August 27, 2016. By Curt Smith and Hayley Martin / Special to IBJ
As so-called “progressive reforms” swept across America, Indiana became the 42nd state to enact an inheritance tax upon its citizens in 1913. Today, only six states continue an inheritance tax, with Indiana no longer among that group. That’s because, beginning in 2012, the Indiana inheritance tax was first lowered and then repealed for the surviving families of those dying after Dec. 31, 2012. This was a victory for the Hoosier citizenry, especially farmers and landowners, who have saved nearly $500 million.
When the tax was still being administered, the amount of the tax exemption was determined by the relationship to the deceased individual. While the spouse of the individual was entirely exempt from the tax, those who were siblings or an aunt or uncle to the deceased were greatly affected by the low exemption factor.
Even those with multiple children felt the strain of possibly having to owe the estate tax when dealing with a family-owned small business or farm. Purdue University, in a 2013 article, stressed the impact of the tax upon the farming community: “For example, an acreage valued at $4.5 million (after allowable deductions and assuming no federal estate tax) going to three children would have a tax per child of $72,250, for a total of $216,750.”
In 2012, before the repeal, however, the Class A exemption for parents, children and grandchildren was raised from $100,000 to $250,000. While this did lessen the burden for many, the tax had not completely come to an end.
According to the Indiana Department of Revenue, from 2006 to 2012, 84,999 inheritance tax filings were made that resulted in an estimated seven-year revenue of around $1.1 billion. This was money taken out of the pockets of Hoosiers at a time of grieving that could have been used to grow and expand businesses, expand farms, and improve the financial standing of Hoosier families. According to the Revenue Department, eliminating the inheritance tax saved Hoosiers $65 million in 2014 and $160 million in 2015. That figure is expected to be $168 million this year, pushing the total savings close to the half-billion-dollar mark. In addition, eight full-time positions to administer the formerly complicated laws have been eliminated.
The ability to now not have to worry about the burden of an estate tax has allowed families to have an even more positive outlook on businesses and farms that are being passed down. The future appears much brighter, too. Not only has the repeal proved to keep money in the hands of Indiana families, it has also proved to help Indiana as a state rise in regard to its tax climate. The Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index ranked Indiana at No. 8, a positive comparison to its 2013 ranking at No. 10.
Gov. Mike Pence, the bill’s primary author, former Rep. Eric Turner and the Republican majorities in the Indiana House and Senate have much to be proud of when it comes to repealing the inheritance tax. Real Indiana families have been able to save tens of thousands of dollars and maintain the legacy their family members were attempting to pass down to them.
Ideas have consequences. In this case, fiscal conservatism has led to a blessing for many families across Indiana at a time they needed it most.•
By Michael Cork, Esq.
By Tony Cook, IndyStar.com
Twenty plus years and 30k plus dollars later, we finally purged our off-site storage unit. The only thing I recall ever retrieving from that sink hole was a few cubicle pieces...until Monday. I left that unit for the final time with two items --one practical, one priceless. We'll find occasional use for the furniture blanket, but the 31 year old picture from our epic 1985 dive trip to Rum Cay Bahamas will be cherished until I blow my last bubbles.
That's my hometown bestie, Frank, on the left. Sadly, his last bubbles came way too early. Discovering that buried picture treasure brought a flood of memories back. Memories that may have meaning to many, as we slosh around the confusing cultural tidewaters grasping for anything buoyant enough to keep us afloat. The rest of Frank's story may not be the life preserver you're seeking, though I do hope it will bring a welcomed fresh perspective on this thing called "life" and those with whom we share it.
I first met S. Frank Mattox in the band room at Hazelwood Junior High School in New Albany, Indiana –our hometown. We were 12 years old. I last saw him at the Ocean Air Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis in 2006. We were fifty then. So, the bookends that marked the beginning and end of our life together –from blowing our trumpets in little girls’ ears to pontificating in our usual politically incorrect fashion over a fine meal, were not unlike many of the exciting chapters in between. Whenever Frank and I got together, there was always plenty of hot air to go around.
According to John Eldredge, author of the runaway best-seller, Wild At Heart, the secret of a man’s soul is revealed by three innate and very powerful desires for:
Eldredge writes, “Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to be lived. That’s the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerous stage for this high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise good. He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives….”
I’ve known few men who pursued “adventures to live” as passionately and successfully as did one Shrewsbury Franklin Mattox –my best friend for many years, my partner in high adventure (and the occasional petty crime). In reflecting over our friendship of four decades, I came to realize how dull life could have been, but for the always open invitation to join Frank’s great adventure.
I used to introduce Frank as my co-partner in crime –my accomplice in nine of the ten worst things I had ever done. Truth told, I thought I was giving him a much undeserved benefit of the doubt on #10. However, in reflecting upon my life with Frank, I realized that the true highlights were not bad things at all, but rather wonderful adventures that not only defined our friendship, but did much to define who I am as a man today.
Perhaps one day, I’ll chronicle the details of my great adventures with Frank. For now, I want to pay tribute to my best friend for being there when I:
Continuing with Eldredge, God “rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say, only when we live by faith. A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love and in his spiritual life.”
Few who knew Frank would describe him as a “man of faith”, but all who knew him know that he embraced life as a wonderful adventure to be lived to the fullest. Eldredge’s writings have helped me see that Frank’s unquenchable thirst for adventure was actually his way of living a life of faith…the kind of life we were all meant to live. The Bible has much to say about faith, but the distilled essence can be found in two simple verses:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…And without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:1,6)
Admittedly, I am writing this more for myself than for anyone who might stumble upon these musings. It seems a much needed step in the grieving process –a process that began nine years ago, but as I found out this week, continues to this day. Although we often went a year without seeing each other, whenever Frank and I did get together, it was as if time had stood still since last we met. Yet, of course it hadn’t.
I wish we had spent more time being real with one another about today and less time reminiscing about yesterday. We could have done so much more to help one another through the many difficult times that we were experiencing. Looking back, I think we tended to reach out after a crisis had passed rather than in the midst of it. Perhaps this was because neither of us wanted to appear weak to the other? An apparent downside to the profound respect each had for the other.
Advice? Cherish your friends. Reach out to them in joy and in sadness…in good times and bad. Let them know you care about them even when you wonder if they care about you. Hearts are not bound by time and distance. Don’t let anything come between your heart and the hearts of your friends. In this day of email, instant messaging, cell phones and text messaging there’s just no excuse for losing touch with your friends. So, don’t make excuses…make your friends’ day by reaching out to them.
S. Frank Mattox was a prominant attorney in New Albany, Indiana. He died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack on October 6, 2007. His obituary appeared in the New Albany Tribune on October 9.
By John Kessler, The Pointe Church, August 7, 2016
Part six in of eight total series called, "Life Hacks." Delivered in the fall of 2016 at The Pointe Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. http://www.thepointechurch.net