May 21, 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today announced that the Gold Star Families Tax Relief Act has passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support. Senator Jones and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), alongside a bipartisan group of senators, introduced the legislation earlier this month to provide tax relief for survivor benefits received by children who have lost a parent as a result of their service in the military. A provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act significantly raised the taxes on these survivor benefits to rates as high as 37 percent.
“Gold Star families have sacrificed so much for our nation, and passing this legislation to remove the exorbitant tax on surviving children’s benefits is the least we can do,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We can never truly thank these families enough for the sacrifices that they have made, but we can do everything in our power to honor and care for them. I am proud to have the bipartisan, unanimous support of the entire Senate in passing this bill.”
Gold Star families who received a surprise tax hike on their children’s benefits in their 2018 tax bills are facing this “Kiddie Tax” because they are also subject to what’s called the “Widow’s Tax.” Senator Jones recently introduced a separate piece of legislation to repeal the “Widow’s Tax,” a law that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full survivor benefits from both the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). As a direct result of the Widow’s Tax, Gold Star parents often put their DoD benefits in their children’s names in order to collect the full survivor benefits they are due and have also paid for in the form of annuities for a voluntary DoD life insurance program. Senator Jones’ Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act has earned an unprecedented 68 sponsors, which means it has veto-proof level of support in the Senate.