectify this injustice.”

The Trump tax scam continues to be a failure that only helped super-rich Americans and huge corporations.

Despite the GOP’s grand claims about how the legislation would cut taxes and create jobs, many Americans were shocked when their tax bills increased this year, and most companies haven’t actually used their massive tax windfalls to create jobs. The average “bonus” taxpayers got as a result of the tax scam was just one penny.

Thanks to these and other failures, only 33% of the public still backs the law. Meanwhile, 62% believe Trump’s policies “put wealthy people first.”

The tax scam didn’t work, and it hurt military families — just like Trump has been doing throughout his presidency.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 

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